A Coastal Community-Themed Celebration of Environmental Stewardship

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As always, our program year seems to fly by in an instant. One of the best times of year is when our staff, board, and student interns take a nature break to share stories and celebrate the hard work everyone puts in. This year, Earth Team headed to Slide Ranch for a weekend of impactful story-telling, awesome views, educational activities, and all around good times.

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The weekend kicked off in Berkeley where students from 7 different East Bay Area schools joined together, in addition to a couple of graduated Alumni from the program. This LEAF (Leadership and Environmental Action Forum) Retreat was particularly unique because almost every one of our students already knew at least a few members in the group from participating in previous outdoor trips. These connections made a strong foundation to strengthen and build new relationships. After playing some name games, and sharing excitement for the trip, the group was off to the coast of Muir Beach!

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Participants received a camp orientation, learned about some safety topics, and finally set up tents with the help of each other. It wasn’t long before the open pasture turned into our little temporary Earth Team community home.

The group headed to the Slide Ranch farm site for tons of education, interactive activities. There, the group participated in baby goat feeding, bread making, cheese making, pasture management, beekeeping, sensory garden exploration and more. In our after-school programs, students work on issues related to; restoration, wildlife conservation, urban forestry, air quality, watershed health, and waste reduction. Slide Ranch focuses mainly on sustainable agriculture and husbandry, a new topic for all of our participants to engage in together.

After farm activities, participants headed down to the beach where they discussed ocean safety and all the cool things to keep an eye out for when exploring. The group saw lots of exciting things, like sand dollars, sea urchins, and even a crab fight!!! One of the highlights of the entire weekend was when one of the participants shouted out “WHALE!”. This act was the beginning of an unplanned 20+ whale watching session, with TONS of whales breaching and passing along the coastline. It was indeed a once in a lifetime sight-seeing experience.

The group followed their incredible whale watching experience with the program sharing portion of the day. Each school group presented on their programs and the projects they have been working on all year. Also, each had the opportunity to share what Earth Team means to them, and how participating in this program has given them confidence and influenced their perspective on the world and their place in it. The board was ecstatic to see so many young people advocating and stewarding our environment.

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To end the day, the group enjoyed a taco night dinner and smores around the bonfire. Everyone was in such a great mood, and the atmosphere was welcoming and full of love. The group participated in a few activities including affirmations, where individuals gave shout outs and appreciated one another for the energies and kindness people brought to the day. It was a heart-warming experience that truly made everyone feel at home.

The following day went by quick. The group learned more about animal husbandry and got the chance to milk a goat! Participants took down camp and participated in reflection activities to close out the day. Interns had incredible takeaways from the weekend, making it safe to say it was quite the success.

Tremendous thank you to our interns, Earth Team staff and board members, Slide Ranch staff, and all others who were a part of making this weekend so magical.

This trip would not have been possible without the generous contribution from California Coastal Conservancy. Thank you for supporting our efforts to connect youth to our oceans. After participating on this trip over 72% of interns reported feeling a greater sense of belonging to the coast.



A Snow Experience of A Lifetime

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.53.53 AMTo kick off spring, our Outdoor Explorers heading to Tahoe National Forest for a snow-packed weekend of adventure. The trip was in partnership with the Gateway Mountain Center which provided knowledgable, friendly guides to support activities throughout the weekend.

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The trip was originally scheduled for Spring Break but had to get rescheduled due to heavy snowfall. As a result, the timing was a bit tight but we made it work! The group arrived in Tahoe around 11:30 pm on Friday night and worked hard together to lug all of our luggage up the snowy hill in a few sleds.

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The first day was spent snowshoeing around the Cabin area. This was everyone’s first-time snow-shoeing which made the experience extra special. The group learned about dressing properly for the colder weather and soon took off in search of prime-time sledding spots! Once a spot was agreed upon, the fun really picked up. Participants enjoyed tons of free-time, most of them spent it making snow angels, sledding, having snowball fights, and/or building igloos.

After everyone got all their energy out, the group settled down to learn from Gateway Mountain Center staff about Forest Ecology and the important role our forests play in our changing climate. The group learned how to identify different tree species and played a game where they had to use senses other than their sight to locate specific trees throughout the forest. After learning about Forest Ecology, the group started to explore snow science! Participants conducted mini-experiments to get a better understanding of what is actually in the snow and how that varies based off of how deep the sample snow was. It was awesome to practice some STEM learning on an Outdoor Trip.

