Vida Verde is a 3-day, 2-night environmental outdoor education camp. Trips are a non-stop, jam-packed flurry of charged activities during which teachers and students experience both educational and personal growth.
During our three days together, the home base of the trips is the 100 acre OVY camp on San Gregorio Creek. For maximum exposure we also travel to a nearby organic farm (a 300 acre facility with goats, a teaching kitchen, solar power, chickens, composting, and vegetable production), Sam MacDonald County Park to hike and explore the redwoods and creeks, and Pescadero State Beach & Marsh Natural Preserve to explore those ecosystems, tidepools, and play at the water’s edge!
During these trips we aim to enhance the students’ classroom learning by providing them with high-quality programs that address California state educational standards and a trip that is manageable and highly organized. Our experienced instructor staff is skilled at teaching the specific population of students that attend. To ensure that the students succeed, our programs are engaging, fun, and eye-opening, while at the same time carefully tailored to provide clear expectations and structure.
The educational programs include (1) Goat Milking & Cheesemaking, (2) Nature Hike and Investigation in the Redwoods, (3) Tidepool, Beach & Marsh Exploration, (4) Organic Farm Tour, Taste & Plant.
The trip also includes cooking, eating together outdoors and cleaning up as a class, teambuilding games, exercise, arts and crafts, singing songs and hearing stories at campfire, spending the nights in our magnificent teepees and more. Surprisingly, almost all of the activities are “first-time” experiences for many of the children we serve. During the entire program at V.V. there is a focus on group process, personal responsibility, environmental awareness, healthy food choices, sustainability and conservation.
A Typical Trip
After arriving by bus to our beautiful rural site, the students will be greeted by the enthusiastic VV staff, unload the bus and immediately walk to our secluded central group meeting area. We’ll “circle-up” and get to know each other through introductions, games, and through setting the ground rules and expectations for our trip together.
Next comes a meal together! We enjoy a cozy and nutritious home-made whole-wheat pizza lunch. Then, the exciting activities will begin and continue throughout the entire day, with very little “down-time” until bed.
On any day at Vida Verde the students will take part in the following exciting programs:
1.) Go on nature hikes in at least one of the following locations: the redwood forest, the coastal hills, the coastal bluffs, or the beach/marsh environment. The students will visit all of these amazing places during their multi-day trip!
2.) Explore and investigate tide pools for their wealth of ocean life. Near the exciting crashing waves of the Pacific, with harbor seals and cormorants watching from nearby rocks, campers go on guided explorations discovering sea stars, rock crabs, mussels, barnacles, chiton, limpets, anemones, kelp, and much more!
3.) Get the chance to try milking a goat and making fresh cheese, all the while learning exciting facts about mammals, basic goat anatomy and terminology. The cycle of learning is complete when they enjoy their homemade cheese with dinner. (Extra fun is included when the campers make hand-cranked, goat milk ice cream for dessert!)
4.) Go to a diversely planted small-scale organic farm for a tour and tasting. Students meet a farmer and gain a deeper understanding of where their food comes from, and what it takes to produce it. We pull different veggies right out of the ground, cut them up, and let the learning take place in our mouths!
5.) Get hands-on with the natural fibers that make up our clothes and other necessities. The students will learn where these fibers come from and get to meet our friendly pygmy angora goats. They’ll get to try their hands and spinning wool, and make a woven project to take home.
6.) Share a cozy campfire complete with educational and silly songs, stories and the classic treat, s’mores.
7.) Experience a “no-flashlight” nighttime trust and teamwork hike. This important and challenging teambuilding and self-confidence-building activity is a weekly highlight for many students.