Cow Parsley

Feather River Outdoor School: Where 6th Graders Embark on a Wilderness Adventure

students gather at the FREd camp

Students from C. Roy Carmichael Elementary gather for their first day orientation at the Feather River Outdoor School in Meadow Valley

Established back in 1988, the Feather River Outdoor School (popularly known as FREd) has grown into a cherished tradition among our 6th-grade students. Hosted within the scenic campus of the University of California’s Forestry Camp in Meadow Valley, this four-day, three-night residential outing offers a unique blend of education and adventure.

As the camp unfolds, students dive into what it means to be a "Mountain Kid." Encircled by a rich blend of forest, creek, and meadow habitats, the camp is a canvas where nature reveals its secrets. Our young adventurers explore the web of life flourishing around them, uncovering a living classroom beyond the four walls.

kids getting ready to go on a hike

One of the camp's hallmark experiences is the night hike. With flashlights tucked away, students tune into the subtle symphony of nature, navigating the trails under a canopy of stars. This sensory adventure sharpens their observation and instills a sense of wonder that only a moonlit forest can evoke.

The wilderness exploration culminates with a challenging nine mile hike through the untouched trails of Bucks Lake Wilderness, leading to the summit of the 7,017' Spanish Peak. It's a trek that not only tests their endurance but leaves them with a sense of accomplishment and a panoramic view that’s worth every step.

As they engage in games like Pioneers and Outlaws, students learn the essence of teamwork through fun group initiatives. The shared singing and camaraderie around the campfires forge memories, while tales of old and new friendships dance with the flames into the night sky. And who could forget the exhilarating Polar Bear Plunge on a crisp morning that sends ripples of laughter across the camp?

A big shoutout to our Outdoor Ed Coordinator Rob Wade, our dedicated 6th-grade teachers, and the supportive community partners. Their tireless efforts have carved out this enriching experience, making it an integral part of our #MountainKid education for over three decades. Their passion reflects in every leaf turned over, every trail explored, and every young mind ignited with the love for the outdoors.

The Feather River Outdoor School isn't just a camp; it's an odyssey of discovery that nurtures a budding appreciation for the wild. Each year, as the campfire lights the faces of a new batch of 6th graders, the spirit of exploration takes flight, promising a lifelong relationship with nature.

reaching Spanish Peak and looking over the valley

Quincy Elementary students look out over the landscape from atop Spanish Peak.

camp fire at the outdoor school

The glow of a campfire gathers students and counselors to sing, tell stories, and make memories.


Published September 27, 2023