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Contact us at (760) 873-3262 - 166 Grandview Drive, Bishop, CA 93514

On this page: School Gardens-Planting SeedsTaking Root, Branching Out, Eastern Sierra Watershed Project, Family Science Nights, Trout in the Classroom, Science Camp, Summer Camp

School Gardens Program – Planting Seeds (K-1)

Students harvesting their crops in the Garden Program

Kindergarten or first grade students dig right into nature-centered learning by planting seeds and tending to vegetable plants in their class garden.  For ten weeks in the fall and spring, students learn about healthy eating and science concepts as their garden plants mature.  At the end of the ten weeks, students harvest their crops to make a savory soup or refreshing salad. This program is sustained by grant funding, and made possible with the help of volunteers and garden instructors.  

If you’d like to learn about the ways you can be involved in this program, please contact Mini Doonan at mdoonan@inyocoe.org or call 760-873-3262 x2106.

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Taking Root (3rd-Grade)

3rd-grade students birding as part of our Taking Root program

Taking Root is a monthly field study program for 3rd-grade students throughout the Owens Valley. It is supported by partnerships with the Bishop and Big Pine Paiute Tribes, Eastern Sierra Audubon, the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA), the Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT), and the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education (ESICE). The monthly lessons are presented by docent instructors. The docents and teachers walk their classes to a field site near their schools for an hour and a half lesson in the skills of a scientist, such as observation, documentation, experimentation, and journaling, culminating with the Audubon Birds in the Classroom lessons involving field birding with binoculars and bird books, observing and identifying birds in May at the peak of migration.

If you are interested in becoming a docent and committing to teaching 3rd-grade field lessons for one class, one day a month from September through May, we’d love to hear from you! Training, lesson plans, materials, and support are provided. We also need birding volunteers to help in May! Contact Maggie Riley, Outdoor Education and Science Specialist, at mriley@inyocoe.org or 760-873-3262, ext. 2131.

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Branching Out (5th-Grade)

Teaching students about traditional uses of plants and cordage

Branching Out is our new monthly field study program that “branched out” from Taking Root in 2021. This program is for 5th-grade students throughout the Owens Valley. It is supported by partnerships with the Bishop Pauite Tribe, the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA), the Eastern Sierra Land Trust (ESLT), Friends of the Inyo (FOI), and the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education (ESICE). The monthly lessons are presented by docent instructors. The docents and teachers walk their classes to a field site near their schools for an hour and a half lesson in the skills of a scientist, such as observation, documentation, experimentation, and journaling. This program is meant to support and extend Science Camp experience and learning for those 5th-graders that attend. In our first year, we ended with a small service project to give back, which we hope to continue doing!

If you are interested in becoming a docent and committing to teaching a class of 5th-grade students field lessons approximately one day every two months from September through May, we’d love to hear from you! Training, lesson plans, materials, and support are provided. Contact Maggie Riley, Outdoor Education and Science Specialist, at mriley@inyocoe.org or 760-873-3262, ext. 2131.

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Eastern Sierra Watershed Project (Grades 2, 4, 6, 7, 8)

8th-grade students mapping stream morphology of Lower Owens River

The Eastern Sierra Watershed Project (ESWP), started by the local non-profit Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education, began as a countywide, middle school science education program organized around the historic re-watering of the Lower Owens River. Middle school science teachers throughout Inyo County met with local scientists and land managers to create a curriculum to introduce their students to watersheds, watershed monitoring, data collection, and the management of water resources. Through partnerships with LADWP, Bureau of Land Management, California Fish and Wildlife, the Bishop Paiute Tribe, and the Inyo County Office of Education, ESWP expanded its field study programs to provide field science opportunities for grades 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8.

2nd-grade students learning about geology in Fish Slough

Eastern Sierra Watershed Project programs provide students the opportunity to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills.  ESWP curriculum includes hands-on, inquiry-based classroom activities to integrate the student field experiences into the classroom.  Science kits are provided by ESWP for the classroom activities.

Creek Study in the 6th-grade – macroinvertebrate sampling is introduced

Today the program is administered by Inyo County Office of Education (ICOE) and is able to continue to thrive and reach new generations of Owens Valley students through generous grant funding by the Branson Family Foundation and BLM Hands on the Land program, and the efforts of many, many dedicated volunteers. The Outdoor Education and Science Specialist at ICOE continues to work with local teachers to provide classroom kits, schedule field trips, hire and train docent field science instructors, and implement all field programs.

If you are interested in signing up to be a docent field instructor, please contact Maggie Riley at mriley@inyocoe.org or 760-873-3262 x2131.

