The Vida Verde Program is a three-day overnight, activity-packed experience!
Each camping trip at Vida Verde is a three-day overnight, activity-packed experience which takes place at our 100-acre site and farm, and at nearby state parks and beaches.
The class trip centers around five core components:
1. Nature Hike in the Redwoods. 2. Goat Milking & Cheese Making. 3. Tidepool, Beach & Marsh Exploration. 4. Night-time Hike & Trust Walk. 5. Organic Farm Tour & Taste.
To ensure that the students succeed, the trip is carefully structured with eye-opening, fun activities coupled with clear and attainable expectations, consistency, and opportunities to recognize and reflect upon successes. With this foundation in place, the program is a vehicle through which we achieve our overarching goal: to positively and powerfully impact our students’ academic performance, character development, and connection to the outdoors.
More detail on our core program components:
1. Nature Hike in the Redwoods:
On an adventurous hike through the redwood forest in Sam McDonald County Park (minutes from Vida Verde’s site), students meet a 1000 year-old tree, find evidence of the genius of nature’s cycles, identify animal tracks, challenge themselves on a card-guided “alone hike”, and learn to identify many native and invasive plants. We also introduce students to the wealth of local parks and open spaces, explaining to them that these places are theirs to enjoy.
2. Goat Milking & Cheese Making:
Students realize where milk actually comes from when they get up close with our goats! Each gets the chance to squeeze milk from a teat and make fresh cheese, all the while learning exciting facts about mammals, and basic goat anatomy and terminology. The cycle of learning is complete when they enjoy their homemade cheese with dinner.
3. Tidepool, Beach & Marsh Exploration:
Near the exciting crashing waves of the Pacific, with harbor seals and cormorants watching from nearby rocks, campers go on guided explorations through coastal tide pools. They discover sea stars, rock crabs, mussels, barnacles, chitons, limpets, anemones, kelp, and much more! A hike through the nearby Pescadero Marsh includes bird watching, a visit to the famous “talking tree”, and lessons in marsh and beach ecology.
4. Night-time Hike and Trust Walk:
In a safe and supportive environment, the group is challenged to leave electric lights, and their comfort zones, behind as they face real fears of the dark and of being outside at night. Through appropriate challenges, teamwork, and facilitated reflection, they learn to overcome their fears and recognize themselves as courageous and capable.
5. Organic Farm Tour & Taste:
Students visit Vida Verde’s educational farm, where they meet our farmer and gain a deeper understanding of where their food comes from. Hands-on learning is at its best as the group directly engages with concepts like photosynthesis, pollination, the six plant parts, and organic pest control. Students taste fresh veggies they harvest themselves, and let the learning take place in their mouths!
The trip also includes cooking and cleaning up as a class, teambuilding games, exercise, arts and crafts, a campfire, camping out in our magnificent teepees, and more. The activities are “first-time” experiences for most of the children served.