Editorial: Kids need a week in the woods for outdoor learning
Ask former Everett School District students about Camp Silverton, and you’re likely to hear tales from former fifth-grade campers and high school counselors of days spent identifying trees and plants, visiting historic mines and the Big Four ice caves, testing river water for pH levels, sleeping in open-air A-frame cabins, singing around the campfire and generally poking around nature, freed for a few days from the four walls of a classroom.
State lawmakers are considering legislation, House Bill 2078, that would establish an outdoor learning grant program to develop and support educational programs for students throughout the state. Administered by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the grants would be available to school districts to partner with outdoor school providers and state environmental agencies.
The legislation follows a 2021 report by Western Washington University’s Center for Economic and Business Research that recommended funding outdoor day and overnight programs at facilities managed by State Parks, Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife and creating a list of learning outcomes for the outdoor programs.