Outdoor School

Cultivating Connection

Multi-Day Field Trips

Our comfortably rustic forest campsite serves as the home base for our Outdoor School (ODS) programs. Between classes that make full use of the ecologically diverse property, students sleep in platform tents, shower in nearby bathhouses, and cook in our open-air kitchen.

Fifth and sixth grade classes that spend two nights and three days with us are eligible for ODS funding, but we offer these extended learning opportunities for students of all ages.

Our place-based, NGSS-aligned curriculum engages students directly with the ecological diversity, land stewardship and management practices, and sustainable lifestyle choices that are at the heart of the Ranch’s daily work. Students experience firsthand the direct connections between land, water, food, and life as they work with crops and livestock, assess forest health, and examine the effects of wetland restoration. They also strengthen team membership skills as they live, cook, learn, and play together under the guidance of our expert team.

Outdoor School Lesson Offerings:

Farm and Food

Classes take an interactive tour of a working farm with vegetable gardens, egg-laying chickens and ducks, and dairy goats. Learning objectives include gaining an understanding of vegetable production, the role of growing seasons, local food systems, and most importantly, the interaction between growing food and the natural world. Students learn and use safe food preparation and handling skills in making a farm fresh meal.


The Forest Around Us

Students learn the role that forests play in the natural world, especially in relation to climate change. They explore the science behind why the forest looks the way it does. This lesson includes learning how to identify trees, determine tree age with an increment borer, and collect data on forest health on forested private land within the biodiverse Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument!



Classes dive into the world of bird watching, including learning to use binoculars for spotting and identifying birds. The role birds play in the ecosystem is explored and discussed in this lesson.


Soil: The Stuff Beneath Our Feet

In this lesson, students gain an understanding of different soil types, how human activity has impacted soil, and how soil health can be achieved. They also explore the creation of compost and how it is used to amend soil.


Exploring the Wild Wetlands

The land at Willow-Witt Ranch is the headwaters for multiple watersheds. The bulk of this lesson centers around the protection of upland water and the healthy wetlands here that were restored to function after years of disturbance by cattle. This lesson includes identifying plant and animal life, including observing the Western Pond Turtles from our turtle blind. The turtles in our pond were discovered to be the highest-elevation breeding population of Western Pond Turtles!

Additional lesson offerings coming soon!

Get involved...

The Crest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

The Crest nonprofit organization relies on donations to support youth programs and give community groups the chance to experience the wonders of nature to learn about and feel a connection to the natural world. Please consider contributing to this natural legacy by making a tax-deductible donation.


658 Shale City Road
Ashland OR 97520

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