Submitted by Orcas Island Forest School Board of Directors
After 3 years of serving children and families, Orcas Island Forest School has decided not to reopen in the fall of 2019. The Board of Directors feels that the saplings planted by our school have come to fruition through other programs and we want to support the collective momentum of providing accessible, nature-based education for Orcas children. The school is, therefore, creating a fund that supports nature-based education through the Orcas Island Community Foundation with the remaining assets. The fund will be available through OICF to local endeavors that are looking to expand upon and/or introduce creative and collaborative approaches to getting Orcas Island children into nature.
With our school closing, we wanted to let you know about some great nature-based education opportunities for Orcas Island children:
Kaleidoscope pre-school intends to extend their programming to offer full-day outdoor preschool education in Fall 2019 through the Outdoor Preschool Pilot Program. Funding assistance available for families that qualify. Please call 360-376-2484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
Kimberly Worthington, former OIFS teacher, is offering “Sprig: Nature Immersion”, a forest playgroup and summer camps. For more information, visit www.sprignatureimmersion.com or contact Kimberly Worthington at email@example.com
The Orcas Island Elementary School’s “Wednesday in the Woods” program makes it possible for all kindergarten students to spend 4 hours in the woods at Camp Orkila every Wednesday. This is in addition to their elementary-wide Farm to Classroom program.
Earthways Nature Education is currently offering weekend programs on Orcas, and will have camps through the Salmonberry School this summer. For more info visit: https://www.earthwaysnature.org/.
We’d like to thank our staff, the community, and parents for all their support. Orcas Island Forest School is excited to see the diverse range of local efforts that support nature-based education and we invite community members to engage with and support these programs.