Foothill Horizons Launches Virtual Outdoor School


For Immediate Release – May 1, 2020

Contacts:        Jessica Hewitt, Principal, 209-532-6673 (office), 209-694-9064 (cell)

                        Cynthia Fenech, Communications Director, 238-1704 (office) 499-0947 (cell)

                        Judy Boring, Public Information Officer, 238-1709


Experience Foothill Horizons Outdoor School Virtually

              With schools and programs like Foothill Horizons Outdoor School closed and stay-at-home orders in place, teachers are working hard to create distance-learning content for their classes.  Many parents are juggling childcare and working from home while trying to navigate homeschooling their children, and some students are missing once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as Foothill Horizons 6th Grade Outdoor Education.

            To help teachers, parents, and students enjoy some of the great experiences, Foothill Horizons staff has launched “Virtual Outdoor School” complete with videos, activities, lessons, and more, to engage students in science and connect them to nature right from their own homes.

            “If kids can’t come to us, we will bring Foothill to them in their homes!” said Principal Jessica Hewitt. “We have 143 acres to share, and engaged well-trained educators ready to teach on Facebook, Instagram, Zoom or YouTube.”

            The Foothill Horizons Virtual Outdoor School includes nature challenges on Facebook, guest naturalist teachers in virtual classroom, short educational videos on YouTube such as “Seed Dispersal: Allison Gets Attacked by Sticky Plants” or “SQUIRREL! Citizen Science with our Favorite Animals!”

            “It was awesome to see the virtual outdoor education work trickling into my Google classroom,” said teacher Rebecca Teshin. “I so wish my students and I were there!”

            Foothill Horizons staff members are preparing many of the lessons and activities, and they welcome ideas for future lessons via Facebook. Content is being posted regularly to Foothill’s website and social media sites. Check out some of the following links: 

Short Educational Videos: (2-5 minute videos with the naturalists you know.) Staff highlight a natural phenomenon and prompt students to think. Some examples include:

Erosion: Will Margaret Fit between Two Boulders? 

CSI Foothill Horizons: Who Did It? 

SQUIRREL! Citizen Science with our Favorite Animals! 

Earth Day: Where is the Trail?

Seed Dispersal 2: Plants Stealing a Free Ride


Shout Outs to Schools—A short “We miss you message” with a message about what is happening at Foothill Horizons.




Photos, Nature ID, Nature Mysteries -



            Operated by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Foothill Horizons is an overnight facility located just beyond Sonora in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Last year, more than 9,000 students visited for either a summer camp experience or a three to five day sixth grade outdoor education experience.

Date Published: 
Tuesday, May 5, 2020