Volcano Outdoor School
Volcano Outdoor School
Explore the mountain by day and by night with the Mount St. Helens Institute’s Volcano Outdoor School (formerly called Volcano After Dark). Get face to face with geologic forces and discover the amazing stories of plant and animal life in the heart of the blast zone. Our hands-on and outdoor activities will offer foundational knowledge, team building, interactive adventures and guided inquiry.
Volcano Outdoor School immerses youth groups in the volcanic world outside. MSHI provides 12 hours of instruction, lodging at the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center at Coldwater, dinner, breakfast and snacks. Choose just one option below or stay for three nights. Lessons are aligned with National Science Standards and MSHI will adapt schedules and activities to meet your goals.
Recipe for a Volcano – Basic Geology
In this hands-on program youth will learn the foundations of basic volcanic geology – plate tectonics, volcanic rocks and lava, the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, and on a hike youth will use clues from the landscape to solve the puzzle of the eruption and to discover how life has rebounded since 1980.
Landslides, Lahars and Tephra, oh my! – Advanced Geology
This inquiry-based program is designed for students who already understand the fundamentals of plate tectonics and volcano formation. With this background, students will use mapping skills to explore the sequence of events of the 1980 eruption. Hands-on activities will help students understand each event, why it happened and what it did to the landscape. Volcanic events include the massive landslide that formed the hummocks and new lakes, the lateral blast that toppled trees, the pyroclastic flows of hot gas and pumice, the lahar (mudflow) and its downstream effects and the ash plume that traveled the globe.
Life in the Blast – Biology
As young scientific researchers, students will discover the 1980 eruption by looking at how life has returned to this very harsh landscape. Through activities on adaptation, succession and ecology, students will learn which organisms survived and which colonized, and how populations have boomed and busted in this on-going balancing act. Then students will get an opportunity to either research life in a newly formed lake or the returning forest on Coldwater Ridge. This program is also designed for students who already understand the fundamental concepts of plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions.
$60 per youth per night, which includes:
dinner, evening snack, breakfast
12 hours of educational programming
Admission to the Johnston Ridge Observatory and Mount St. Helens movie
$30 per adult per night, $60 per adult above the required 1 to 5 student to chaperone ratio
Volcano After Dark is a shorter 2 hour evening program for groups who are staying at the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater. Group leader and MSHI staff will select an interactive activity from our grab-bag of possibilities.
$15 per youth which includes lodging and a 2 hour evening program. Groups must provide their own food! Cost per adult $8.
Typical Schedule for Volcano Outdoor School
2:00pm Arrival and Orientation
2:30pm Outdoor Activities
4:00pm Indoor Hands-on Activities
5:00pm Free Time
6:30pm Indoor Hands-on Activities
8:30am Field Adventure – hike, field study sites or Coldwater Lake
* Groups that stay for more than 1 day will have lunch and 2 hours additional field study time.
Visit Johnston Ridge Observatory at the beginning or ending of your stay. See Teacher’s Corner for more information. It is required for school groups to register on Teacher’s Corner to visit Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Volcano Oudoor School is available from May-October upon request. A minimum of 1 adult chaperone for every 5 youth is required. The chaperones are responsible for the supervision of the group. Volcano Outdoor School activities are aligned to National Science Standards and are not appropriate for youth under eight years of age.
How To Register for Volcano Outdoor School
Registration for 2014 Volcano Outdoor School is open!