During Spring 2022, Coyote Outdoor School is planning to offer overnight programs that align with state recommendations and district policies to safely operate programs. We work in collaboration with our school district partners to set policies and procedures. Read the Coyote Outdoor School Spring 2022 COVID-19 plan for more information. If public health officials or district personnel deem overnight programs unsafe, we will transition overnight programs to day in-person programs and/or distance learning Outdoor School.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, all Whole Earth Nature School programs have met or exceeded all mandates and recommendations instituted by Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Health Authority, and the Oregon Department of Education. Beginning in Fall 2021, all Whole Earth staff working directly with students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

About Coyote Outdoor School

Coyote Outdoor School is a program of Whole Earth Nature School. The Oregon legislature funds Outdoor School programs so that every fifth and sixth grader in every district across the state can engage in outdoor learning and social development during a regular week of school.

Our day and overnight programs enhance students’ connection to self, community, and nature. Fifth- and sixth-grade students spend their days searching for wildlife signs, painting with soil, journaling plants, and exploring in the forest. Their evenings are full too as they bond with their cabin mates, share gratitude at dinner, and sing under the starry night sky. Outdoor School stories, songs, and adventures become lasting memories that empower students to be curious learners and compassionate leaders.

We work diligently to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels accepted and supported. We offer learners opportunities to cultivate relationships with nature on their own terms by engaging in sensory awareness, self-reflection, and empathetic activities. At Coyote Outdoor School, we are committed to ensuring that every student has a sense of belonging, feels welcome in our Coyote community, and supported in their immersive outdoor learning experiences. We want students to leave not only with better scientific skills and ecological understanding but also greater self-confidence, new human and non-human friends, curiosity to discover more, and gratitude for nature’s gifts.

Read about our core values, our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and our staff on the Whole Earth Nature School “About” page

Coyote Outdoor School services include:

  • Full-service coordination of Outdoor School program, including curriculum development, instruction, meals, lodging, training, and on-site logistics
    • School districts coordinate and pay for student transportation and teacher stipends; everything else is covered in our per student price
  • Assurance that our program prices will receive 100% state funding approved by OSU Extension for schools that qualify
  • Advice regarding Oregon State Outdoor School policies and state funding requirements
  • Overnight Outdoor School programs, ranging from 3 to 5 days
  • Student-centered, nature-centered programming that enhances student awareness, curiosity, and critical thinking
  • Hands-on curriculum that meets common core and next generation science standards

See Services & Deliverables for the complete list of services we provide.

Impacts of Coyote Outdoor School

We know from research on residential outdoor education programs that Outdoor School fosters student growth, confidence, and nature connection. Many students who struggle in traditional learning environments excel in experiential learning at Coyote Outdoor School. Students leave Coyote Outdoor School feeling more comfortable outdoors and ready to take on new challenges. They return to school with a greater enthusiasm to learn and a better ability to apply science to real-world situations. Teachers appreciate the opportunity to engage with their students at Outdoor School rather than leading lessons and focusing on logistics.