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4th and 5th Grade Outdoor Education

4th Grade Coloma -- Gold Rush

Learning about the past…changing the future.

The Coloma Outdoor Discovery School’s Gold Rush program is designed for fourth graders, and is correlated with the California Content Standards. Our intention is to celebrate the culture, music, and folklore of the California Gold Rush while using lessons of the past to awaken students’ interest and sense of responsibility for the environment.

At CODS, students live the Gold Rush: stories, songs, skits, and characterizations all help to convey the social and economic community of early Coloma. Students will walk in the footsteps of the forty-niners and experience some of the challenges of surviving away from home.

All of the educational programs at the Outdoor School operate around the concept of respect: for nature, oneself, and others. Students possess responsibilities in the bunkhouse, in the kitchen, and on the trail.


“Greenhorns” create a Gold Rush encampment with the help of a “Sourdough”. Young forty-niners will get hands-on experience creating a shelter, washing laundry, baking cornbread, and of course, panning for gold. Then, partner up for a foot stompin’ good time at the Hoe Down!

Students will continue their adventures into the town of Coloma and the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. Students will also learn about the plants and animals of the Sierra foothills on a three mile hike! That evening a guest presenter will bring to life native and local lore.

On the final day, the students will talk about the forty-niners of today—themselves! Students will learn that what they need to survive today hasn’t changed much… or has it? We hope that the new “sourdoughs” will return to their homes with some ideas of how to show respect to the environment where they live.

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5th Grade Outdoor Ed Marin Headlands

Learning in nature’s classroom

Nature Bridge field science programs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area offer students in grades K-12 the opportunity to learn hands-on science in one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most pristine coastal areas.  Our three residential outdoor science programs are led by experienced educators and customized to enhance your school’s curriculum. 

  • Environmental education in a national park: Located just minutes from San Francisco, students can explore the shores of Rodeo Beach as well as 60 miles of coastal hillsides rich with beaches, cliffs, estuary, chaparral, and woodlands.

  • Inquiry-based learning:  Students collect and identify macro-invertebrates in Rodeo Pond, observe seals from the bluffs, and study the adaptations of tide pool creatures in our state-of-the-art intertidal marine lab. 

  • Inspired to action: Students see up close the impact their actions have on the world around them though composting food waste or volunteering at the plant nursery which inspires students toward lifelong stewardship.