Kathy Donchak, our founder guides the outdoor classroom where nature is the only teacher. Our nature school project is based on Kathy’s ongoing PhD research based on developing emotional resiliency in children and their caregivers through a connection to the natural world. Kathy’s partnership with Project Nature Connect as a learning mentor further guides the expeditionary learning style our the children’s nature experience.
Trailside Learning Project is inspired by the work of Acton Academy Austin and their learner-driven model. It was Kathy’s work with Acton Academy founders that led her to see the possibilities in education. It is with this knowledge that she began looking for ways to bring the Acton model alive in a nature learning environment, and to the lifelong learners it supports.
Trailside Learning Project was named after the original Trailside program, now known as the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute which was founded by Dr. Michael Cohen. Dr. Cohen is a psychologist and outdoor educator . We are so grateful to be given a framework to bring expeditionary style learning to Wyoming.
Our winter basecamp was in Shoshone National Forest hosted by the National Forest Service and Sleeping Giant Ski Mountain. This spring we roamed the Big Horn Basin exploring, learning, and growing.