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Downtime at the cabin was filled with card games, mafia, ping-pong tournaments and a lot of great conversation. The group was from around all over the Bay and enjoyed getting to meet one another and get closer.


The climax of the weekend was the last day, where the group headed to Donner Summit for a first time snowboarding/skiing experience. The youth got suited up with gear and equipment, participated in guided lessons, and spent the rest of the day flying (or falling) down the mountain!

Check out what our Outdoor Explorers had to say about their snow experience! 

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“This weekend was an amazing experience for me. I have gotten to do fun activities like snowshoeing and sledding and learn so much about the snow which I rarely get to experience. In particular, my favorite moment was when I got to ski down a hill for the first time and the feeling of excitement while doing it. I have found that I really enjoy snow sports and I would love to continue doing things in the snow like this. I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to experience this.” – Jada, Outdoor Explorer


“This trip has been a very fun and a great learning experience. I have never skied before in my life or experience the snow like this. We have spent 2 days, learning about forest ecosystems and sledding. I love sledding, it was very fun. Skiing was very scary at first and I still am a bit scared but I am getting the hang of it. I had fun going down the small hill and learning how to turn, falling was fun because we would all laugh. I hope to get better and I hope to come again one day.” – America, Outdoor Explorer

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“Personally, this was my first time being in the snow, and to do this with my friends and Earth Team made this experience 100 times better. This weekend we learned valuable skills such as snowshoeing, skiing, sledding and how to dress appropriately for colder conditions. This weekend we also learned about forest ecology. The sense of teamwork really made us feel much closer and it was more than I expected. This trip was so much fun” – Marco, Outdoor Explorer

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“I have had a lot of fun so far and am looking forward to going again. This was a great chance for me to branch out and meet new people and also get good at something I have never done before. By the time I leave, I will be a pro. Of course, it was fun to get out of the house but this trip is beyond what I was expecting. Id like to express my gratitude for getting people like my friends and I out here to have a new experience and learn new things.” – Jodiah, Outdoor Explorer

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“For me, this was amazing to see snow for the first time all the way to getting to experience snowboarding. The snowboarding part of this trip took it to the next level. This is way better than staying at home and playing video games. It was so fun, no matter how much or how hard I fall I always got up happy no matter how much it hurt. I have met so many kids from different schools talking to them, figuring out their different personalities, and spending the night with each other was so cool.” -Elijah, Outdoor Explorer

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“This opportunity allowed me to try new things and experience a new sense of excitement I have never felt before. I have made connections with other interns and was able to learn and enjoy our time in the snow.” – Kathleen, Outdoor Explorer

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“This was my first time skiing so arriving at Donner Ski Ranch was terrifying enough. I was nervous but the staff was really nice and helpful so getting geared up was the easy part. Getting out and actually learning to ski was extremely challenging but my instructor Trevor was incredible, he was so kind and patient with me, plus he had a great sense of humor. I will definitely try skiing again in the future with the hopes of getting better.” – Evelin, Outdoor Explorer


“This trip has allowed me to learn a new skill and has changed my life. I had so much fun snowboarding (and falling) today. It was truly a life-changing experience. This trip made it possible for me to fly down a mountain and have an amazing experience this weekend. It meant the world to me” – David, Outdoor Explorer

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“This was my first time snowboarding so I fell and flipped so much but overall I have been having a great time. I would say that everyone will have plenty of memories from this trip. Snowshoeing and snow science was also really cool. When we went snowshoeing we took sleds to ride down the mountain and we also threw a lot of snowballs. My favorite part of this trip would be when we ate smores since I have never had any before.” – Carlos, Outdoor Explorer

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“Without this trip, I would have never been able to experience something like this. Yesterday, we snow-shoed and hiked up a beautiful snowy mountain in the forest. The trees were so vibrant with the little pops of the bright green from the moss. To top it all off, we went sledding down huge mountains. We had awesome snowball fights and truly a great time playing in the snow, discovering new things, and learning about it – I know I did! I love being with this great group of people, doing something we are all so excited about. Today, I am snowboarding and man! Is it cool! It is so liberating (and scary) to just go freely down the mountain. Even with all the bumps and falls, slipping and sliding. This is one of the best things I have ever gotten the chance to do. I was looking forward to this all week and my expectations of fun adventures did not fail! This is one of the best experiences of my life!”- Asha, Outdoor Explorer

