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: Outdoor School :

Glen Helen Outdoor School provides science-based, experiential learning in the outdoors while fostering respect for the natural environment and empowering people to act in its interest.

Designed for students in grades four through six, Glen Helen provides authentic learning aligned with Ohio Academic Content Standards.

Our goal is to create a educational experience at Glen Helen that meets the needs of teachers and students by providing high-quality instruction in the 1,000 acre outdoor classroom of Glen Helen Nature Preserve

At Glen Helen, students actually have the opportunity to see in real-life the concepts that they are learning about in the classroom.

For example, students learn about their locals food webs with the assistance of a live bird of prey.

Students learn about adaptations of local wildlife by actually interacting with those animals

Students learn about fossils and geologic time by exploring the fossiliferous limestone cliffs and ridges of Glen Helen.

Students learn about energy conservation by examining our solar thermal panels and making energy conservation pledges.

In addition to teaching concepts, Glen Helen helps students develop science skills that are not as easily taught in the classroom.

We engage students by asking them to perform investigations

We tap into higher order thinking, as we nurture critical thinking and problem solving skills.

We take students through the process of scientific study and encourage inquiry.

We also make time for students to make their own observations and encourage students to develop their own questions about the natural world.

The Glen Helen Outdoor School curriculum is not limited to science, as we also offer cultural history programs that again tie into the state standards.

Language arts is also part of our program and is embedded throughout the curriculum.

An important aspect of Outdoor School is the emphasis on teamwork and cooperation.

Students are engaged in cooperative activities that encourages trust in their peers and nurtures communication skills.

Teamwork within everything we do at the Glen. Students work together with their groups to collect weather data at our weather station, and then make a weather report to their classmates.

Students also participate as a team in dining hall set-up and clean-up.

Small group, team-oriented interaction is an emphasis for the Outdoor School program.

For the duration of the visit, students are in the same trail group with a maximum of twelve other students.

Each day students go into the nature preserve with their Naturalist-teacher to explore, learn, and discover through explorations of the native ecosystems.

Our Naturalists are the best! They are truly the life-force of the Outdoor School program.

Chosen for their content knowledge, experience working with children, and passion for the environment, the Naturalists teach and inspire students by using the Glen as their classroom

At night, students and teachers sleep comfortably and safely in one of our three cabins.

Dorms are split by gender, and teachers supervise students during dorm times and overnight.

Three hot meals are served in our Lodge at eight, noon, and six each day

Students eat kid-friendly meals served family-style.

Students have a healthy snack at 3:30 each day after their afternoon field explorations

Fun programs are planned for the evening time, such as skits and songs performed by our Naturalist staff.

On Thursday nights we offer the much anticipated Night Hike, where students explore the nocturnal and learn about its inhabitants.

The standard Outdoor School program is a 4-day experience, where students arrive on Tuesday and depart on Friday, with the possibility of accommodating other program lengths.

Please explore this web site for more information about the Outdoor School program!


The Glen Helen experience is a field trip your students will always remember. Our Outdoor School program immerses students of all ages in the natural world, allowing them to explore, discover, and develop an appreciation for nature.

Primarily serving grades 4-7, but open to any, students and their teachers come to the Glen for a three or four day experience. The Outdoor School curriculum closely corresponds to Ohio Academic Content Standards to support and complement teacher classroom instruction in Science, Social Studies, Math, and Language Arts. 

Each day, trail groups venture into the 1,000 acre outdoor classroom with their Naturalists, where students learn about the environment, and about how to protect it through hands-on teaching methods. During their time in the Glen, students will:

Search for macroinvertebrates in streams to determine water health. 

Explore native ecosystems to connect with their natural environment.

Observe animal adaptations first hand with our reptile animal ambassadors.

Discover the nocturnal world, hiking through the Glen after sunset.

Experience the Ohio frontier in the late 1700s, meeting people such as Betty Zane and Tecumseh.

Learn about our resident owls, hawks, eagles, and vultures at the nearby Raptor Center.

Work together to meet wasted food goals in the dining hall.

Our emphasis on cooperation and teamwork transfers seamlessly back to the classroom; students leave the Glen more tolerant and trusting of their classmates, and more willing to work together. For a closer look at the Outdoor Education Center and our academic Outdoor School program, meet the Outdoor Education staff, and see what teachers, students, and parents have to say about the Glen Helen experience!





1. Please contact Janene Giuseffi, Outdoor Education Center Director, at (937)767-7648 or jgiuseffi@glenhelen.org with the name of your school, grade level, group size, and potential dates.

2. Janene will work with you to find appropriate dates. Programming is available from early September to late December, and from late January to late May. Outdoor School seasons are scheduled about 1+ year out. Space may remain available for the upcoming seasons, but is likely very limited, so please contact us to inquire about availability.

3.Once your session is scheduled you will receive a contract to complete. Once you receive the contract, please make sure all information is correct, sign and return the contract within two weeks. Your reservation will be considered final after paperwork is received. Billing occurs after the program.

4. You will receive a planning packet in August. The packet includes everything needed to plan and coordinate a successful Outdoor School experience. Our Program Coordinator, Kelsey Mazur, works with teachers, administrative staff, and Naturalist Interns to coordinate the logistics and successful implementation of your Outdoor School experience. About 4 weeks prior to your visit, you'll be contacted by Kelsey for the final details and preparations, including your lesson requests, final numbers, and any relevent dietary or medical concerns.

Please note that Outdoor School scheduling begins early! 

If you'd like to be included in the registration process for the 2015-2016 school year, beginning in August 2014, please contact Janene Giuseffi at (937)767-7648 or jgiuseffi@glenhelen.org.