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ACPS 5th Graders Attend Dr. C. Fred Sloan Outdoor School
5-Day Residential Program Resumes after Two-Year Hiatus due to COVID
Residential outdoor school is back for Allegany County Public School fifth graders after a two-year hiatus due to COVID restrictions. Students once again have the unique opportunity to participate in environmental studies through outdoor school experiences held at the Western Maryland 4-H Center in Garrett County, Maryland.
The outdoor school program is a phenomenal experience for students. There is perhaps no better way for them to learn about environmental and life science than to be fully engaged in nature to see how all of plant and animal systems work together in a natural setting. Not only do the students learn while there, but they also have a lot of fun and make some friendships that will last a lifetime.
The Western Maryland 4-H Center facility is owned and operated by the University of Maryland Agricultural Extension Services 4-H Program, and the outdoor school program itself is operated by the Allegany County Board of Education. The campsite features rustic cabins for staff and students, heated shower houses with restrooms, and a spacious dining hall. Additionally, the center offers indoor and outdoor teaching facilities, covered pavilions, and a campfire circle.
Between two and three elementary schools attend the camp in one-week sessions, which began this year on September 6, 2022, and will conclude on October 14th. Outdoor School staff members are responsible for teaching classes, and regular classroom teachers in attendance assist with lessons. Parent volunteers assist with overnight supervision and provide assistance throughout the day as needed. Topics studied during the week-long sessions include erosion and soil, compass and GPS, cells and microscopic organisms, owl pellets, and the wetlands. The center provides students with unique outdoor learning opportunities and is equipped with a fresh water marsh, a bog, and a swamp.
In 2010, the Board of Education voted to rename the program in honor of their late colleague, Dr. C. Fred Sloan. Dr. Sloan was an advocate for the students and was especially passionate about ensuring that they were provided with meaningful environmental and outdoor educational opportunities. The Allegany County outdoor school program is free to students and parent volunteers.