Fostering Leadership in the Outdoors

Mountain View Middle School students participate in a forest scavenger hunt as part of their Outdoor Leadership class in partnership with Land Labs.

During the 2022 fall school semester, Great Peninsula Conservancy’s Land Labs Education Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA Jaime Webb partnered with local Mountain View Middle School teacher Lisa Gordon and her Outdoor Leadership class. Never before offered at the school until this year, the course focused on how students can serve as leaders in the classroom, outdoors, and in their communities. Jaime worked with the class once a week, exploring topics including how students can be environmental leaders who think through solutions to problems, and how nature can be used to inspire art and creativity all around us.

An example of student “Nature Art” that was created during the semester.

The partnership culminated in a field experience at Ueland Tree Farm in January where the Land Labs team and Outdoor Leadership students hiked to explore nature and complete a scavenger hunt as a leadership challenge. The scavenger hunt revolved around photographs of “GPC Gabi” and students were challenged to find the same hiking spots that Gabi found on her hike earlier that morning. Students were given scavenger hunt clues in the form of Gabi’s social media posts, and participated in activities combining all the skills and knowledge they had accumulated over the course of the class.

Follow along on the students’ hike as they search for Gabi’s scavenger hunt clues at Ueland Tree Farm:

The trail group, led by GPC Community Stewardship Coordinator Beatrice Lincke, prepares to head onto the trail to follow Gabi’s clues, starting at the Ueland Tree Farm sign.
An example of one of GPC Gabi’s “posts”, which featured points of interest relating to previous lessons from the semester, such as moss and lichens.
A student holds up a scavenger hunt clue in front of the found object, in this case a Madrone tree that Gabi had “climbed.”
Students enjoy eating lunch under the trees to the side of the trail. Trail groups made sure that everything they brought with them in their packs went home with them.
Students explore Dickerson Creek just like GPC Gabi. Many students photographed the creek and said it was their favorite part of the hike.
At the end of the day, the trail group finds GPC Gabi waiting for them in the GPC truck!

The field experience was made possible by the support of dedicated Land Labs volunteers, including Chuck Holland, Dawn Dockter, Jake Miller, and Shannon Goodfellow. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with Land Labs and joining in on field trips like this one, sign up to be notified of future volunteer opportunities using the link below. No experience is needed!