Mission & Guidelines
Cedar Mountain Science Center (CMSC) is dedicated to outdoor education. Our mission is to cultivate a community of mentors dedicated to providing students and educators an opportunity to use curiosity and wonder to discover all of the facets of the natural world. This endeavor involves and inquiry-based, hands-on environmental science approach where students and teachers will foster an appreciation and understanding of their natural surroundings in “Natures Greatest Classroom”. Emphasis is placed on an experience relevant to our immediate surroundings in Southern Utah but includes science skills and experiences that could be used in any natural environment. Curriculum is created using the many different elements that affect or interface with nature along with reinforcing national and state science core standards. Using the natural environment of Cedar Mountain and surrounding National and state Parks, concepts are taught and experiences are offered reinforcing the application of critical and creative thinking skills through a real life experiential, application.
As partnerships are formed the vision for CMSC is to provide a community of outdoor education mentors across all age groups, which could benefit the community, university, and a variety of agencies, with many varied and unique projects. CMSC could grow into a valuable resource by providing a niche for anyone seeking an outdoor adventure.
Cedar Mountain Science Center, staff create and implement nine youth camps for kids 9-12 years old each summer. Starting in 1998 with one youth camp and two teacher development camps, CMSC has expanded to nine integrated, student and teacher camps. Each year 150+ potential campers are turned away because the available spaces fill to capacity. The goal for the summer of 2010 is to add 3 more elementary camps and a middle school camp. It is also a goal to link with the YCC programs in the national and state parks in the area and provide middle and high school students with opportunities to work with these organizations to gain valuable training which would link to many possibilities in the future. Due to the popularity and success of this project numerous parents and teachers have requested that CMSC create a middle and high school component, for this project. As the elementary students that have been to CMSC mature into middle school students there becomes a need for a hands-on outdoor science experience for these students to continue their enthusiasm and interest for outdoor education. A high school component would then be a natural addition with those students coming through the program, elementary and middle school levels, and becoming mentors/interns for the younger campers.
In 2010, with the help of many partnerships and through several different grant proposals, CMSC is adding a middle school component to the already existing program. Eventually we hope to be able to add a high school component which would allow students that participated in our programs at earlier ages, opportunities to work with state and national parks personnel and different state agencies for future training and employment opportunities. Through partnership and grant opportunities in the near future we hope to link to a teacher-ranger program and to the junior-ranger programs.
One of the many goals of CMSC is to provide scholarship opportunities through internships with the many different components we hope to create. It is an exciting time to finally be able to see progress towards providing opportunities for students of all ages and educators with many resources to enjoy outdoor education.
As partnerships are formed the vision for CMSC is to provide a community of outdoor education mentors across all age groups, which could benefit the community, university, and a variety of agencies, with many varied and unique projects. CMSC could grow into a valuable resource by providing a niche anyone seeking an outdoor adventure.
Keep your eyes on the web site and we will update and add new information about the progress towards these goals.
Components of CMSC
CMSC currently provides three different components all linked with the youth outdoor science camps.
Component One: Student Outdoor Science Education Camps
This component of CMSC is designed as a two-day residential experience at the SUU Mountain Center for students, ages 9-12 year old. Emphasis is placed on environmental science education having students participate in a hands-on learning experience in nature dealing with habitats, plants, animals, rocks, minerals, weather, fossils, water, astronomy, chemistry and much more. They will take part in activities with a focus on scientific inquiry and discovery learning across an integrated interdisciplinary experience.
Component Two: Teacher Development
This component is designed as a two day residential experience for teachers that takes places at the same time and coincides with the youth science camps. Teachers that attend receive curriculum materials created for science camp that tie into the state science core curriculum. They are able observe and participate in the implementation of this curriculum as it is taught to student campers. Emphasis is placed on an environmental outdoor science education experience that is relevant to the immediate surroundings, with knowledge gained through a broad-based and experiential process. Focus is on inquiry and discovery learning in an outdoor education setting with content studied in an integrated, interdisciplinary model. The goal is for teachers to gain an appreciation of nature and all of the many resources available to help them return and teach their students using the natural environment where they teach. Many teachers leave CMSC with a renewed desire to help students enjoy nature while learning science skills, with resources and contact information to help them successfully implement activities in their own schools.
Component Three: Pre-Service Teacher Development
This component of CMSC provides pre-service teacher education students, with a practicum experience that is also a two day residential experience coinciding with the youth science camps. Emphasis for pre-service teachers is placed on an outdoor environmental science education experience while supervising and instructing student campers and gaining knowledge about useful teaching tools and student management strategies. Focus is on inquiry and discovery learning within the content areas and studied in an integrated, interdisciplinary model. Pre-service teachers will participate in the management of student campers in the scientific inquiry, outdoor learning model. They will also participate in the many aspects of planning and carrying out a field trip experience with young students. These future teachers will gain knowledge about nature and many science content areas and see how master teachers instruct student campers using the camp curriculum and will take with them valuable resources and contact information to help them successfully implement activities in their clinical practice and as they move into their own classrooms.