Outdoor Learning

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

People from all over the state and region converged in Terra Alta, West Virginia, this summer to celebrate nine decades of Mountain Nature Camp. It’s a camp where adults go to study pristine Appalachian corners of the world. Many folks came to celebrate community and traditions that have been going since 1929. But also to get their nature fix – which researchers say is critical for both human health and maybe even life on the planet.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An organization called Experience Learning in Pendleton County, has been leading kids out into pristine mountain landscapes to learn about the world, themselves and each other for about 50 years. It’s one of the longer running outdoor education institutions in the West Virginia. Organizers say they’ve spent years watching kids be transformed by outdoor experiences. More than anything else, they want kids to learn to love learning and they don’t care if kids find that love on top of a mountain, or in their schoolyards. 

Jesse Wright / WVPB

A group of fourth and fifth grade students at Morgantown Learning Academy — a private, non-profit elementary school located in Monongalia County — are sitting at two picnic benches surrounded by a forested canopy on a recent Thursday. This isn’t a special field trip. Every Thursday, students spend part of their classroom time outside with Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership, or Mountain SOL.


Fourth-graders at North Jefferson Elementary School in Kearneysville, Jefferson County prep dirt for planting in one of their three raised garden beds.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members are rallying around a school in the Eastern Panhandle. They want to build an outdoor classroom so that kids can get into nature more readily. The goal is to improve academic achievement and provide more opportunities - especially for kids from low-income areas.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about a growing educational trend to get young students outside more often; how an elementary school in the Eastern Panhandle aims to provide more opportunities to its students with an outdoor classroom. Also, we hear a panel discussion from Wheeling on race and living as a minority in the historically white state of West Virginia.