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Mountain Environments

Mountain Environments
The mountain environment is the perfect location to see plate tectonics in action. It is also a great setting for students to see and discover the life cycle of abundant amounts of plants and animals. Students can backpack and explore the trails of the Sierra’s, stay in the comforts of indoor lodging of a residential camp, settle into an enchanting campground in tents, or enjoying day trips in the wilderness of the mountains ideal for developing the scientific process for these students.

Sample Activities
Activities offered vary by specific location and may include the following:

  • Guided natural history and ecology hikes
  • Lessons in biology, geology, weather and aquatic science
  • Team-building initiatives and group development challenges
  • Low ropes and high ropes Challenge Courses
  • Top-rope climbing at Castle Rock
  • Journal writing and creative assignments
  • Early morning sunrise hikes, stretch circles or yoga
  • Camp-our option
  • Small group presentations
  • Free time, recreation and fun games
  • Environmental awareness games and lessons
  • Classes in outdoor survival skills, stream studies, native plant use and many more

Evening programs occur in large groups or smaller “trail groups” and may include:

  • Campfires with skits, songs, stories and s’mores
  • Town Hall environmental resource use discussion
  • Astronomy observation and lessons
  • Native American myths and stories
  • Council meeting and group topical discussions
  • Night-hikes focusing on nocturnal animal adaptations

big-bearAll learning activities are presented in a variety of formats throughout the program and are experiential in nature. Lessons are planned to be stimulating and challenging. Instructors give participants the tools to promote personal discovery and self-direction in learning, while supporting learners with information about the topics being explored. A thoughtfully developed progression of hands-on learning, structured lessons, experiential outdoor activities, and free time is provided to maximize learning and craft a positive, memorable experience.

Here are some of the mountain environments that we visit:

Big Bear-San Bernardino Mountains
The Outdoor Adventures by Boojum’s Big Bear-San Bernardino Mountains Program offers a premium-quality outdoor education experience set amidst the pine-clad mountains and pristine forests of the San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear, California. This area is rich in both natural and human history and is an excellent location for outdoor studies.

The camps Boojum has selected for our Big Bear courses offer the comfort of a residential camp in a spectacular outdoor setting. Our facilities offer heated, comfortable cabins or dormitories for participants. Full bathrooms with flush toilets, running water and showers are available. Students eat hearty meals in a dining area and break-out rooms are available for a variety of indoor activities. Hiking trails, low and high ropes Challenge Course events, campfire areas, and rock climbing may be made available for participants. There are a variety of ecosystems and habitats such as aquatic, chaparral, Ponderosa Pine forest, and montane that is ready for exploration by eager participants.

The comfortable, low-stress camp environment helps participants focus on the learning activities at hand. A myriad of activities ensure that students will experience a diversity of compelling and interesting curriculum options and that the program can be tailored precisely to the partner’s needs. Exclusive facility use is available for larger groups. The structured, established camp setting offers the perfect atmosphere in which to focus on group and personal development and meet partner goals.

San Jacinto Wilderness Area

The San Jacinto Wilderness Area is located two and one half hours east of Los Angeles in the mountains surrounding the town of Idyllwild. These mountains are considered to be in the Sierra Nevada range of Southern California, with similar environments and dramatic landscapes. The San Jacinto Mountains are formed by the junction of two major faults and evidence of tectonic activity is plentiful and readily visible from many areas. San Jacinto Peak offers an excellent challenge to hikers and sits above the largest fault escarpment in North America. On a clear day you can see Mexico to the south, Catalina Island to the west and the Salton Sea to the southeast.

The area has all the elements of a classic mountain environment, including mountain life zones, riparian areas and sweeping vistas. The San Jacinto Wilderness offers a wide range of learning opportunities for teaching natural history, environmental studies and leadership skills. The San Jacinto Backpacking trip may start (or end) with a day on the Outdoor Adventures by Boojum Challenge Course or a day of rock-climbing on Idyllwild’s famed rock outcrops to build team spirit. After any necessary preparation time in Idyllwild the group travels to the trailhead location—Humber Park in Idyllwild, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, or other launch spot–and begins their wilderness journey.

The San Jacinto program includes instruction in mountain ecology, geological processes such as mountain building, plate tectonics, and glacial dynamics, plant and animal identification and other related subjects. Activities include nature awareness games, reflective journaling, backpacking and evening programs that bring closure to the day.

backpack900-400x566San Jacinto Mountain Backpack

Backcountry travel is the perfect way to immerse participants in the environment and also provides a forum for group bonding and personal growth as participants share in the splendor and challenge of the wilderness. Participants will study ecology and wilderness travel and will find this program intellectually and aesthetically stimulating, while challenging personal boundaries. Participants develop confidence as they use their outdoor skills to navigate, set-up camp, prepare meals and meet the demands of wilderness living. This experience is an adventure in learning, a search for knowledge gained through individual and group effort and a journey toward a broader understanding of self, others and the natural world. The San Jacinto Mountains backcountry expeditions take place in the wilderness areas of the San Bernardino National Forest in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs. They expose participants to fantastic natural areas, including lush sub-alpine meadows, a 10,880 foot peak ascent, and ponderosa forests. It offers excellent opportunities for studies in mountain ecology, national lands management and landscape geography. They also offer exceptional and inspirational backcountry travel which provides participants with the opportunity for personal reflection and growth.

Learning activities are presented in a variety of formats throughout the program and are experiential in nature. Lessons are planned to be stimulating and challenging. Instructors give participants the tools to promote personal discovery and self direction in learning while supporting them with information about the topics being explored.

San Jacinto Mountain Residential Program

The Boojum Institute’s San Jacinto Mountains Residential Program offers a quality outdoor education experience set amidst the pine-clad mountains and pristine forests of the San Jacinto Mountain range by Idyllwild near Palm Springs, California. This area is rich in both natural and human history and is an excellent location for outdoor studies.

The camps Boojum has selected for our San Jacinto courses offer the comfort of a residential camp setting in a spectacular outdoor setting. Our facilities offer heated, comfortable cabins or dormitories for participants. Full bathrooms with flush toilets, running water and showers are available. Students eat hearty meals in a dining area, and break-out rooms are available for a variety of indoor activities. Hiking trails, low and high ropes Challenge Course events, campfire areas, and rock climbing may be made available for participants. A variety of ecosystems and habitats—riparian, chaparral, Ponderosa Pine forest, and montane—are ready for exploration by eager participants.

The comfortable, low-stress camp environment helps participants focus on the learning activities at hand. A myriad of activities ensure that students will experience a diversity of compelling and interesting curriculum options and that the program can be tailored precisely to the partner’s needs. Exclusive facility use is available for larger groups. The structured, established camp setting offers the perfect atmosphere in which to focus on group and personal development and meet partner goals.

Yosemite Basecamp, Backpacking and Climbing

Yosemite National Park offers the perfect outdoor classroom for outdoor education courses. From world-class waterfalls and sparkling rivers to miles of wilderness trails and a variety of lodges and campgrounds, Yosemite offers an unparalleled experience for any group.
Boojum offers a number of different opportunities in Yosemite: lodge-based, basecamp, and wilderness travel programs.

Accommodations range from the luxurious to a simple tent cabin, to campground-based tenting and backcountry camps. Activities include hiking, backpacking, visiting the cultural sites and interpretive centers of Tuolumne and Yosemite Valley, rock climbing and more.

Yosemite front-country programs primarily use day-hikes out of the Tuolumne and Yosemite Valley area, and may include experiences at the Visitor’s Center or Museum. Yosemite backcountry expeditions take place in the pristine wilderness of the Park’s high country. They introduce students to one of the country’s greatest natural and cultural resources and offers excellent opportunities for studies in mountain ecology, public lands management and landscape geography. All courses also offer exceptional and inspirational travel options which provide students with the opportunity for personal reflection and growth.

Learning activities are presented in a variety of formats throughout the program and are experiential in nature. Lessons are planned to be stimulating and challenging. Instructors give students tools to promote personal discovery and self direction in learning while supporting them with information about the topics being explored.

Yosemite programs include instruction in mountain ecology, geological processes such as mountain building, plate tectonics, and glacial dynamics; plant and animal identification and other related subjects. Activities include nature awareness games, reflective journal writing, and evening programs that bring closure to the day.

Yosemite curriculum options

  • Explore Cultural center and Native American History Center
  • Discussion of alpine meadow ecology in Tuolumne Meadows
  • Geology lesson at Lembert Dome
  • Activity on forest ecology and succession of the region
  • Native American and modern day uses of natural resources
  • Native American migration
  • Valley formation lesson
  • Conservationist ideology debate: Muir versus Whitney
  • Visit nature center at Muir Lake
  • History of Yosemite and other national parks
  • Role of stewardship and environmental activism
  • Ranger lecture about issues and challenges of fire management

Sample Yosemite Activity Options

  • Half-day hike on Mist Trail to Vernal Falls
  • Day trip to Glacier Point with day hike down
  • 4 mile half day hike on panoramic trail
  • Day hike on Sentinel trail
  • Visit Muir Lake
  • Hike through old oak groves in Hodgdon Meadow
  • Hike through sequoia groves
  • Trust and teambuilding initiatives
  • Rock climbing
  • Overnight wilderness backpacking
  • Sierra Nevada Adventures
  • Backpacking in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

The Sierra Nevada backcountry expeditions take place in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as well as the Jennie Lakes Wilderness. They introduce participants to one of the country’s greatest natural and cultural resources and offers excellent opportunities for studies in mountain ecology, national lands management and landscape geography. They also offer exceptional and inspirational backcountry travel which provides participants with the opportunity for personal reflection and growth.

Learning activities are presented in a variety of formats throughout the program and are experiential in nature and lessons are planned to be stimulating and challenging. Instructors give participants the tools to promote personal discovery and self direction in learning while supporting them with information about the topics being explored.

The Sierra Nevada program includes instruction in mountain ecology, geological processes such as mountain building, plate tectonics, and glacial dynamics, plant and animal identification and other related subjects. Activities include nature awareness games, reflective journaling, backpacking and evening programs that bring closure to the day.

Santa Cruz Mountains Residential Program

The Santa Cruz Mountain Residential Program is designed as an introduction to the unique and diverse natural areas of the central coast of California. This area is rich in both natural and human history and is an excellent location for outdoor studies. The program includes visits to riparian and forest ecosystems that highlight the wealth of ecological diversity in the area and include lessons in the preservation and potential threats to these ecosystems. Participants explore mountains, forests and coastal landscapes through day hiking, natural history lessons, and environmental awareness activities. Groups also experience a full complement of group-development and team-building games, initiatives and activities, and build character and responsibility through group living. The program’s main outdoor classrooms are the forests, meadows, and riparian (stream-side) areas of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Participants camp in tents or wooden cabins during the program and eat hearty meals in a comfortable dining hall. The Santa Cruz experience also provides a perfect environment for the enhancement of group bonding and the development of individuals’ confidence and sense of accomplishment. Journal writing, creative daily activities and small group presentations reinforce the concepts being taught, as do a variety of games and “hands-on” investigations.

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