One of the goals of a Seven Arrows education is to create a dynamic ongoing relationship between students and the world outside the school campus. As part of this goal, our unique Environmental Outdoor Education (EOE) program provides every student in kindergarten through sixth grade with grade-level-appropriate opportunities to apply scientific principles to the natural world. The environment becomes the classroom and provides experiences that increase ecological awareness and allow each child to develop greater self-reliance, leadership skills, and confidence. The goal of the EOE program is to have students study concepts in science while understanding that the partnerships humans create with one another and with natural resources are essential. Applying science concepts to the environment, providing leadership opportunities, and developing social/emotional intelligence is a blend of learning that reaches all types of learners.

The EOE program lets students experience nature, develop trust in others, and build teams while practicing cooperation and group problem-solving. Depending on age level, they go on day hikes, field trips, or overnight trips to locations throughout California, including Temescal Canyon, Bell Canyon, the Santa Monica Mountains and the beach, Catalina, Sacramento, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite.

Kindergartners participate in a series of weekly hikes in Temescal Canyon and surrounding areas, exploring the ecology of the Palisades community. They have also visited the La Brea tar pits to discover Los Angeles’ prehistoric past.

First-graders start in the fall with trips to the Santa Monica farmer’s market to gain a better understanding of local agricultural products. In winter, the class visits the La Ballona Wetlands, a traditional fly-through zone for migrating birds. In spring, our first-graders conclude their EOE unit with a visit to TreePeople, at the origin of the La Ballona watershed.

Second-grade students study marine ecology by experiencing coastal communities through the eyes of Native Americans, the Chumash, at the Santa Monica Mountains Institute of NatureBridge. A series of three single-day hikes in the spring, under the guidance of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, prepare students for their culminating field experience at Heal the Bay labs aboard a Long Beach Marine Institute vessel.

The third-grade class explores Temescal Canyon on a day hike. Later, with the help of wildlife field biologists, students have an overnight adventure to explore Audubon California’s 4,000-acre Starr Ranch facility in Bell Canyon.

Fourth-grade environmental education returns to the ocean for in-depth study at the USC Wrigley Marine Institute on Catalina Island, where students conduct marine ecology studies through snorkeling, tide pooling, and nighttime pier trawls. They are housed at the dormitories of the institute for three days and two nights.

The fifth-grade environmental experience is legendary at Seven Arrows: a four-day, three-night trip to Joshua Tree National Forest. The students engage in desert camping, rock scrambling, climbing, and observation of desert flora and fauna. The unique setting of the desert is ideal for observing how versatile living things adapt to their environment.

Our sixth-graders head up north to the home of the giant sequoias. For 43 years the Yosemite Institute, a campus of NatureBridge, has provided unparalleled outdoor experiences to thousands of students and naturalists. Guided by field biologists, our students observe and study the forest ecology of either the Yosemite Valley or Muir Woods and the Marin Headlands. This seven-day, six-night excursion is known for its unique hands-on approach to forest and headlands ecology.