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“I got to know people from other schools and better connect with friends I already had. On top of that, I learned how to better connect with and control my body (which is a necessity for snowboarding). I had to commit to a move or plan to get down the hill which I learned while getting a couple of bumps and bruises but no pain, no gain! This trip allowed the 13 of us to bond, play, learn and relax.”– Nick, Outdoor Explorer

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“I was able to participate in our outdoor trip to Tahoe where we were able to learn new things like skiing and snowshoeing. I have been able to find a new passion. The feeling of zipping down the mountain on a snowboard is second to none and I think it is important to know that this trip played a part in letting me experience it. The outdoor activities we participated in also gave me a greater fondness for and understanding of nature. I hope we get to go on even more adventures.” – Rocky, Outdoor Explorer

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“Earth Team is all about getting outside and learning skills that we will use and enjoy for years to come. I myself really loved this trip. I loved seeing the snow and playing with it. I haven’t since I was 4 yrs old other than in movies and pictures. It was fun putting on snowshoes and hiking into the snow. During our breaks while hiking we sled, built an igloo, an had snowball fights. We built a ramp at one of the spots. I went over the ramp on the sled and went in the air which was amazing! Today, I went skiing which was hard but still a lot of fun even though I fell lots of times I enjoyed it” – Abigail, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to Gateway Mountain Center, Clair Tappaan Lodge, Donner Summit and Earth Team’s Outdoor Explorers Adult Mentors for an incredible snowy weekend! 




Building Confidence and Motivation Through a Kayaking Coastal Adventure

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To kick off spring, our Outdoor Explorers heading to Sausalito Bay for a beautiful day kayaking on the water. Participants were joined by Environmental Traveling Companion (ETC) guides and Earth Team Outdoor Adult Mentors.

Participants will all first-time kayakers, and a few of them were a bit nervous. After getting quality training and safety instruction from ETC Guides they were feeling a bit more prepared and ready to face their fears.

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Everyone was on a two-person kayak, and each couple was made up of students that attend different high schools. Having to work together to paddle was a great way for our interns to get to know one another!

As the group paddled along, guides and mentors informed the students about the surrounding area. The group learned about some of the native fauna and flora, the native history of the site and how native cultures are still active today, and the history of kayaking.

During lunch, the group stopped at a small beach for a beach clean up and team building exercises. By this time, the group was a lot more comfortable with each other and the whole kayaking experience.

Post-survey results showed that after participating on this trip…

80% of youth felt more confident in themselves

80% of youth felt a greater sense of belonging to the coastline

100% of youth felt more motivated to try new things

Thank you to ETC and our Outdoor Explorers Adult Mentors for making the trip such a wonderful experience!


A Weekend Of Women’s Empowerment – Exploring California’s Coastline

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For the first time, our Outdoor Explorers Program lead an all female-identifying overnight kayaking trip to Santa Cruz. The weekend was filled with memorable coastal experiences along the shoreline. Participants learned how to set up camp, visited a marine sanctuary, went on a nighttime beach walk, heard from park rangers, and lastly kayaked through Santa Cruz Harbor.

More than ever participants felt empowered and inspired by the group itself. With an all-female leadership team, the young ladies had mentors to look up to. Students reflected feeling empowered by seeing such strong women in leadership positions.

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Many of the participants were nervous about being around all girls, but after some time passed, they reflected that this cohort made them feel accepted, loved, valued more than they ever have felt before.

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The vibes were great throughout the trip, and the adventure and thrill of kayaking just made everything better. All of our participants were first-time sea-kayakers, and many of them were very nervous to be in an open body of water. With support from each other, every student pushed through the uncertainty and had a blast out on the water.

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This weekend was a great way for these young women to connect with the coastline, each other, adult mentors, and themselves.

Check out what they had to say about the trip! 

