Oaks Group Details

Acorns & Saplings

The Acorns group is an excellent place for your children to begin their nature-connection journey.  This introductory period is a rich and sweet time of learning and growth, lasting several years, and laying the foundations for greater challenges to come.

The Saplings is the next stage of that progression.  As your children grow and mature in their nature-connection journey they’ll be presented with a deepening inquiry and increased challenge.

Admission into the Acorns and Saplings group is based on age.

Oaks Group

In our efforts to best meet the needs of the ever-maturing youth we work with, we have offered an Oaks option at some of our programs for a number of years.  The intention of the Oaks group is to provide an opportunity for long-time students to continue challenging themselves in a group of peers who share their level of ability and passion for learning.

The Oaks was initially conceived as an invitation-only program, and run that way for several years, with participation for ages 10-14.

We’re always asking ourselves how we can better serve our most current pool of students.  Over the years the process of bringing in new Oaks has changed several times.  After some thoughtful internal conversations, we’ve decided (beginning in Spring 2024) to make some adjustments to best accommodate our newest generation of prospective Oaks.

New Age Range
We’re adjusting the age range slightly, from 10-14 up to 11-14.  We believe that this will result in a stronger peer experience for our Oaks students.

Oaks Application
Now instead of any pre-requisites, we have a simple application process.  Students who are interested in joining the Oaks for the first time can fill-out a simple online application to share with us why they’re excited to be a part of this program.  Returning Oaks students do not need to fill-out the application.

NOTE: Please be sure to go ahead and register for the Oaks program to save your spot before having your student complete this application.  In the event your students application is not accepted you’ll have the option of having them join a different program or receive a full refund.

Instructor pointing out something to group of older nature school students

What makes an Oak an Oak?

This is a great question, and one we take very seriously.  One of the primary distinctions between Oaks and other groups is the children’s ability to be self-directed in their learning.

There is an expectation that Oaks both stay engaged in the group process while  simultaneously having the freedom to pursue their individual interests. Oaks have a baseline level of proficiency in the outdoor skills we teach (fire-making, shelter building, moving silently, etc.), a solid foundation of the naturalist knowledge we impart (wild edible & medicinal plant ID, animal track & sign, bird language, etc.) and an enthusiasm for the cultural elements we embody (singing, story-telling, listening intently, etc.).  In addition to possessing these baseline proficiencies,  Oaks are both capable and excited to teach younger students some of these fundamental skills.

Underlining all these qualities is an eagerness and curiosity that compels them into greater learning.