The Outdoor Lab Foundation Gazette | February 2015
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Calling all Outdoor Lab alumni...In the spirit of Valentine's Day, we want to hear your most cherished Outdoor Lab stories!  

We would LOVE to hear from anyone who has gone through the program- whether it was just last week or 50 or more years ago!


Consider writing a short paragraph or two about what you loved most about Outdoor Lab or what were some of the experiences you faced there that have shaped you into the individual you are today?  


Email your story to: be sure to include your name and year of your outdoor lab attendance. Each submission will be entered to win a special surprise package compliments of the Outdoor Lab Foundation. Three stories will be featured in our upcoming newsletters.     




Join us for our ninth annual Outdoor Lab Gala on Saturday, April 25th. Come see why this gala is the one everyone makes sure is on their calendar! This year is going to be something extra special so get your 'crew' together and book your tickets before they sell out! 

Here is what you can expect for the evening's festivities:

-Grand unveiling of our newest, top secret project.

-Silent & live auctions full of outdoor gear, adventure travel, entertainment, and more!

-Live demonstration by HawkQuest featuring some of the most amazing birds of prey known to man.
-Full course meals consisting of Porcini Crusted Chicken, Pan Seared Salmon, or Butternut Squash Ravioli. 

**NEW** Be sure to add a "Lucky Duck" ticket to your purchase for a chance to win any of our live auction items for just $100!

You can also reserve a hotel room for the evening after our Gala. As an added bonus, 25% of your bill will be donated back to the Outdoor Lab Foundation! More details listed on our website.


*Calling All Volunteers*

Have you been looking for ways to give back?  
Outdoor Lab needs your help!
Whether it's a couple of hours of your time helping prepare for the gala, students logging some volunteer hours for school projects, or someone looking to get involved in a more substantial way, we have something for everyone! If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer for Outdoor Lab, please contact:

Retail Program: General Store


The 2014 - 2015 school year is the year of the moose! Show your Outdoor Lab alumni spirit. Check out our full line of retail products available in youth and adult sizes.  


Order something from our general store today!




*NOTE: if you are ordering product for your child you can do so on the "Student Store" approximately one month prior to their Outdoor Lab experience; orders placed on the Student Store receive free shipping direct to their school.*


Lab Cards Program


The Lab Cards Program had a very successful first half of the school year helping families earn all or part of their Outdoor Lab fee. In the fall of 2014, King Soopers and Safeway helped 876 students with lab cards send schools a total of $134,357 toward their Outdoor Lab tuition.


Friendly reminder that families who start using the cards before sixth grade are the most likely to pay $0 for their student's Outdoor Lab experience. Did you know you can start earning toward a student fee as soon as a child enters Kindergarten? So if you have a future Outdoor Laber on your hands don't hesitate to get started now, and if you don't, consider helping your favorite school with their Outdoor Lab bill by using a school scholarship card.   


Lab Card Program Quick Tip: Lab Card Program families, don't forget that along with grocery purchases, cards can be used to purchase gas from the Safeway and King Soopers fuel stations!


Do you have any questions?

Please read the FAQ first, then email if your question/answer is not found in the FAQ.

If you're ready to start earning for the Outdoor Lab Foundation, your local school, or a specific child visit us at: or order your cards via the links below.  




Echo Mountain Adventure Camp

Did your child LOVE Outdoor Lab and wish they could go again? Well, they may be eligible to attend one of our great summer camps brought to you by Echo Mountain Adventure Camp (EMAC)!

There are two summer camps hosted at the Mount Evans Outdoor Lab Site that currently have open enrollment for summer 2015:

BASE Camp- For kids going into 7th, 8th, and 9th grade. This 7-day session involves canoeing, mountain biking, hiking, and many other great summer camp activities. Choose between the following dates: June 14 - 20 or  June 21 - 27

For high school aged kids. This 10 day adventure uses the outdoors in an extreme way, incorporating a 3-day backpacking trip, canoeing, swimming, mountain biking, rock-climbing, survival and leadership skills. Join us for this unforgettable experience on June 18 - 27.

