Cutting Edge, Outdoor Education in the Heart of El Dorado County

by Placerville Newswire / Feb 08, 2016 / comments

[Gold Rush History Program]
Coloma Outdoor Discovery School (CODS) is a nonprofit, outdoor education center that has offered engaging programs for 25 years and is located in the Historic Coloma Valley of El Dorado County. CODS offers one to four day experiences in the areas of Gold Rush History, Eco-Science, Ropes Course Challenge and team building courses. Students of all ages are led by a team of highly-trained naturalists through a wonderland of explorations at CODS’ campus and Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. 

In the Gold Rush History Program, fourth grade students travel to the year 1849 and experience a living history program that celebrates the culture, music and folklore of the California Gold Rush. The curriculum uses strategies concurrent with state standards and hands-on lessons of the past to awaken students’ interests and sense of responsibility for the environment. William Brooks Elementary School fourth grade students took a short ride from El Dorado Hills and experienced the Gold Rush during the last week in January. “This type of outdoor, interactive and hands-on learning makes a lasting impression on the children. I am grateful that they are making lifelong memories here,” fourth grade parent Sue Christensen expressed.    

The comprehensive Eco Science program is designed to engage fourth through sixth grade students and foster their understanding and appreciation of the environment. The curriculum has recently been updated to accommodate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), state standards and the California Blueprint for Environmental Literacy. New lesson plans include ‘The Amazing Bee’ where students learn the importance of pollination in the environment. ‘The Hidden World of Decomposing’ teaches students about soil composition, worm farms and composting. Students also learn about the health of the local watersheds, the human impacts upon waterways, nitrogen cycles and aquaponics. 

The Ropes Course Challenge programs provide scenarios to teach teambuilding skills such as trust, communication and group problem solving. Individuals build self-esteem through exercises that help overcome their personal fears. Participants safely master high elements of a challenging course 25 feet above the ground.

CODS’ mission is to foster environmental stewardship, community and individual responsibility through dynamic, integrated learning in an outdoor environment. All of the experiential programs that CODS offers create achievable strategies for integrating environmental education into classroom curriculum. CODS’ premier facility is set along the South Fork of the American River and provides beautiful, climate controlled cabin accommodations. Full course meals highlighting organic and locally sourced ingredients are served in a covered, outdoor kitchen. For more information, questions or to schedule a program, contact Executive Director Marielle Faieta or Program Director Julie Powell at 530-957-9002. 

(Main image: Left to right) Coloma resident and 7-year CODS veteran Taylor Cavin, students Madison Young, Colby Hills and Connor Gilliland make gold pouches out of leather and beads to collect their loot.     

(Insert  Top) Naturalist and 10-year CODS veteran Tim Camuti teaches the learning group called Sierra City about the surrounding area.

(Insert Middle Left) Jake Everett plays the role of James Marshall with Karli Weisse in a production about the history of gold discovery and the Gold Rush. 

(Insert Bottom Left) William Brooks Elementary School students watch a play performed by CODS instructors and their own classmates set to the backdrop of the American River.