“I really enjoyed this trip. I experienced a bunch of firsts during this trip like the first time camping and the first time kayaking and the first time in Santa Cruz. I had so much fun and this was such an amazing group to go with. I hope I’ll get to go back sometime in the future” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

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Cece (left) and Leilana (right) enjoying beach time together.

“I enjoyed how the trip turned out. It was a very empowering experience for all of us especially since we had a group of strong females and strong female leaders. I loved the fact that we helped each other out and had fun. I really enjoyed everything that happened this trip and I would love to do it again. I’m very thankful. There is nothing I would change and my favorite part was spending time with everyone.” – Leilana, Outdoor Explorer

“Overall, I feel like this trip was an opportunity for personal growth. Being able to challenge myself and knowing I had the support of the group to do it is really what ultimately pushed me to take risks that I wouldn’t have otherwise. At first, I didn’t think having an all-girls group would mean or change much, but when we got to the kayaking place and I saw the male instructors I could feel a shift in my emotions that let me know how great the effects of being surrounded by powerful women all weekend had been. All of the volunteers/chaperones were very inviting and felt more like older wiser siblings than just supervisors. I really enjoyed this trip and will cherish the memories and friendships I formed forever.” – Gracy, Outdoor Explorer

I absolutely loved this trip! It really got me thinking about how we should really limit our trash for the ocean. I made new friends too that I absolutely love! Kayaking was just a plus it was really nice to experience kayaking in the ocean. And it was great seeing all us women do all of the “manly” things ourselves #wedontneednomen!” – Delaney, Outdoor Explorer

“I think this is a really amazing trip. I learned a lot of things that I never knew before. And also in this trip help me get over my fear of water after I felt down the water. So this is a memorable trip.” – My, Outdoor Explorer

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June (left) and My (right) posing for their beach pic!

“I enjoyed the trip a lot. I’ve learned a lot: self-care, setting up tent, team-working, communicating, and kayaking. I felt more mature after the trip. Kayaking becomes my favorite thing. The adults in the team have empowered and inspired me to become a more independent and strong woman. Thank you so much for planning and carrying out this event. It’s been a great time, and I’m looking forward to the next trip.” – June, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a lot of fun on this trip meeting and bonding with everyone. I was nerves at first to come but I’m glad I did because it has been memorable. Even though I seemed to have bad luck on this trip It was a really great experience overall.” – Isabella, Outdoor Explorer

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Allison enjoying the ocean waves! 

“I had an amazing time with everyone the volunteers were the best. This trip helps me realize that females are very powerful and could do amazing things and make everyone feel included and not be embarrassed. The vibe and trust and bonding reminded me why I go on these trips.” – Allison, Outdoor Explorer

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Guadalupe taking a stroll on the beach. 

“The kayaking trip was amazing it was a wonderful experience. I would do it again. I had an amazing day with people I knew and with the new faces I met and talked to. I also liked how we were all girls and we were helping each other out and taking care of one another. This trip was fun, and peaceful since it gave me space to think and talk to people about college and other personal stuff. Love the communication and how we trust one another! Hope to go again and learn more about kayaking!” – Guadalupe, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was an experience like no other. The ambiance was amazing being able to relax and hang out with other females. I am very appreciative towards you and our other mentors and fellow interns. It’s going to be something I’ll never forget” – Diana, Outdoor Explorer

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Leilana (left), Ahriyana (middle) and Guadalupe (right) practicing paddling and communicating with one another! 

“I really enjoyed the trip. Kayaking was easier and not as scary as I expected. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. I also hope to do it again.” – Ahriyana, Outdoor Explorer

“It was great and had a lot of fun meeting new people and hanging out there” – Arlette, Outdoor Explorer

Special thank you to Kayak Connections for providing our team with excellent instructors and all the kayaking gear we needed to get our youth out on the water! 

Shout out to our volunteers, Sadie, Andrea and Analucia for being so fabulous! You were great additions to the team and we can’t wait to have you back! 

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Volunteers Sadie (left) and Andrea (right) paddling through Santa Cruz Harbor 
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Volunteer Analucia enjoying the Santa Cruz sunshine! 


Challenge at China Camp State Park – A Mountain Biking Adventure!


