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.
Grade trips in the Upper School beginning in 9th grade teach basic outdoor skills, introduce students to new challenges, and create community. The required Constructing America course in 11th grade takes students on a day trip to the Hudson Valley that involves hiking to the Kaaterskill Falls, a subject of the Hudson River painters. 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 Summer Science Research Program offers a trip to Alaska for climate-change research that includes backcountry camping and hiking. An astrophysics trip to Colorado includes kayaking and hiking.