Parent / Student Resources
Frequently Asked Student Questions
Is there poison oak at Coloma Outdoor Discovery School?
The hiking trails in the state park are the only place where a student might find poison oak. For this reason, we require that students hike in long pants. As part of the outdoor education, students will learn about both helpful and harmful plants along the trail.
Note: Only participants of the 3-Day California Gold Rush Adventure and 3-Day Eco-Science Exploration hike on trails where poison oak may be present.
Will I find REAL gold?
They don’t call it California Gold Country for nothing… There is real gold in that pay dirt, but it's up to you to find it! We'll give you the gold vial... good luck!
Is there any free time?
Yes! Anywhere on the schedule you see the words "free time," students will have many options such as: gold panning, playground (basketball or volleyball, jump ropes, hula-hoops), or quiet games (cards, checkers).
Will I see wild animals?
Maybe. We share our campus with many foothill critters: deer, squirrels, raccoons, frogs, foxes, snakes and hawks just to name a few. Your best chance to see wildlife is on a quiet walk.
Frequently Asked Parent Questions:
Will my child be well-supervised?
The safety and well-being of your child is our primary concern. All students are supervised on a 24-hour basis by either the outdoor education staff, classroom teachers, and/or trained Parent Counselors from your school. This allows the adult/student ratio to be at least 1:5 during the day and 1:10 at night. All counselors and teachers will be oriented to emergency policy and procedures upon arrival at Coloma Outdoor Discovery School.
What is the weather like at Coloma Outdoor Discovery School?
The weather in the Sierra foothills is variable! During the winter months, expect chilly weather during the day and to bundle up under the stars during our evening program(s). Be prepared for anything in early spring... but by May we are usually dipping our bandannas in cold water! We suggest layering clothing to accommodate cool mornings and warmer afternoons and always bring your rain gear.
What happens if it rains while my child is at Coloma Outdoor Discovery School?
We are an OUTDOOR education center and try to conduct almost every part of our program, even if it rains. Our naturalists are primed to keep your child as comfortable as possible in covered areas during rain or shine. Please come prepared to be outside in the rain if you are traveling to Coloma in the months of: October, November, December, January, February, March or April.
May I contact my child while he/she is at Coloma Outdoor Discovery School?
The best way to communicate with students in the Gold Rush Program is by writing! Many teachers hand out letters from home. We ask parents to prepare an 1849 letter for their "greenhorn" and give it to their classroom teacher at least one week prior to the departure date. Please do not mail letters to students as they regularly arrive after your child has departed. Please do not email letters for students. Our e-mail and fax are for office use only. In case of emergency between the hours of 4:30pm and 9am please call our visiting teacher line: 530-957-6074.
Will my child's visit to Coloma Outdoor Discovery School be shared with other schools?
Frequently, more than one school attends the outdoor education center at once. In these cases, schools will remain independent for the small learning groups and for sleeping accommodations. Schools will be integrated during meals, recreation periods, and the evening program. We encourage the formation of new friendships between schools, and teachers sometimes facilitate this process by having students write "pen-pal" letters ahead of time.
How can my child contact you with a picture or letter describing their environment action after returning home?
Your child may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org documenting their environment action with a letter or picture. Your child may also send a letter to their naturalist. Please send letters to PO Box 484, Coloma, CA 95613 and be sure your child includes a return address so we can return his or her kindness with a photographic THANK YOU!
What should my child pack for rain protection?
We recommend a waterproof (not just water resistant) rain jacket or poncho. If rain is in the forecast, bring 2 or 3 additional pairs of socks and 1 additional pair of shoes. If you are lucky enough to own a pair of waterproof pants and footwear that will also keep your child comfortable. Please note slip-on rain boots or Wellies are great for wearing around campus but won't serve participants well on long day of walking.
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