Outside, that is! SnowSchool is an unforgettable winter adventure that combines hands-on science education with snowshoe-powered outdoor exploration. With 28,000 annual participants at 45 sites across the U.S., SnowSchool is a hit with teachers and students!
News & Events
Our network of independent winter education sites has recently expanded to include five additional SnowSchool locations: Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah NY, Fairhill Nature Center in Elkton MD, Cottonwood Canyons Foundation in Salt Lake City UT, Duluth Area YMCA in Duluth MN and Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing MI. Find information about all of the sites in our SnowSchool network below!
12/15/2014 SnowSchool needs your outdated beacons! The SnowSchool program is designed to introduce underserved K-12 students to the wonders of winter. We need your retired beacons to help develop a portion of our science curriculum for middle/high school science students. These beacons will never be used in avalanche terrain nor part of any backcountry expedition. In their retirement they will be used in a very short but fun awareness building activity (think Easter-egg hunt) around the Nordic Lodge at Bogus Basin SnowSchool. The objective of this experience is to illustrate a day in the life of a snow scientist. BCA Tracker beacons are ideal but any beacons are helpful. Donations are tax deductible!
Mail beacons to-
Winter Wildlands Alliance SnowSchool
910 Main Street, Suite 235
Boise, Idaho 83702
5/30/2014 SnowSchool End of Season Update! As WWA does at the end of every SnowSchool season, we’ve nearly completed our survey of SnowSchool sites to measure how many participants came through the program this winter. With surveys from most of our major sites in, we estimate that SnowSchool engaged about 28,500 participants across 45 active sites, with 50% of the students qualifying as underserved and 60% of the of kids never having been on snowshoes before! Thanks to all the educators around the country who made this possible!
4/2/2014 SnowSchool Sites Collaborate to Develop New Winter Education Activities! This winter and spring SnowSchool sites across the nation are sharing their favorite outdoor winter education activities with one another. Whether its a lesson plan that explores subnivean ecosystems, a game that helps teach kids the different types of snowflakes, or a new technique for building igloos, SnowSchool educators are sharing their best educational tips with one another. The result will be better national education program that engages 28,000 students annually. To find out how to participate contact Kerry McClay at firstname.lastname@example.org
3/10/2014 SnowSchool develops new program for secondary science students! During the winter of 2014 Winter Wildlands Alliance worked with the Boise State University Geosciences Department and the National Flagship SnowSchool Site to develop, implement and evaluate a new snow science curriculum for middle school and high school students. WWA is hard at work documenting this success and translating it into a format that SnowSchool sites across the country can use to serve local middle and high school students. Expect this new resource to be ready by the spring of 2014! Read more.
Find all the most current SnowSchool program updates on Facebook!
Find a SnowSchool Site Near You
SnowSchool sites are literally all over the map! You’ll find SnowSchool sites in national forests, at Nordic ski areas, regional parks, nature centers and preserves, colleges, universities, and in some of the nation's most spectacular national parks. SnowSchool sites are run by professional educators, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service rangers and interpreters, volunteers, interns and college students. SnowSchool sites are as diverse as the energetic, creative, and talented people who run their programs.
Menu by State (click on the links below to visit each SnowSchool site’s website or contact them via email.)
- Discovery Southeast, Juneau AK; Shawn Eisele, email@example.com
- Winter Discovery (Tahoe XC and Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships), Tahoe City CA: Ashley Phillips, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Big Bear Discovery Center, Big Bear CA: Meredith Brandon, mbrandon@mountainsfoundation.
- Heavenly Winter Trek Express, South Lake Tahoe CA: Megan Dee, email@example.com / Jean Norman, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mt Shasta Nordic, Mt Shasta CA: Justi Hansen, email@example.com
- Bay Area Wilderness Training, Oakland CA: Aaron Gilbert, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen CO: Arin Trook, email@example.com
- Durango Nature Studies, Durango CO: Klancy Nixon, klancy@durangonaturestudies.
