Outdoor Education

MWCA continues to uphold the original mandate to provide environmental education — an integral part of its purpose. Qualified staff guide campers and students in exploring and learning about wildlife and plant communities so they can better understand and respect our natural world.

Education Director Jeanne Smith came to the Woodlands in 1995 after completing her Masters degree in Outdoor Education. She has worked in this field since 1986, also for such notable groups as the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club, and the U.S. Forest Service.

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Below is a video introduction to the Woodlands’ Mendocino Outdoor Science School (MOSS). This is the largest environmental educational program at the Woodlands and one of the best of its kind in the nation.


In addition to an on-site herbarium and resource library, MWCA offers the following programs:

Mendocino Outdoor Science School (MOSS)

This is the jewel of MWCA’s environmental education programs. MOSS allows school children from fourth through eighth grades to experience and learn about the wonders of our natural world while fostering a feeling of connection with their communities. Click on the headline just above to find out more.

Field Trips
We can design a custom field trip program on many different natural history topics to suit your group’s or students’ needs. Suggestions:

  • Redwood forest ecology
  • Pond and stream
  • Rocky shore tide pools
  • Logging History
  • Native American Plant Uses
  • Birds of the North Coast
  • Field Math & Orienteering
  • Salmon Life Cycle

One of our most popular field trips is a visit to the Challenge Course. Fun and exciting, this activity is open to anyone over 12. Our course is located on a secluded wooded shelf along a river. Each element has a story and a physical task for your group to accomplish. It is designed to encourage group cooperation and problem-solving skills and is appropriate for businesses and organizations as well as school groups.

Campers’ Guided Activities
MWCA offers several special programs for campers, including the following:
Night Awareness Walk
This hike focuses on nocturnal animals of the Redwood forest and their adaptations to activity in the dark. Easy, one-hour walk. Call owls and enjoy activities that test the acuteness of your senses at night. All ages.
Plants of the Redwood Forest and Their Uses
All of the produce we eat today had its origins in the wild. Explore the diversity of plant life at the Woodlands and learn about its folklore and uses.
Campfire Cooking for Kids
The art of building a fire and cooking kid-friendly food over an open flame will be the focus of this 1-1/2 hour class.

Adventure Education — Beyond the Woodlands Camp
Discover the wild lands and rivers of the North Coast. Our naturalist/guides will help you custom build a trip, perfect for your group or organization. Popular choices: Backpack the Lost Coast or Canoe the Big River. Guided trips include instruction in wilderness skills, assistance in acquiring gear, and natural history information.

Contact us for more information on any of these programs.