stop Pathfinder Ranch studies
Snow that fell on Pathfinder Ranch overnight night Tuesday, Feb. 19, did not keep Promenade Elementary School students from Corona indoors at the outdoor education facility in the San Jacinto Mountains.
Snow mer timberland uk ely turned their educational visit into more of an adventure. Wearing jackets and gloves and relying on plastic grocery bags to wear inside their atheltic shoes to keep their feet dry, they ventured into the snow for what the ranch program is supposed to offer outdoor education.
The educator counselors at Pathfinder Ranch switch their teaching plans and use snow as part of their outdoor courses rather than let storms get in the way. Students don spend their snow days drinking hot chocolate and listening to lectures indoors. They continue to tromp outdoors to study freshwater ecology, learn about Cahuilla Indians in an ethno biology course and practice winter survival skills. They study ecology while hiking through the snow on beautifully wooded trails around the ranch.
Outdoor studies continued this week at Pathfinder Ranch following the Tuesday night snowfall. Photo by Mary Collier
Outdoor educators face the added challenge of keeping kids focused when they are excited about being in snow f timberland uk or the first time. lot of them have never experi timberland uk enced snow, except for seeing it from far away, so it a real cool experience, said Ryan Mayeda, outdoor education director at Pathfinder Ranch.
Besides teaching excited kids, the teachers also take steps to keep students warm. Southern California kids, after all, live in shorts, T shirts and flip flops and athletic shoes. Snow boots are not often part of their wardrobes.
Mayeda does not consider snow an awful bother. He enjoys how it is a treat for the kids. me, I love it, he said. students really enjoy themselves. When I see the snow, it challenges me to do something different with my classes, to bring me out of my comfort zone. Ranch provides outdoor education for visiting schools from throughout Southern California fall through spring. The students usually are fifth graders. The ranch is located off Highway 74 in gorgeous Garner Valley, east of Mountain Center, and not far from Idyllwild.
Hiking still was an activity at Pathfinder Ranch following the snowfall. Photo by Mary Collier
In the summer, the high quality organization shifts to a summer camp with an emphasis on recreation, but still includes outdoor education. The ranch also is available for retreats.
Schools tend to return for multi day stays year after year, so teachers let parents know students should be prepared for cold in the winter and possibly snow. Mayeda said nearly all bring gloves, jackets, gloves and hats, but many lack snow boots. Wearing plastic grocery bags inside shoes and frequently changing to dry socks serves as a substitute.
The ranch keeps extra jackets and warm weather gear on hand for kids who arrive poorly prepared for snow.
Cabins are warm and bunk beds double as drying racks for wet clothes.
Mayeda said the students hike in the snow while observing trees and plants. In the popular freshwater ecology session, they learn how snow melts and percolates through soil to build up underground supplies.
They work on survival skills in the snow. One of the most popular activities following a storm is tracking animals in the snow.
He said that when a storm is predicted, student constantly ask when it going to hit and hope for snow. They tend to be surprised by how wet they get when they are out in dry, powdery snow.
During their free time, they play in the snow. A basketball court is shoveled off so the timberland uk y can play hoops.
soccer field is packed down with snow, Mayeda said. doubt if many played soccer in the snow before.