- Roaring Fork Conservancy, Basalt CO: Sarah Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Basalt CO: Jared McDaniel, email@example.com
- Yampatika, Steamboat CO: Morgan Moss, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center, Nederland CO: Jill Dreves, email@example.com
- Clear Creek Ranger District & Arapaho National Forest, in collaboration with Friends of Mount Evans & Lost Creek Wilderness: Idaho Springs, CO: Jeremiah Hyslop, firstname.lastname@example.org
- San Juan Mountain Association, Durango CO: Gabi Morey, email@example.com
- Bogus Basin SnowSchool, Boise ID: Ilyse Sakamoto,firstname.lastname@example.org
- Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education, Schweitzer Mountain ID, Lookout Pass ID: Dennison Webb, email@example.com
- Craters of the Moon National Monument, Arco ID: ted_Stout@nps.gov
- Camp Perkins, Ketchum ID: Tracy Mueller, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Environmental Resource Center, Ketchum ID: Hadley Debree, email@example.com
- Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Stanley ID: Susan Kranz, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Morton Arboretum, Lisle IL: email@example.com
- Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Boiling Brook IL: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spring Brook Nature Center, Itasca IL: Chris@itascaparkdistrict.com
- Evanston Ecology Center, Evanston IL: Matt Poole, email@example.com
- Fairhill Nature Center, Elkton MD: Guylaine Thomas, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Math & Environmental Education, Houghton MI: Erica Thompson email@example.com
- Clear Lake Education Center, Escanaba MI: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Little Traverse Conservancy, Harbor Springs MI: Melissa Hansen, email@example.com.
- The Willows Ecology Center @ The Chatfield School, Lapeer MI
- West MI Academy of Environmental Science, Walker MI: Shawn Wessell, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Woldumar Nature Center, Lansing MI: Kevin Wernet, email@example.com
- Long Lake Conservation Center, Palisade MN: Ryan Perish, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Agassiz Environmental Learning Center, Fertile MN: email@example.com
- Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield MN: Karen Shragg, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Duluth YMCA (K.E.Y. Zone Program), Duluth MN: Brad Little, email@example.com
- Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley MN: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Montana Discovery, Helena MT: Samsara Chapman, email@example.com
- Flathead National Forest, Whitefish MT: Teresa Wenum, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Glacier National Park, West Glacier MT: Laura Law, email@example.com
- Swan Ecosystem Center, Condon MT: Jill Jolly, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Glacier Institute, Kalispell MT: Joyce Baltz, email@example.com
- Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education, Turner Mountain / Flatiron Mountain MT : Dennison Webb, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Great Basin Institute, Reno NV: Gwen Bourne, email@example.com
- Beaver Brook Association, Hollis NH: Celeste Barr, firstname.lastname@example.org
- White Mountain National Forest, Plymouth NH: Jim Sacchetti, email@example.com
- Pajarito Environmental Education, Los Alamos NM: Siobhan Niklass0n, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Discover Your Forest, Bend OR: Karen Gentry, email@example.com
- Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake OR: Tammy Coleman, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Harmony Home Nature Camp, Halfway OR: Ruai Gregory, email@example.com
- Educational Recreational Adventures, Portland OR: Jeff Gottfried, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Swaner EcoCenter Winter Field Trips, Park City UT: Katherine Veeder, email@example.com
- Four Corners School of Outdoor Education, Monticello UT: Janet Ross, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stokes Nature Center, Midway UT: Ru Mahoney, email@example.com
- Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, Salt Lake City UT: Jessie Walthers, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mt Baker Ski Area, WA: Kerry Hermann, email@example.com
- Mountain Rainier National Park, Ashford WA: Brandi Stewart, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Olympic National Park (Hurricane Ridge), Port Angeles WA: Janis Burger, email@example.com
- Treehaven Center, Tomahawk WI: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Navarino Nature Center, Schiocton WI: Tim Ewing, email@example.com
- Cable Natural History Museum, Cable WI: Katie Connolly, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fairview Elementary School Forest, Krakow WI: Johnathan Wood, email@example.com
- Justin Trails / Lakeview Montessori, Sparta WI: Dawn Justin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Become a SnowSchool Site
As a SnowSchool site, you have the opportunity to network with educators who are pursuing creative ways to introduce students to snowshoeing and experience the wonder of winter exploration! Winter Wildlands Alliance chooses new SnowSchool sites based on the following requirements, and then balances the number of new sites with the availability of discounted snowshoes available from Atlas and MSR.
