Outdoor Education

Group Services Director
Lorraine Eberhardt
D 650 747-1206

exploring the tidal areas

walking through the redwoods

racoon on a porch

Solar Steve leading a song

11000 Pescadero Road
La Honda, CA 94020
P 650 747 1200
F 650 747 0986

Outdoor Education at its best!

In the county-run Science Camp, students enjoy an experiential model. High-quality County Office of Education Naturalist Staff teach campers about the bio-diverse environment by walking through it, singing about it, exploring it and getting connected to it.


"Students and Naturalists study and explore the land, sea, trees, animals and ecological relationships within the environment. Our curriculum teaches ecological concepts, including adaptation, change, ecosystems, cycles, diversity, and interdependence. Students also practice interpersonal skills and social development through cooperation, conflict resolution and decision making." - SMOE brochure

Contact each site directly for information about their programs.

San Joaquin County Outdoor Education

Since 1956

San Joaquin County Outdoor Education's

    Office at Camp Jones Gulch

    P 650 747 0139

    F 650 747 1523

SJCOE website                    

The SJOE program began in 1956 as a pilot program with 49 students from Jefferson School in Tracy, CA. The students spent five days and four nights at Camp Jones Gulch, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Within three years the San Joaquin Outdoor School grew to be the third largest outdoor education program in the state, serving more than 1,000 sixth grade students from 28 districts throughout the county. In 1960, the program expanded to cover the full school year, employing full-time naturalists and serving almost every school district in the county.

We teach according to California State Science Standards for 5th and 6th grades. This week long residential outdoor school focuses on environmental education – learning about the natural world while working together as members of a community.

SJOE Naturalists teach about the land, sea and air through the following eight ecological concepts: Adaptations, Change, Diversity, Communities, Ecosystem, Cycles and Interdependence. While here, students participate in a number of activities and lessons ranging from Forest Hikes to Beach Day, Music Social to Coastal Crash Course and Performing Arts Campfire to Night Hike. 

Adapted from the SJOE website.

San Mateo County Outdoor Education

Since 1968

San Mateo County Outdoor Education's

    Office at Camp Jones Gulch    

    P 650 747 0414

    F 650 747 0399

SMCOE website                                  

Since its inception in 1969, more than 175,000 children have attended the San Mateo Outdoor Education Program at YMCA Camp Jones Gulch.

The beginning of outdoor education for San Mateo County Schools dates back to the summer of 1965 when Gus Xerogeanes, a Natural Sciences teacher for San Bruno Park School District, took a group of sixth grade students on a week long summer school adventure to the San Francisco YMCA Camp at Jones Gulch.

A district-wide program for San Bruno Park Schools was started in the spring of 1966 with only 60 students each week. The pilot Outdoor Education Program was approved in 1969 and began with 650 pupils.

Dedicated staff continues to teach students an appreciation of the environment and the interdependence of all things. District teachers are an active part of this experience and the Program has developed a loyal following of teachers who return their students year after year to discover the benefits of the Outdoor Education experience.

Adapted from "A History of the Outdoor Education Program of the San Mateo County Office of Education" by Kristina E. Chiosso.

(Outdoor Education correspondence should be mailed through USPS to the address on the right. Be sure to include the county and school from which the child is attending.)