Support our Outdoor Classroom

In ESF, Featured, Outdoor Classroom, outreach by Administrator

This year, the BIG IDEA for our Monterey County Gives campaign is our Carneros Creek Outdoor Classroom. We invite you to make a donation in support of this important community resource. When you donate through Monterey County Gives! the Elkhorn Slough Foundation will receive an additional amount on top of your donation through their overall match.


Our Outdoor Classroom was featured in the Land Trust Alliance’s Saving Land magazine. The story, called Nurturing a Conservation Ethic, highlights partnerships with schools to provide outdoor learning spaces. Download the entire article.

More about our Big Idea

Our Carneros Creek Outdoor Classroom breaks down walls and opens students’ minds to the wonders of the natural world as they learn about the their watershed in the shade of a massive oak.

Last year, we added a trailblazing new program to Elkhorn Slough Foundation’s youth outreach activities. The Carneros Creek Outdoor Classroom is an open-air learning space on ESF-conserved land, a short walk from Hall District Elementary School.

More than 200 students visited last semester—led by teachers, ESF staff and volunteers—listening to birds, studying insects, and gathering beneath a majestic oak to learn about plants and wildlife, Native American culture, and water’s journey to the sea. Their excitement generated a ripple effect: this year, 90% of the school’s students will visit our Outdoor Classroom. Scientific analysis will be introduced to students in the afterschool activity through an ongoing environmental monitoring program. The 4th graders will even study local habitats and share their discoveries with the 2nd grade!

To continue inspiring young scientists, we need to expand and maintain the trails, build new benches, care for the safety and health of the oak canopy, and provide educational supplies, staff, and volunteer training.

Your contribution gets the next generation of conservationists thinking outside the box … and outside the classroom.

“Thank you for making a trail so we could go on the field trip. I learned that oak trees live more than 100 years.”

– David A., Grade 4

“Thank you for all your hard work. I learned a lot about plants and ecosystems.”

—Liliana J., Grade 4