Basic requirements for becoming a SnowSchool site:
- Ideally each site must be a nonprofit organization or government entity. In some cases other types of organizations may become a SnowSchool site if they are collaborating with nonprofits, school districts or other government organizations. SnowSchool sites span a range of locations/organizations from national and regional parks to national forests, Nordic centers, nonprofit museums, nature centers and educational institutions.
- Sites must be willing to partner with local schools and teachers to schedule SnowSchool field trips.
- Utilizing curriculum materials provided by Winter Wildlands Alliance as a reference point, every site prepares a basic SnowSchool curriculum (including teaching aids, activities, and lesson plans) tailored specifically to the site's unique culture and winter environment. Existing educational materials are shared among sites, making it easier for new sites to get started and existing sites to improve programs.
- After each winter season sites report; programs offered, estimated number of student participants, and provide additional information about their programs.
Benefits of becoming a SnowSchool site:
- SnowSchool sites have access to exclusive deals on snow shoes!
- SnowSchool sites have access to new K-12 curriculum and activity guides that are developed and updated regularly!
- SnowSchool sites have access to start-up resources like logistical guides and sample budgets, making it easier to launch a new program! Sites also can work directly with Kerry McClay Ed.D. National SnowSchool Director. Dr. McClay helped establish the SnowSchool program at Bogus Basin and has mentored dozens of organizations working to start and improve SnowSchool programs around the country.
- SnowSchool sites are included in an existing Memorandum of Understanding that WWA maintains with the US Forest Service, making it easier start a SnowSchool site on public lands.
- SnowSchool sites have access to fundraising opportunities for their programs. For example, each year SnowSchool sites around the country host a local showing of the WWA Backcountry Film Festival and in doing so raise thousands of dollars to directly support local SnowSchool education programs.
- SnowSchool sites get the opportunity to collaborate with other educators and groups doing similar work!
- SnowSchool site information and links appear on this website and are promoted nationally!
- There is no cost associated with being a SnowSchool site! WWA is a non-profit organization working to support the educational programs of SnowSchool sites across the country.
For more information, or to express your interest in becoming a SnowSchool site, contact Kerry McClay at email@example.com or call Winter Wildlands at: (208) 336-4203
SnowSchool runs on volunteer power! If you are passionate about winter and enjoy sharing your knowledge with others then SnowSchool needs your help! Here's some testimonial from some past SnowSchool leaders:
You can also find a SnowSchool site near you view our SnowSchool site list. For more information contact Kerry McClay firstname.lastname@example.org or call Winter Wildlands at: (208) 336-4203
The SnowSchool program aims to inspire a lifelong interest in exploring the wonders of our nation's winter wildlands. Thus the science curriculum that accompanies the program is designed to match the interest and abilities of individuals as they grow through life. SnowSchool has been around long enough that, in some places, the first generation of students have now grown up and become volunteer educators!
SnowSchool also strives to be much more than a limited “one-and-done” field trip program. Research conducted on the SnowSchool model and field-trips in general demonstrates that in order to maximize student benefits these learning experiences must extend over time and connect classroom study to the field-trip itself. We’ve designed a program to do just this, and our spiraling curriculum model (right) illustrates this idea carried out across ages and grade levels.
Additionally the SnowSchool curriculum is designed to align with existing state science standards, the newer Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards. This is important component of the program because SnowSchool is intended contribute to K-12 students’ overall learning and academic achievement.
WWA develops curriculum for both primary and secondary education students on a continual basis. For information about our curriculum or to find out how to receive a copy contact Kerry McClay email@example.com or call Winter Wildlands at: (208) 336-4203
4th grade students at SnowSchool participating in a snow/water equivalency experiment