Fourth Grade in Joyce Kilmer
Fifth Grade
Sixth Grade studies geology
Seventh Grade on the Deep Creek trail
Eighth Grade pauses on their way to the Adams mine

MDCS Takes Education Outdoors

The goal of our Education Outdoors program is to take advantage of our proximity to so much public land by teaching the curriculum in a wilderness setting. This opens up a large realm of possibilities. Along with regular content, students learn the tenets of minimum impact camping, self-care skills for traveling in the outdoors, and come out of a trip with a sense of accomplishment that simply cannot be obtained in a traditional classroom setting.


We continue to refine the curriculum to provide students with a stair-stepped series of outdoor experiences beginning with a one night car camping trip to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest for fourth graders and culminating with a five day, four night canoeing and backpacking expedition to Hazel Creek in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for our eighth grade. The Hazel Creek trip will happen in late September or early October every year.


We have a classroom set of backpacks and all of the necessary group gear. Mr. Killebrew, Ms. Lynn, and I are certified Wilderness First Responders which qualifies us to deal with anything from treating and preventing blisters to evacuating a patient with a spinal injury. Ms. Donna is certified in Wilderness First Aid. We send at least two WFR or WFA certified staff on all of the back country trips. As trip leaders, safety is our primary concern and we take every possible preventative measure to ensure student safety.


Participation in these trips is compulsory. The material covered on these expeditions is integral to the content delivered in the classroom. Missing an outing is more costly than missing a day of school; it is impossible for students to make-up the lessons because they rely on the unique setting in which they are taught. It is a real joy for me to help deliver curriculum in the wilderness, watch kids get out and succeed at things that they've never done before, and personally, it's great to spend large blocks of time with our students in an outdoor setting. I hope that you are as excited about this offering as I am. Please follow these links at the top of the page to get more information on specific trips. If you have any questions about the program, do not hesitate to call me at the school office.




Carter Petty


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