Riverdale was built around the idea of incorporating experiences in nature with "scholarly teaching," and providing opportunities for students to explore nature through academics, athletics, and community-building activities. In 2014, Riverdale added to the program with the hiring of a full-time outdoor educator who is working with the faculty, deans and coaches on creating more experiences for students around building teams, practicing leadership, developing resilience and independence, learning wilderness skills, and enjoying recreational fitness in nature.
Riverdale's active outing club, comprised of students and faculty, has taken day trips this fall to Harriman State Park and Breakneck Ridge for hiking, and the Shawangunk Mountains for rock climbing. Over the Columbus Day weekend, a group took a weekend camping trip to the Delaware Water Gap. Longer trips are in the works for school vacations.
The deans are incorporating team-building ideas from outdoor education into community activities: the annual 9th grade orientation this year included a navigation challenge; the 8th grade trip this spring will incorporate self-reliance in nature into its activities. Teachers in the natural sciences, visual arts, and physical education departments are also looking at ways to collaborate in order to give students experience with learning how to explore and take care of themselves in the wilderness.
Backpacking in Bears Ears National Monument, Utah—March 2018
Trip Leaders: Marshall Nicoloff, Jazmin Sherwood
Dates of Travel: March 16–March 23, 2018
Cost of Trip: $1,700 (Based on airfare as of November 2017). Includes airfare, ground transportation, lodging, food, and group equipment. Does not include travel insurance. Financial aid is available. Please contact Sheila Hicks-Rotella (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Application: Students will be selected for this trip based upon their application and feedback from Deans and teachers. It is our goal to have a diverse group of students on this trip, equally representing boys and girls as well as different grade levels. Applications are due by November 15, 2017. Please download and complete the application form, and submit to Ms. Martinez in KNF’s office.
Trip Description: Join RCS Outdoor Programs on an amazing backpacking expedition in the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area of Bears Ears National Monument, Utah. The area is rich in biological, geological, archaeological, and historical perspectives including Pueblo cliff dwellings with well preserved petroglyphs. This canyon trip will offer rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, and solitude. Students on the expedition can expect a physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging experience as they learn how to be safe and competent expeditionary leaders. Through this expedition students will work to develop the skills, tools, and attitude to be competent leaders both in the backcountry and back home. We will focus on two aspects of effective outdoor leadership:
- Developing technical skills in wilderness navigation and backcountry travel and expedition
- Developing effective leadership skills including group communication, conflict resolution, decision making, teamwork, teaching, and risk management
Summer Science Research & Outdoor Leadership Expedition: Ecology & Exploration in the Alaskan Arctic - June-July 2018
Summer Science Research & Outdoor Leadership Expedition: Ecology & Exploration in the Alaskan Arctic—
Trip Leaders: Rachel Cox, Marshall Nicoloff
Dates of Travel: June 21–July 7, 2018
Cost of Trip: $3,700 (Based on airfare as of December 2018). Includes airfare, ground transportation, lodging, food, and group equipment. Financial aid is available. Please contact Sheila Hicks-Rotella (email@example.com) for more information.
Application: Students will be selected for this trip based upon their application and feedback from deans and teachers. Due to the nature of this program, rising Juniors and Seniors will be given priority. Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis and should be completed as soon as possible. The application process will close when the trip is full. You may make your application using the online form here.
Trip Description: To say that the Alaskan arctic is impressive is an understatement. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Gates of the Arctic National Park, alone, comprise of over 43,000 square miles of pristine wilderness in northern Alaska. That’s larger than the state of Virginia! The area encompasses arctic tundra, boreal forests, wild rivers, the Brooks Range mountains, coastal plain, and an amazingly vast openness that one has to experience to believe. While few people can be found in the Arctic, the abundance of diverse wildlife is astounding. More than 45 species of mammal call the Alaskan arctic home, including caribou, wolves, moose, bears, dall sheep, musk ox, and so much more!
Join Lisman Labs and RCS Outdoor Programs on a science research and exploration trip to this amazing region. We’ll backpack through untouched tundra, climb mountains, enjoy 24 hours of sunlight, spot wildlife, and lose ourselves in the vastness of the arctic. We’ll also perform field work as part of multi-institutional research studies that focus on understanding the impact of climate change on arctic species.
Students on the expedition can expect a physically, mentally and emotionally challenging experience, while living, traveling and working as a small team of field researchers and explorers. Students will work to develop skills, tools and attitudes to be competent leaders both in the backcountry and back home. We will focus on two aspects of effective outdoor leadership:
- Developing technical skills in wilderness navigation and backcountry travel and research
- Developing effective leadership skills including community and expedition behavior, judgement and decision making, communication and teaching, and self-awareness