From the beginning, Riverdale offered scholarly teaching alongside experiences in nature. Now a full-time outdoor educator works with the Middle and Upper School faculty on creating programs that teach wilderness skills, build character strengths such as resilience and independence, and offer all students opportunities to enjoy recreational fitness in the outdoors.
Riverdale's active outing club, comprised of students and faculty, takes day trips to Harriman State Park and Breakneck Ridge for hiking and the Shawangunk Mountains for rock climbing. Overnight weekend trips include camping, skiing, and kayaking. Longer trips take place during school vacations. Destinations have included Patagonia, Utah, and Alaska.
The deans work with the outdoor education program on community-building activities. Grade-wide overnight trips at the beginning and end of the school year create opportunities for new friendships and for students and faculty to learn about each other outside of the classroom.
Marshall Nicoloff, director of Outdoor Education, describes how experiences in nature give students a sense of purpose.
Outdoor Leadership Expedition: Sea Kayaking in Glacier Bay, Alaska—June 2019
Trip Leaders: Marshall Nicoloff, Gaspar Epstein
Dates of Travel: June 14–June 25, 2019
Cost of Trip: $3,700–3,900 Includes airfare, ground transportation, lodging, food, and group equipment. Trip cost will be billed directly from the Finance Office. Financial aid is available. Please contact Sheila Hicks-Rotella (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Trip Description: Join Riverdale Outdoor Programs and Alaska Mountain Guides on this backcountry sea kayaking expedition through the East Arm of Glacier Bay National Park. Days will be spent paddling amongst icebergs, glaciers and incredible wildlife, as we explore this beautiful and pristine region of the world. At night, we will camp along our route, enjoying some great rest, land exploration, and delicious food.
For this expedition, Riverdale Outdoor Programs has teamed up with the renowned staff of Alaska Mountain Guides. The professionals of AMG will provide an exciting and rewarding experience while showing the very best of Glacier Bay. They will also offer instruction in the arts of sea kayaking including navigation, beach landings, paddling technique and more.
This outdoor leadership expedition is open to all 9th–11th grade students. Students will focus on the skills, tools and attitude to be competent leaders both in the backcountry and within their community in everyday life. This includes:
- Developing competent technical skills in backcountry travel, survival, and expedition.
- Developing effective leadership skills including group communication, conflict resolution, decision making, teamwork and student teaching.
Students on the Glacier Bay Sea Kayaking Expedition can expect a physically, mentally and emotionally challenging experience as they learn how to be safe and competent expeditionary leaders.