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Outdoor Education

The outdoor education program seeks to instill an understanding of and appreciation for the natural world through place-based, outdoor exploration and environmental stewardship. The local Forest Hill neighborhood setting provides an opportunity for students and teachers to work together in a positive and supportive atmosphere while increasing students’ self-confidence, leadership skills, and appreciation for the environment.

Students begin their journey in September by exploring the neighborhood, understanding where our neighborhood is located on a map, and taking walks to the James River, Owl Orchard, Forest Hill Park, and Wayside Spring. Classes focus on outdoor safety, geography, history, ecology, and environmental issues. Students keep a journal for predicting, observing, and reflecting. They also engage in discovery and exploration through hands-on learning, storytelling, and art. The program aims to engage students in age-appropriate, memorable experiences that instill a sense of place, and ultimately a deeper connection to their world.

students having class in the woods

Outdoor Education Blog

Two students testing the water of Reedy Creek

Middle School science students assessed the health of Reedy Creek this past week by collecting and examining macroinvertebrates such as clams, larvae, and aquatic worms. Based on the types of macroinvertebrates collected at the site in Forest Hill Park, students determined which pollution tolerance categories ("sensitive," "somewhat sensitive," and "tolerant") were most frequently represented in the stream. Students collected multiple clams, aquatic worms, crayfish, crane fly larvae, midge larvae, and a few leeches! The young scientists determined that the Forest Hill section of Reedy Creek contains enough Group Two "Somewhat Sensitive" macroinvertebrates to be considered moderately healthy.
Much of Reedy Creek passes over roadways such as Midlothian Turnpike, and collects litter, debris, and vehicle pollutants as it enters the James River Park System. Reedy Creek spills directly into the James River, and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay. While students had fun studying the creek's critters up close, it was certainly enlightening for them to understand more about what lives (and can't live) in our local watershed. 

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Outdoor Education Gallery


Reedy Creek Macroinvertebrates Video 3
Reedy Creek Macroinvertebrates Video 1
Reedy Creek Macroinvertebrates Video 2
Boy Testing the Waters of Reedy Creek
Girl looking for Macroinvertebrates in Reedy Creek
Reedy Creek Turtle
Girls testing the waters of Reedy Creek
Classifying a macroinvertebrate
Finding macroinvertebrates in Reedy Creek
Classifying macroinvertebrate tools
Students collecting macroinvertebrates in Reedy Creek
Mr. Will showing students how to look for macroinvertebrates