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Family Science Nights – “Exploring Extreme Environments Through Hands-On Science”

Lone Pine students learn about native fishes at Family Science Night

Family Science Nights are held every other year in February, alternating with the Inyo County Science Fair. The event was developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science in conjunction with the Eastern Sierra Institute for Collaborative Education. The events are now coordinated by Inyo County Office of Education in collaboration with the schools, teachers, volunteers, and science docents. At the events, there are several stations where students and their families can come and explore learning about our local environment through fun hands-on activities. The target audience includes elementary to middle school students in grades 3 – 8 and their families. All students must be accompanied by a parent, and younger siblings are welcome! These fun events are open to the public from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

If you are interested in helping staff a table at one of our Family Science Nights, please contact Inyo County Office of Education Science and Outdoor Education Coordinator, Maggie Riley, at mriley@inyocoe.org or 760-873-3262 x2131.

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Trout in the Classroom

Trout fry hatching in the aquarium

Students learn first-hand about aquatic life by observing live trout as they hatch and develop over a six-week period. After the six weeks, students release the trout into local watersheds to continue their life cycle. This program is offered each year through a partnership between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Inyo County Office of Education.

For more information, contact Inyo County Office of Education Education Services Program Coordinator, Mini Doonan, at mdoonan@inyocoe.org or 760-873-3262 x2106.

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Outdoor Science School (aka Science Camp – Grades 5 or 6)

Students on top of “Camp Mountain” at Science Camp

What better place to study natural science than the meadows, streams, and deserts of the great outdoors? That’s what 5th and/or 6th-grade students get to do for a week at Science Camp with their classroom teachers and Field Science Instructors. Our Science Camp is not just camp, it is part of School – it is Outdoor Science School. We believe that the best science classroom has no walls! We will be learning about geology from inside a volcano – exploring lava tubes on Crater Mountain! We will study Ecosystems, Adaptations, Geology, Astronomy, and more in the Outdoor Classroom. We’ll be living, eating, breathing, singing, and acting out our Science lessons while having a great time in the outdoors.

Camp is usually held in October of each year. Classroom teachers will send camp information and registration materials home in September. See parent handbooks online for more information.

High School students who are interested in science, the outdoors, and leadership are encouraged to volunteer as counselors for Science Camp. They can earn up to 50 hours of community service credit, get a letter of reference, and valuable leadership training and experience.

For more information, contact Inyo County Office of Education Science and Outdoor Education Coordinator, Maggie Riley, at mriley@inyocoe.org or 760-873-3262 x2131.

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Sierra Adventure Summer Camp (Middle School) Look for registration for June 2023 Summer Camp in April 2023!

Girls’ in the fort they built at summer camp

5 day overnight camp at Sierra Adventure Center near Big Pine
Summer Camp 2022 is over – watch this page to Register Online for 2023!

  • Archery and Whittling
  • Hiking and Exploration
  • Swimming (at Bishop City pool or OVUSD pool with lifeguards)
  • Creek Stomp
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Fun and Games
  • Talent Night
  • Sleep under the stars (Thursday night)

Instructors: All current instructors are teachers during the school year who love kids and getting outdoors – we are so very lucky to have such wonderful instructors to make this experience for campers not only fun (and secretly educational at times), but safe and supportive as well.

Swimming during the all-day hike up Big Pine Creek

Philosophy: Summer Camp is a chance for children to become more self-reliant, to challenge themselves in a safe environment of support and supervision, to grow, and to be proud of themselves for what they accomplish. This is an outdoor, nature camp, away from electronics, cell phones, video games, and other distractions of modern life. It is a chance for kids to get to just be kids and become comfortable having outdoor adventures. We start each day with appreciations, and actively work toward creating a kind, cooperative, supportive community during the week, and at our closing ceremony, the effects of that focus are evident in the wonderful things campers say.
Dates: last 2 weeks in June (first week boys, second week girls).

  • Boys’ Week 2023: Planned for June 19-23, 2023
  • Girls’ Week 2023: Planned for June 26-June 30, 2023

Registration coming in April 2023 for June 2023 Summer Camp – check back for the current link at that time: https://form.jotform.com/220797060464155
Open to all Inyo County Students who will be going into 6th, 7th, or 8th grade the following fall.

See Parents’ Guide to Summer Camp for more information (also in Spanish). Also, see tips on preventing homesickness here.

Questions? Contact Inyo County Office of Education Science and Outdoor Education Coordinator, Maggie Riley, at mriley@inyocoe.org or 760-873-3262 x2131.

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