On Cesar Chavez Day, a group of our outdoor explorers joined together to spend their day off school charging up mountains and souring down hills at China Camp State Park. The team was accompanied by Trips for Kids Marin, who provided incredible staff and high-quality bikes to support the ride.

The team was faced with a lot of physical challenge, matched with a lot of adrenaline and thrill. Students pushed themselves, took breaks when they know they needed it, and overall learned a lot about what they are capable of.

A total of seven high schools were represented, with participants coming from all over the East Bay Area. Students had a blast getting to know one another and reconnect with some people they have met on previous trips. Overall, the trip was amazing and we are excited to go on another one soon!

Hear from what our Outdoor Explorers had to say about the day! 


“I enjoyed this mountain biking trip very much. I had such an amazing experience of mountain biking for the first time and meeting new interns from other schools. It’s great to meet people who do the same things as me and have fun with them. Being out in nature also gave me a sense of liberty, and I got to have a thrilling ride at the same time. These trips bring excitement to me, and I left this one wanting to go back.” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer


“I learned that mountain biking is harder than it seems, but it’s very fun. I got really dirty, but I didn’t mind it felt cool like it shows we put in work. Id do this again it was fun” – William, Outdoor Explorer


“Today, I went mountain biking and met a couple of new people. It was nice getting to know everyone while we were biking in the mountains. I’ve learned lots of new things while having fun with the most amazing people. I’ve learned new biking techniques specifically for riding mountains, and I’ve learned that no matter how challenging things may get, I will always get through it. Mountain biking was definitely a challenge and something I’ve never done before, but in the end, I’ve conquered it.” – Kyla, Outdoor Explorer


“Today I had a great time mountain biking. It was my first time doing something like that, and I had so much fun. There where times where I had a hard time riding the bike up hills but I told myself that I could do anything, so I kept going until I was comfortable riding the bike again. I met so many amazing people, and I even became friends with some of them. Everyone was always supportive, and that kept me from not giving up easily when I felt like I couldn’t ride the bicycle anymore. Mountain biking was a great experience, and I would definitely do it again someday so I would like to thank everyone for everything.” – Norma, Outdoor Explorer


“Today was super fun I was able to meet new people and enjoy something that seemed terrifying at the moment. I met amazing and motivating people.” -Diana, Outdoor Explorer


“ I always figured those people zipping by on trails spraying mud on me had to be having a lot of fun. I was right.” – Rocky, Outdoor Explorer


“I really liked going on the trip because I had lots of fun and met cool people and I’d love to go on another Mountain Biking trip.” – Bradley, Outdoor Explorer


“I really enjoyed being able to make new friends and learning how to bike better. This really helped me get my mind off things, and I really enjoyed it. Thank you for letting me be able to experience this.” – Delaney, Outdoor Explorer


“I really liked this trip because I was able to see China Camp for the first time & absolutely loved it, will be coming back with Richmond Composite. Thank you for allowing me to come!” – Daphne, Outdoor Explorer


The trip was super duper fun, the people there were amazing. 10/10 would do this again.” – Jeremy, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to Trips for Kids Marin and China Camp State Park! We had a wonderful day and are so excited for future trips!



How Did Being By The Coast Make You Feel?


This past weekend, our Outdoor Explorers took to Point Reyes National Seashore for a communal coastal experience. The group enjoyed lunch, solo time, and team building activities on the beach. Pre/post survey results showed 93% of students felt an increase in their relationship with the coast and/or a strong sense of belonging to the coastline after participating on this trip.


Hear from our Outdoor Explorers on how the beach makes them feel! 

“I liked being at the beach and finding rocks. It was pretty fun being on the coast” – David, Outdoor Explorer

“Relaxed and at ease” – William, Outdoor Explorer


“It made me feel at one with nature” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer

“I felt closer to nature and good positive energy” – Julius, Outdoor Explorer

“It made me feel happy & it gave me a sense of belonging” Marianna, Outdoor Explorer

“I felt very calm and relaxed” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

“It was soothing, just staring at the ocean and hearing it” – Ashly, Outdoor Explorer

“I was very relaxed while I was sitting at the beach. I did not feel stressed and all my worries flowed away like the ocean waves. The beach waves were beautiful and peaceful” – Hillary, Outdoor Explorer


“Good, it was really relaxing” – Munachi, Outdoor Explorer

“I haven’t been to the beach in a bit so I really enjoyed it” – Katheline, Outdoor Explorer

“I liked seeing the ocean, it made me feel happy” – Jaiden, Outdoor Explorer


“It made me feel inspired” – Carson, Outdoor Explorer

“It made me feel relaxed, I wouldn’t mind doing it again.” – Ayden, Outdoor Explorer

“It was really calming” – Andrew, Outdoor Explorer

Thank you to the California State Coastal Conservancy for helping us provide coastal experiences for our youth. We and the students appreciate you immensely! 



