Middle School Outdoor Education

Upper School Student
One of my favorite Chadwick moments was on the 7th-grade outdoor ed trip. I was sitting there thinking, ‘How many other people get to experience this?’

Learning as expansive as the landscape

When Chadwick Middle School students embark on a challenging outdoor adventure, they cultivate skills and strengths they didn’t know were possible — and they make lifelong memories in the process. They see things through a wider, more vibrant lens that colors how they live and learn on a daily basis. 

Travel and camping in rugged terrain requires thoughtful cooperation and collaboration. Healthy physical conditioning and a positive mental attitude are key as every student plays a role in making each trip a success. Every step of the way, our highly trained instructors carefully monitor emotional well-being and safety while encouraging exploration and fun.

Curriculum Overview

Middle School is when students begin backpacking on their Outdoor Education trips for the first time. Seventh-graders explore the ecosystems, history and culture of Montana de Oro in the fall and Joshua Tree National Park in the spring, learning to hike, rappel, climb and camp in the wilderness. Small-group activities balanced with alone time encourage both self-reliance and interdependence. Students build mutual trust, community and communication skills. They’re also introduced to journaling and self-reflection as a form of self-care in the outdoors.

In the fall, eighth-grade students experience the wonder of the world’s largest trees in Sequoia National Forest. They gain mastery around basic outdoor competencies like rock-climbing and rappelling, camping and navigation while practicing personal competencies like responsibility, going beyond perceived limitations and effective group dynamics. In the spring, students spend five days on a mini-expedition. They backpack 1-3 miles per day, examining diverse species of wildlife and the area’s rich cultural history while searching for spectacular natural pools.

See what students get to experience in the Village School Outdoor Ed and the Upper School Outdoor Ed programs. 

All outdoor education instructors are certified Wilderness First Responders trained in CPR, with many having worked for prominent organizations like Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. The safety of our students in the wild is paramount. 

Meet Chadwick's Outdoor Education instructors

Chadwick School operates under a U.S. Forest Service special use permit in the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests.