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Outdoor School – Environmental Science

Monmouth County Private School – Environmental Science

Students in the environmental science class will begin training to become natural navigators. Tristan Gooley’s work with natural navigation is a mix between ancient history, science, geography and environmental education. The Natural Navigator: The rediscovered art of letting nature be your guide, is a great jumping point for our new natural location.

Environmental Science

Environmental Education

Although we will be taking a more general approach, we will use Gooley’s writings to give our students the ability to navigate through the natural world. We will start by truly navigating through our new environment at our new location. We will get to know the plants, the birds, the trees and the ecology of our new home. Students will grow more and more comfortable in the outdoor environment and more and more knowledgeable about how to navigate through nature and through their lives. We will not be focused on getting lost and finding our way out or on simple survival. Instead, we will spend the school year gaining insights into how the natural world works and find our way in a deeper sense. This Science class will also be a cross-curricular course that incorporates writing, both scientific and creative, reading and history.


The students will: Session I (September – December)

  • engage their senses by connecting scientific observation and experimentation with the 5 senses of taste, smell, hearing, touch and sight.
    • back to back drawing
    • landmarking
    • sound maps
  • study their new environment through an investigation of habitat, the ecosystem, local flora, and fauna.
    • tree identification
      • field investigation and observations
      • analyzing field data and tree samples in the classroom
      • painting watercolors
      • identifying tree samples using an online database
    • fish identification
      • analysis of types of fish caught in the Husky Brook
  • study watershed ecology using the stream and the surrounding land to follow where the water goes.
  • experiment with water quality by catching aquatic insects, making deductions about the types of species caught and analyzing the results.
    • aquatic insect analysis
    • fish and wildlife data collection
    • watershed modelling
    • identifying point and nonpoint sources
  • work with the local recreation department to begin creating public awareness of the plants and trees that are found in their community.

Session II (January – March)


Thus far, students have participated in three major studies. First, we got to know the land and the water in the arboretum. Using our Natural Navigators text, we found ways to understand the land and navigate through the arboretum. Second, we studied the various tree species found in the arboretum. Finally, we are studied the watershed. We have studied many aspects of the water and the students have taken their curiosities and ideas to follow the water beyond the stream and out into the ocean.

Explore The Outdoors outdoor school voyagers community school

Explore The Outdoors

Upon our return to school in January, students began with an investigation in weather. Students in this class participated in a number of various weather experiments that provoked student thought, sparked critical thinking and led to further investigation. Experimentation was supplemented with further outdoor experimentation and lessons. This unit incorporated many challenging and detailed topics of study such as the El Nino event occurring in the Pacific and how that impacts weather on the east coast, weather forecasting in general, global wind patterns, the occurrence of seasons due to the angle of the earth’s rotation, sea-surface temperature analysis and many other aspects of both climate and weather. In this unit, students were expected to think locally and globally about the many natural events that take place on earth and how they affect the weather we feel when we go outside. Next, we will begin our unit on wildlife. *Also see blog entries


References Books

The Natural Navigator: The rediscovered art of letting nature be your guide by Tristan Gooley Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World’s Most Mysterious Fish by James Prosek


The Coriolis Effect

Bill Nye Wind

Experiment –
Air Density Sea Surface Temperature Data and Lesson Plans,0.00,223

Calculating Stream Flow Rate

The Coriolis Effect,0.00,223

Amelia Earhart Summary

Amelia Earhart’s Flight Map

Global Wind Patterns

NOAA Satellite SST{94ba5c820ba74e886144488b00d1ac8c216cdc22a85a1876eb4bbb92508e4014}20Nino{94ba5c820ba74e886144488b00d1ac8c216cdc22a85a1876eb4bbb92508e4014}20Teacher{94ba5c820ba74e886144488b00d1ac8c216cdc22a85a1876eb4bbb92508e4014}20Guide.pdf

Relative Humidity

Winter Weather Warming


Wildlife Lesson Plans

The Plant Cell

Rubrics Stream Field Report (Husky Brook Stream)

TEACHER: Lucas Kelly