Bonding through Challenges and Coastal Views

A35AEB38-0829-4870-B5DD-7049D0890DA4This past weekend, a team of eighteen outdoor explorers braved the rainy morning and set out on a coastal hike along Point Reyes National Seashore Association. Participants were lead by Point Reyes National Seashore Association staff Brandon and Isaac, who were extremely knowledgable about the area and great “tour guides.”


The team met up at the BART station from all over the Bay Area. Unfortunately, BART had a system-wide shut down which complicated students morning plans but together the group stayed positive and kept a solutions mindset. While staff drove to opposite sides of the bay to pick up stranded students, the group was able to play lots of icebreakers and get to know one another. We headed out a bit later than planned, but it ended up working out great. Right as we arrived at Point Reyes the clouds separated and the sun came through, welcoming us to explore our coastline.


Many of our participants experienced hiking for the very first time, with many other students paying their first visit to Point Reyes. The group participated in team-building trail games throughout the hike and slugged their way through big puddles and mud. Throughout our walk, we even got to see Tule Elk and learn about the history of conservation efforts in the area. Before no time we were on the beach breaking for lunch!


Participants had some free time on the beach, and most of them used it for solo time. After relaxing, the group joined together again for an “active” game that required students to sprint across the sand! It was a blast getting to play games together and get closer as a team.


On the way back to the vans, the students participated in a solo-hike where they were asked to reflect on their experience and what about the day they can take home with them. It was great to escape the city and the rain, and our team was sure great for the opportunity.


Upon arriving back to the van, the group was presented with yet another challenge. This one indeed took teamwork to overcome. Both of our 15-passenger vans were stuck in the mud and required all hands on deck to be pushed out. While this wasn’t ideal, it ended up being a great bonding activity, and it took no time before we were laughing about it together.

Check out what our Outdoor Explorers had to say about the day!

“I really like the Point Reyes trip, I really liked the hiking, the people there, our guides were awesome too and I had a lot of fun being there getting muddy. I found it a great opportunity to just get out there and go somewhere I’ve never been too. I plan to visit it again for the hike and all the sights to see it was great.” – Eduardo, Outdoor Explorer

“I think that this trip was a great experience and it really helped me to relax since I didn’t have to think of any of life’s stresses while I was there. It was super fun and the little games we played were fun as well. Overall I had an amazing time and am looking forward to more trips.” – Cece, Outdoor Explorer

“I enjoyed the trip very much and it was an eye-opening experience. I’m glad I got to make relationships with other Earth Team interns and meet new people who have a passion for the same things as me. Being in nature and going to the beach made me feel at one. I’m glad to have been able to go on this trip, and I am excited about the upcoming trips.” – Justin, Outdoor Explorer

“Today was a relaxing and nice day. It was nice to be away from technology and the modern way of living. I enjoyed being out in the outdoors.” – Elly, Outdoor Explorer


“I enjoyed going to the beach and finding those cool rocks. I had a lot of fun today on this trip.” – David, Outdoor Explorer

“Although it was rainy at first and when we got there the sun was coming out which made me more excited to hike. The hike up was muddy but fun!! I got to meet a lot of the other kids and it was cool to get to talk to them while on the hike. The beach was pretty, I found some cool rocks and a seashell and it was really beautiful. Walking back to the van was tiring but very fun the view was really beautiful and I got to hang out with my friends which was fun” – Kathy, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a great time today on the hike at Point Reyes. I was prepared for the worst because I brought multiple jackets and raincoats but I was happy that we ended up with pretty perfect weather. I really liked that we got to see the elk and I’m pretty sure I saw a whale tale which is pretty cool. Overall it was super fun and I have a new place on my list of favorite places to hike. Also, I got the experience of pushing a van out of the mud which I’d never done before.”  – Jaiden, Outdoor Explorer


