Sempervirens Program Overview

Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools at Sempervirens takes a hands-on, experiential approach to science education, and focuses on adventure, self-discovery, and environmental stewardship. Located at the headwaters of Wadell Creek and the San Lorenzo River near Big Basin State Park, students learn about how they can impact the watershed while exploring the Oak, Madrone, and Redwood Forest. Each evening activity finishes with songs and stories around the campfire.

The Sempervirens curriculum, aligned with the California State Standards, focuses on three strands:

  • Nature Appreciation and Understanding
  • Cooperation and Teamwork
  • Citizenship and Empowerment

These themes are taught through a variety of activities and lessons.

Daytime activities include:

  • Exploring the tidepool, marsh, monarch grove, and beach at Natural Bridges State Beach
  • Learning about the old growth redwoods while hiking in Big Basin State Park
  • Exploring and working with the plants, chickens, and goats in the organic garden and orchard
  • Hikes and lessons in a mixed Tan Oak/Madrone/Douglas fir forest
  • Working together to complete team challenges on our low ropes challenge course
  • Singing songs about decomposition, adaptations, and the food chain

Night time activities include:

  • The Town Hall Meeting, in which students debate and vote on a development issue
  • The Barnyard Boogie, where students learn dances with our live band!
  • The Night Hike, in which students go for a hike at night and learn about astronomy
  • Skit Night, where students perform skits about the endangered species their cabin is named after
  • Each evening ends with a campfire where naturalist sing songs and tell stories