Category Archives: Outdoor Education

Pinnacles Adventure with Grade 6

Grade 6 went to Pinnacles National Park last week. They enjoyed the outdoors and also immersed themselves in personal growth.

Pinnacles National Park is a national park protecting a mountainous area located east of Salinas Valley in Central California, about five miles east of Soledad and 80 miles southeast of San Jose. The park’s namesakes are the eroded leftovers of the western half of an extinct volcano that has moved 200 miles from its original location on the San Andreas Fault, embedded in a portion of the California Pacific Coast Ranges.

Some highlights were:

-Looking at the clear night sky, thick with constellations

-Encouraging each other with rock climbing (They climbed twice, about 3 hours each day)

-Participating in skit night and song wars

-Journaling and doing reflective sharing, including writing a letter to their 8th grade self

-Doing a solo walk surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature

Yosemite Adventure with Grade 8

The week before February break Grade 8 students went on an adventure exploring snow-filled Yosemite.

Highlights included:

Cross-country skiing, Hiking, Doing map work, Friendship bonding, Reading books, Experiencing tech-free time, Enjoying nature in the quiet of winter

This trip has become a beloved tradition. It marks the beginning of the end for our girls who will be graduating in June.

NatureBridge plans this thoughtful hands-on learning opportunity with the support of Hamlin faculty.

To learn more about what NatureBridge does with students in Yosemite, please visit: https://naturebridge.org/locations/yosemite

Citizen Science at Mountain Lake

On Monday, Grade 6 students had their first visit of the school year to Mountain Lake in San Francisco.

The Hamlin School is situated within the urban confines of San Francisco. However, every year students have the opportunity to spend intensive days studying nature, collecting data, and participating in ongoing research work.

This hands on encounter with ecology takes place at Mountain Lake, a natural 1,700-year-old freshwater pond. “The area around Mountain Lake is home to 250 species of birds, 30 species of butterflies, 50 species of mammals, and more federally protected species than any other national park in the continental United States.” Spanish explorers who went on to settle San Francisco spent their first night camped by the lake in 1776.

In more recent years it was discovered that the entire lake was polluted. This was caused by dirty water run off from a nearby road, pesticides from the adjacent golf course, and people dumping non-native fish and turtles into the lake. The situation became so dire that the Presidio Trust had to kill all the fish in the lake with 50 gallons of rotenone, an odorless, colorless, poison. Once the water quality was restored, the Presidio Trust reintroduced non-invasive species better suited for the Mountain Lake environment.

Through the diligent work of faculty member Rachel Davis, Hamlin has been partnered with the Presidio Trust for a number of years. “The Presidio Trust is an innovative federal agency created to save the Presidio, (once a premier U.S. Army post) and share it with the public as a vibrant national park site.”

Over the years Hamlin students have:

-Collected data on birds for migration patterns

-Collected data on plants in order to look at climate change

Continue reading

Grade 4 Explores Pie Ranch and Big Basin State Park

Grade 4 students recently went on an outdoor education adventure to Pie Ranch and Big Basin State Park.

As part of the experience, our girls did the following:

Wednesday – Students went on a tour of Pie Ranch and picked fruits and veggies, later eating these with dinner. Girls set up tents at Big Basin, followed by free time, dinner (students prepared and served the meal and did clean up), and a night hike.

Thursday – This was a “big hike” day, led by Big Basin Rangers. Art, Science and Social Studies rotations took place in the afternoon. Snack, free time, dinner. Campfire and s’mores.

Friday – Pack up, time for self-reflection, drive to Waddell Beach for beach fun and closing circle.

To learn more about our Outdoor Education Program, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/program/outdoor-education