“I thought that this trip was overall a really fun experience. It was fun to get dirty and wet from all of the huge puddles and mud. I really liked going to the beach because it was very calming. I think that I bonded more with the people on this trip. I really liked our tour guides. They were really nice and fun to talk to. The hike itself was a challenge at times especially going uphill. I liked that this trip challenged me to push myself outside of my comfort zone and have fun” – Andrew, Outdoor Explorer

“This was simultaneously the worst and best experience of my life. I enjoyed the hike because I got some exercise but it was extremely uncomfortable to have my shoes filled with water, mud, and sand. Next time I plan on having better shoes” – Kaitlin, Outdoor Explorer

“I had a really good time hiking in point Reyes today. I learned more about the natural history as well as the beauty of Point Reyes itself. While I really enjoyed speaking to new people around me from different schools, sometimes I think nature it best taken and absorbed at one’s own pace. Being in a group can be sort of challenging with multiple stops. I will definitely be returning to point Reyes as soon as I can” – Ariana, Outdoor Explorer

“The hike was a cool experience. It was way cooler being in a muddy environment, despite my shoes and socks getting soaked.” – Carson, Outdoor Explorer

“I thought this trip was pretty good, I had a good time with the games we did and appreciated all the food you bought us. Even though the whole Bart thing messed up our schedules overall this was a good experience and I look forward to my next trip” – Ayden, Outdoor Explorer

“I learned about hiking today because I finally got to do it. I met new people and talking to them was nice. The entire experience was very calming and I had fun.” – William, Outdoor Explorer

“I enjoyed the Point Reyes Hiking Trip. Despite my feet getting a couple of blisters, I really enjoyed the hike because I was able to befriend a couple of interns and experience hiking for the first time. I felt at peace and relaxed, especially while I was at the beach. I didn’t have any worried thoughts.” – Hillary, Outdoor Explorer


“I wish I would have experienced hiking in the rain but it was fun. I enjoyed going back to Point Reyes” – Ashly, Outdoor Explorer

“The trip was unexpectedly fun. I had a great time bonding with my friends. My favorite part of the trip was the bonding game we played while walking up the hill. I enjoyed this game because it allowed me to connect with people that I did not know and people from my school whom I know but do not talk to. Overall, the trip was great, and I want to sign up for the Tahoe Trip.” – Munachi, Outdoor Explorer


“Overall the hiking was really an amazing experience. I was able to establish closer relationships with my friends and establish new acquaintances with the other fellow interns from other schools. Also, I was able to feel a new sense of energy when I was exposed to nature. It definitely fun and I enjoyed the food that was provided. Thank you so much!” – Julius

“I had a very nice, relaxing and bonding time, I made connections and look forward to the next trip” – Marianna, Outdoor Explorer




An Adventure Along the Coastline

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A group of ten Outdoor Explorers spent their president’s day week backpacking along Point Reyes National Seashore. The group spent four days on trails overlooking breathtaking ocean views, encountering wildlife of all sorts!

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Each day, individuals had leadership roles including navigation, cooking, scrubbies, journalist, and one of the best of all, NATURALIST! This individual was in charge of calling out all the beauty of the surrounding area, bringing attention to the diversity and uniqueness of the coastal habitat. Here are just a few of the critters we saw along the trail.

One of the best parts of the trip was when the group set up camp in time to go explore the beach during sunset. Participants climbed through rocks, jumped over tributaries, searched for seashells and crabs, and much more. Through some tide exploration, the group was able to see things they have never seen before! This included sea urchins, sea stars, giant crabs, and more.

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Here are what a few of our participants had to say about their experience with the coast! 

“Backpacking by the coast made me feel at home like I belonged there.” – Outdoor Explorer

“I was so relaxed when I saw the coast, I never get to see it in person” – Outdoor Explorer

“Being by the coast made me feel safe, calm, and energized. It made me want to appreciate it more and share it with others.” – Outdoor Explorer

“Visiting the beach made me feel REALLY good. I felt so calm, relaxed and happy. Like a little kid again” – Outdoor Explorer

“Being by the coast made me feel really peaceful and it made me appreciate the natural things in life more.” – Outdoor Explorer

100% of participants reported feeling a greater sense of belonging to the coast after this backpacking trip.

