The Wilderness Classroom started with a simple idea: to improve students’ core academic skills and appreciation for the environment by introducing elementary and middle school students to the wonders of exploration and wilderness travel.
Twelve years and over a dozen expeditions later, the Wilderness Classroom is a 501(c)3 that reaches over 3,200 teachers and 100,000 students around the globe.
Our mission has never changed. We seek to instill a lifelong appreciation of the natural world while improving basic skills like reading, critical thinking and communication by highlighting the joy of discovery.
Since it is usually unfeasible to load a classroom of 4th grade students onto a plane and fly them to remote locations, we use a combination of interactive internet-based learning tools on our website, teacher training and live school programs to accomplish our mission.
Each year the Wilderness Classroom designs and undertakes several educational expeditions in remote locations around the world. Plus we partner with other explorers and travelers interested in sharing their experiences with classrooms.
On Earth Day (April 22) of 2010 Dave and Amy Freeman began a three year, 11,700 mile journey across North America by kayak, canoe, and dogsled. Their goal was to use their journey as a platform for gaining support and protection for North America’s waterways and wild places, while engaging, inspiring, and educating elementary and middle school students through Common Core aligned curriculum, this website, and live school assemblies.
The odyssey began by kayak on the Pacific Coast studying temperate rainforests and marine life of the Pacific Northwest, but this was just the first in a series of six stages on their quest to highlight North America’s wildest places.
After kayaking 1,400 miles from Seattle, Washington to Skagway, Alaska, the team progressed over the history-studded mountains in the footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rush, to the home of Inuit along the Arctic Ocean where polar bears roam. From the Arctic Ocean they dogsledded and canoed south through central Canada, and kayaked across the Great Lakes. Finally Dave and Amy followed the annual whale migration past the salt marshes and sea turtles of the Atlantic Coast, and finished in the mangroves and coral reefs of the Florida Keys in April of 2013.