Immersion in Nature

We believe that the human mind responds deeply to the rich, interconnected, patterned complexity of the natural world. Frequent and sustained immersions in nature nourish the learning mind in profound ways. Thus, Chrysalis students spend a significant amount of time outdoors - rain or shine - on weekly field studies, field trips and camping trips, putting their classroom learning into action and experiencing the rich natural history of our region. 

Ultimately, by the time a Chrysalis student graduates from 8th grade, we want them to:

  • Feel at home in nature.
  • Have a deep conceptual understanding of scientific ideas that are age-appropriately developed through field experience (e.g. watershed, life cycles, seasons, lunar cycle, etc.).
  • Know through abundant experience that one can make sense of the natural world through observation, analysis, and experiment.
  • Be a systems thinker.
  • Possess an ethics of stewardship.
  • Have had similar encounters with other habitats beyond the Chrysalis campus so that they recognize similarities and differences.

Field work is a central part of our curriculum. Weekly field studies on campus and at a variety of locations throughout Shasta County give students a chance to apply what they have learned. During this time, students may be performing bio-assessments of rivers and streams, tracking migrations, monitoring animal populations, studying ecosystems, bird watching, experimenting with solar energy, classifying plants and insects, assisting with habitat restoration or just sitting quietly and making observations of their environment.

Twice a year, the whole Chrysalis family goes camping to fully immerse ourselves in nature for a few days. Recent trips have taken us to Mount Shasta, Mount Lassen, Whiskeytown, the Redwood Coast, Yosemite, Lava Beds National Monument, Monterey Bay, and Point Reyes. On our trips, teachers led excursions for famiies to hike, explore, study and experience the many natural wonders in our region. Moreover, these camping trips provide unequalled community bonding time as we cook together in the camp kitchen, eat together around the same table, sing together around the campfire, and make unforgettable memories together under the trees and stars.

Once a year, the whole school (including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles) goes rafting on the Sacramento River. It’s a wonderful way for us to start the year, have an adventure, and bring our community together. Seeing your community from the perspective of a raft in the middle of the Sacramento River changes the way kids and adults interact with the river and changes how we see our place in this world.