Thank you Coastal Conservancy for your generous partnership that provides our youth the opportunity to have life-changing experiences along California’s coastline.


Our Youth Reflect on their Backpacking Experience!

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A group of ten of our Outdoor Explorers spent their President’s Week backpacking Point Reyes National Park. The students hiked nearly 20 miles throughout the four-day trip. Collectively, the team shared struggles and celebration, making for a unique and meaningful experience.

Hear from what our Outdoor Explorers took away from the experience!

“I really enjoyed this trip a lot. It challenges me in more ways than one, but it also made me think a lot and reflect on some of the choices that I’ve made and some of the things I do. It made me consider the person I am as a whole and really really think about the parts that frustrate me. I’m really glad I went because I was able to learn a lot about myself. I feel like I overcame some mental stuff I wasn’t even aware I was dealing with. It was really special. Also, I made a ton of awesome friends and bonded closer with people I already knew. I feel lucky” – Outdoor Explorer

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“ In the beginning, I was really scared and unsure of how the trip would go and whether I’d get close to my peers and be quiet. However, as time went by, I got to know everyone, and I was really glad to see everyone getting along and being so welcoming and easy to talk to. The experience was great, and I will miss those four days, I loved seeing all the views, and though the path and trails to get to our campsites were extremely challenging, it was all worth it when we see the views and settle down to talk. The long hard trail was also worth it because it was on those trails where we got to know each other more and become better friends. It was also in those trails where we learned about ourselves more. As for me I learned how to be more patient and considerate to others. I also learned how to open up and learn how to make tents or tarps and become a better camper. Overall, this trip has taught me a lot and I Will take it with me.” – Outdoor Explorer

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“I came to this trip not knowing what to expect. I was anxious; I couldn’t help it. I come here trying to find what needs to be found. The hikes the walks even the hardships were worth it. We sit there finally getting along and reflecting on what happened and coming together. The day I sat there at the ocean watching the sunset I knew I found what I was looking for. Thank you.. Earth Team for this experience.” – Outdoor Explorer

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“I think the trip was amazing. It taught me that I have many more things to see/do and it taught me more about myself, thank you so much for giving me the chance to do this if I didn’t do it with y ‘all I don’t think I’d ever do it, it was great, thank you” – Outdoor Explorer

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“I really enjoy the trip. At first, I was really nervous about it since I barely knew anyone who was going, but after getting to know everyone, I felt better. Everyone was just so happy and positive; it just makes you feel great. Being with everyone walking and talking seeing the beauty of Point Reyes was such a positive experience. Even if one of us was down, we bring it right back up. I’m just so thankful for everyone that was there to be there.” – Outdoor Explorer

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“This trip taught me that I could overcome obstacles with the help of people. I am scared that I can’t do everything by myself. However, I don’t know how to ask for help sometimes. I feel like I am weak if I can’t support myself. I know I won’t always know what to do and that I will have to ask for help because it can be the difference between success and failure.” – Outdoor Explorer

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“Backpacking with my peers was so much fun! Everyone was so encouraging, and that helped me get through the hard times during the trip. I didn’t like how we were rushed, but I think that I made the best out of the situation and that I was patient. I also loved the views. Like I said before the view and feeling you get once you reach the top is a feeling ill never get tired of.” – Outdoor Explorer

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“Well, this trip was one of the best trips I’ve had in a VERY long time. The peace & quiet was the best, gearing the waves crash and coyotes howl was AWESOME. Thank you so much for this experience; it will for sure do something like this in the future and try to bring more people into it.” – Outdoor Explorer

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“The trip overall was amazing, and I loved the new experience I had. The people were so open and easy to talk to, and the food was amazing. The instructors were strict, but I know it was with good intention. Keep these experiences open for everyone else please!” – Outdoor Explorer

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“This trip was one of the best backpacking trips I’ve gone on so far. With meeting people from different schools and doing crazy 8 mile hikes. Thank you for coming and having fun.” – Outdoor Explorer

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Thank you to Outward Bound for providing great expertise and support on our journey!