Welcome 3rd Annual tHInK outsidE

As we passed on, it seemed those scenes of visionary enchantment would never have an end.
~from the journal of Meriwether Lewis


3rd annual tHInK outsidE workshop begins tomorrow!

The last couple of years, I have had the pleasure to teach a 10 week course about the Pacific Crest Trail for students 6th-8th grades. Students explored a variety of topics using technology, field trips, and media focusing on: navigation, survival, gear, trail maintenance, environment, physical preparation, and food. During the course, students used a companion website, thinkoutsideresources.wordpress.com I created just for students and teachers to experience, learn, and teach about thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

The students even experienced guest speakers and conducted interviews with noteworthy long distance hikers: Monkey and Mama Bear, Sunshine and Balls, Wired, and Swami. Quite the line up, right?

*NOTE*  If you are a long distance hiker, naturalist, or would like to share your outdoor expertise, I am searching for this year’s guest stars. Simply email me. I will get right back to you. 

2015 tHiNk outsidE’s curriculum is changing up, so that some of the students that attended the course last year are able to take part this year. I have 30 students, grades 5th-8th ready to hit the outdoors starting tomorrow. This year, the kids will be going on weekly local hikes and learning outdoor nature skills such as: being a great observer, animal tracking, knot tying, bird identification, poisonous plants, recording information in a nature journal, and observing Leave No Trace Principles.

Below is an article featured in the August issue of Bakersfield Life magazine. The article’s focus is the PCT in Kern County and a bit about myself teaching the kids. It came out while I was hiking this summer and thought now is a great time to share.

Click on the clip below to access original article.

BakersfieldLife Magazine Featuring the PCT and tHInK outsidE
BakersfieldLife Magazine – Friday, Jul 25 2014 – Featuring the PCT and tHInK outsidE


  1. Christy, are you and Early Childhood Educator by training and profession? What a cool programme!

    • I am an elementary school teacher and have been lucky to combine my passions and education. It is fun to see the growth in the students. Yesterday we focused on observation skills that is so important for safety and enjoyment in the outdoors. The kids are keeping an outdoor journal along with the course.

  2. That is such a wonderful program that you started , Christy . I love the picture of the kids and the PCT trail sign . They are beginning wanderers! Some will become life long wanderers and will find wandering a necessity for happiness like we all do!
    Very creative , my friend !!!

  3. After reading about your tHInK outsidE class a few years ago, I was inspired to begin teaching an outdoor education curriculum for a small homeschool co-op my family is a part of. We meet for monthly hikes through the year and are covering many of the topics you mentioned in this post, including addressing a different Leave No Trace principle each month. We’re preparing for a 16-mile overnight trek in March on a section of the Florida Trail near our home. The students (and their parents!) are excited. It’s not the PCT (I grew up in Northern Ca.) but we’re getting outside and everyone is so eager to learn. Thanks for sharing your passion with us!

    • Lynda, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I just love how you say the kids are eager to learn. 16 miles…that is big and courageous. I am impressed. I have thought of organizing an overnight camping trip with day hikes, but haven’t had the courage. You just might have sparked an interest. Best to you. Happy trails with your students.

      • Christy, Thankfully, our homeschool group is very small and includes the parents, so that should make it a bit easier. And remember, we’ll be on the FT which is FLAT all the way. Ha Ha! Of course, not everyone has backpacking gear, so I’m arranging for a vehicle to meet us at the campsite (there’s dirt road access) with a few tents, etc; so basically it’s two 8-mile day hikes on flat terrain strung together. I continue to be inspired and educated by your posts and your teaching. keep up the great work!

  4. I did a “Study of the Sierra Nevada’s” course in college back in the late 80s and it is still one of the only courses I remember enjoying so much and where I learned what Liken and the California condor were and how at that time it was very near extinction (not so anymore thank God). So I think it is awesome that you want to share your love of the Sierra’s and the outdoors with these young ones. This will set them up for a love of the outdoors that relatively few experience. Kudos to you Christy!

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