VOLCANO OUTDOOR SCHOOL

Bring your class or youth group to explore the mountain by day and by night with the Mount St. Helens Institute’s Volcano Outdoor School. Come face-to-face with geologic forces and discover the amazing stories of plant and animal life in the heart of the Mount St. Helens blast zone.

“Wonderful! This is an experience the children will remember their ENTIRE lives. Lots of cool activities, beautiful environment, very nice facilities. Such a great time/place!” “The Volcano Outdoor School educators were phenomenal. They were energetic, patient, kind, and engaging. Thank you!” “Very hands-on, science based experience with a big dose of outdoor and team-based learning. Tons of fun. Great teachers. Great mix of theory and practice.”

 

OVERNIGHT PROGRAMS 

Volcano Outdoor School Overnight Programs provide a unique, interdisciplinary, fully-immersive experience that supports Next Generation Science Standards.  

Throughout the program, students explore the world around them, using scientific tools, recording field observations, working in a team, sharing and discussing ideas, creating art, and reflecting on the environment and themselves. 

In our ecology programs, students investigate themes of disturbance, succession and renewal.  

In our geology programs, students investigate themes of scale, human connections to geologic processes, and interactions between earth systems.  

  • Maximum group size: 30 youth, 6 adults
  • Student:Educator ratio: 15 students per 1 MSHI educator 
  • Duration: 1-night or 2-night
  • Times: 2:00 PM arrival day - 12:00 PM departure day.
  • Cost: 
    • $145/person/night (Minimum: $2500/night)
    • 1 teacher/group leader free
    • INCLUDES: 3 meals + snacks throughout the program + lodging + 8 hours of educational activities led by Mount St. Helens Institute per night
    • New in 2022!  Schools in Washington State  bringing 5th and 6th grade students may be eligible for reimbursement through Washington State Funding for Overnight Outdoor School. Learn more about this funding with this FAQ sheet. View an informational slide deck to share with school administrators. 
    • Financial assistance may be available for low-income groups

DAY PROGRAMS 

Whether your class is able to be at Mount St. Helens for 1 hour or for 8 hours, Volcano Outdoor School day programs are a fantastic way to make the most out of a day experience with hands-on, experiential learning!  Mount St. Helens Institute education staff will work with you to create a schedule that aligns with your goals and your schedule needs.

  • Maximum group size: Dependent on activities and staff availability 
  • Student:educator ratio: Dependent on group size, activities and staff availability 
  • Duration: 1-6 hours
  • Times: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Custom times available upon request.
  • Cost: 
    • $12/person/hour (Minimum: $500/day)
    • 1 teacher/group leader free
    • Financial assistance may be available for low-income groups

LOCATIONS

Most Volcano Outdoor School programs are based at the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center located in the heart of the 1980 eruption blast zone.  In this place where the 1980 eruption scraped and scoured the land, students investigate the past and present geology and ecology at work.  Field trips may include at other locations such as Ape Cave, Trail of Two Forests, Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Seaquest State Park, and more. These locations are available on a case-by-case basis. 

“A must do for Washington kids. The history, the science, the event are all so relevant.” “Profound. unimaginably successful. A paradigm shifter for the classroom." “I heard voices that tend to be quiet in the classroom.”

LEARN MORE & REGISTER

1. View our calendar of available dates. Please note that these dates are subject to group size, staff availability, and facility availability.  

2. Read our program policies.  Note that groups are required to provide chaperone support at a ratio of 1:5 chaperones per students for overnight trips and 1:8 chaperones per students for day trips.

3. Read our Frequently Asked Questions.  Email learn@mshinstitute.org with any other questions or for further information.

4. Complete the non-binding INQUIRY FORM and FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FORM (if applicable)

  • Include your top three dates and share any information about your flexibility, the limits of your flexibility (ex: any Thursday in June), and dates you cannot come.
  • For 2023 programs, priority dates will be given to schools/groups that complete the Inquiry Form by October 31. Schools may inquire at any time after October 31 and inquiries will be evaluated at the end of each month. 
    • We will do our best to accommodate your dates based on our availability, previous Volcano Outdoor School participation, and our priorities based on grant funding. 
    • We will notify you of the proposed date(s) and any financial support in mid November. If the proposed date(s) are not acceptable, we will work with you to find a suitable date. 
    • Once we have agreed on a date, we will send you a Program Agreement for you to sign and return to us. 

PARTNERS & DONORS

US Forest Service, WA Recreation & Conservation Office No Child Left Inside, WA State Parks, Honorable Frank L and Arlene G Price Foundation, Autzen Foundation, Outdoor Schools WA, Chevron, Goodfellow Bros., Cowlitz Indian Tribe, BNSF Railway Foundation, and HB Fuller.

THANK YOU FOR LEARNING WITH US AT THE MOUNT ST. HELENS INSTITUTE!

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Mount St. Helens Institute operates under a special use permit from the US Forest Service, WA State Parks and is honored to work on the Traditional Cultural Property, ancestral and present day lands of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. Mount St. Helens Institute is an equal opportunity provider.