Why Outdoor Lab School is so Important to Me:
    Written by BJ Meadows


It's been over sixty years since I attended an outdoor lab school. The week's experiences are still vividly imprinted on my mind and heart. They have influenced my life and career. Here are some fond memories taken from Chapter 5, "Outdoor Lab School: My Favorite Classroom" in my new book with Marilyn Saltzman, "Reflections, Learning by Doing":


"Pack up your jeans, jackets and hiking boots. Tomorrow you go to outdoor lab school, BJ" my mother instructed. "You will be learning in the outdoors for a whole week with other sixth graders. I know you'll love it."


I wasn't so sure I would love it. I had never been away from home for more than one night at a time. Sleepovers with my girlfriends seemed safer than spending a whole week away from home with my classmates. On the other hand, the thought of being outside and "in school" for an entire week sounded exciting.

I was awake  for most of the night in anticipation of my new adventure. Early the next morning, I joined twenty-four other sixth graders as we loaded our suitcases and backpacks onto the school bus. In no time, we were on our way to Versailles, Indiana, and the outdoor lab school.


After we arrived in our new home and got settled, our teacher calls out, "Grab your backpacks and jackets. It's time for class to begin."



All of us promptly followed directions and headed into the meadow near our dorm. We had seen a heard of deer munching on the grass when our school bus arrived. We were disappointed to discover the deer were no longer there.


"Here's their trail. I think if we follow it into the woods, we may find them," our teacher said encouragingly. "Look for signs that will tell us where they are."


"What are these little brown marbles?" I inquired. "There are so many piles of them where the deer have been eating the grass."

Being a skilled outdoor educator, our teacher began asking us questions rather than giving us answers. "Tell me about these 'marbles.' What do they smell like? How many are in a pile? How many piles are there?"


"Ick!! I don't want to smell them. They are dirty. They are deer poop," one of my classmates yelled. I heard many giggles and snickers all around me.


The teacher's questions were an inviting challenge for me. Before long, I had counted twenty piles of "marbles" with approximately fifteen in each pile. I had meticulously done the math without much effort. In addition, I discovered they smelled like dead grass and actually had blades of grass in them.


"I think there were twenty deer here eating the grass," I reported with confidence.


"That's a good estimate, B.J. The lab school principal has observed as many as thirty deer in this herd. Maybe the entire group wasn't here this morning. You can see where the deer trail enters the woods. Why don't you lead the way?"




I felt good that the teacher liked my answers and had chosen me to lead the class. I began feeling more excited about the approaching week.


The day ended all too soon. At each bend in the trail, there was another captivating lesson to be learned. There was always something new to see, hear, smell, taste and feel. I had never had a school day pass so quickly.


"Lights out in five minutes," our saintly teacher warned.

As I lay in my upper bunk, after lights out, I felt a smile creep over my face. This is school, and it is actually interesting and fun! It's OK to move around, smell and examine deer droppings, hike among the tall maple trees, eat Indian food, hear birds singing, and explore to my heart's content. This is like learning in my favorite neighborhood woodlot. This is the way school should be all year round! 




BJ Meadows with Marilyn Saltzman have recently published a book titled, "Reflections, Learning by Doing." It portrays the importance that the out-of-doors has played in BJ's life and emphasizes the value of children having rich experiences in nature.  It is a very well written book with endorsements by Dr. Ann Brady, former Jeffco Area Supt., Harold Pratt, former Jeffco Science Coordinator and others.


For those of you who do not know BJ, she taught biology at Alameda High School before becoming the Environmental Education Coordinator for our school district and was very involved in supporting the Outdoor Lab Program.  She was also instrumental in developing Day on the Prairie as well as programs with Jeffco Open Space such as Owl's Roost & Eagle's Nest.   She later became an elementary principal continuing in retirement as a consultant, curriculum developer, writer and professional coach.