Join the AOEA Board!

The Outdoor Lab is a partnership between the Arlington Public Schools (APS) and the non-profit Arlington Outdoor Education Association (AOEA).

  • APS provides the teachers, educational program and buses.
  • AOEA owns and manages the land and buildings as well as advocates for outdoor education, STEAM curriculum, and hands-on, experiential leaning.

We need  members of the Arlington community to step-up and help us in this critical time for educating our students.  We need Board Members for the AOEA!

Current and past Board Members have a variety of experience and skills.  Many are parents, teachers or staff of Arlington schools.  Others are scientists, marketing professionals, real estate agents/builders or consultants.  We need a variety of experiences to challenge our organization to improve and grow.

If you are willing to help Arlington children and the Outdoor Lab (or know someone who might) please contact Todd Parker the AOEA President to learn more about our Board of Directors at president@outdoorlab.org.  We will elect a slate of Directors at our annual meeting May 15th.

If you’d like to volunteer to help the Outdoor Lab learn more HERE.

 

Women’s History Month @ODL

The Women who make the Outdoor Lab Great

Phoebe Hall Knipling

The Outdoor Lab owes its existence to Phoebe Hall Knipling. Her vision and determination that children should experience science first hand, led to the creation of the Outdoor Lab and other pillars of Arlington science education like the Brown Planetarium, Gulf Branch and Long Branch Nature Centers. Learn more from a recent story from Arlington Library’s Womens Work series.

Anita Knipling Scott

Phoebe’s daughter Anita has served on the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Lab for years. She’s continued to build on her mother’s vision and helped thousands of Arlington families experience the joys of the Outdoor Lab.

Recently, Anita was interviewed for the Biscuit Mountain Breakdown and shared some of the early history of the Outdoor Lab. Click here to listen to podcast “Walking Down Memory Lane.”

Michele Karnbach

Michele re-joined the Outdoor Lab staff in 2019 as its new Director. She’s guided the ODL through some of the most challenging months in its existence.

She has reorganized the Lab staff and operations, created new curriculum and lessons for synchronous and asynchronous learning, and launched a podcast as well as new weekend activities for families.
Michele is charting the Lab’s path for the next 50 years of the Outdoor Lab.

Kendra Liddicoat

Michele created the Biscuit Mountain Breakdown podcast and interviewed leaders in the field of outdoor education.  Such as Dr. Kendra Liddicoat who researches memories as outcomes for programs like The Outdoor Lab.  Learn about how memories are an important feature of what happens at nature centers and how we can use that research to improve our program.  Click HERE for Podcasts.

Cultural History Project launches for Black History Month

As part of the Outdoor Lab’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, we’re launching a Cultural History Project during Black History Month.

The goal of this project is to research, document, and share the stories of ALL the families who called the mountain gap home..

On a visit with the Afro-American History Association of Fauquier County, Outdoor Lab staff learned that part of the Underground Railroad went through our property.  The oral history was that enslaved people escaping through Fauquier were told “Follow the Pine Mountains” to freedom.

Recent research into our Land Records revealed the names of property owners of our parcels back to the founding of the Colony of Virginia.  These names are a key fact that kick started the research project.  By finding the families, we reconstruct who owned and worked the land through time.  We then build the stories of these families through the artifacts they left on the property and ways they shaped the land.

We will partner with other researchers, families and organizations as we progress with the Cultural History Project.  Please check back to see our progress.  If you have an interest in helping please contact vp@outdoorlab.org.

Civil War History at The Lab

We had a special visitor, Dave Goetz, a Civil War historian at the Spring Open House.  He provided a description and history of some of the events that occurred on the Lab property during the Civil War. The most significant activity was in June 1863 when Confederate General JEB Stuart led 4,200 troops through Glasscock Gap, which is on the Lab property, en route to Gettysburg. Stuart ultimately ended up arriving on the second day of the battle, too late to change the Union victory.

Mr. Goetz is an expert on John Singleton Mosby, the Gray Ghost, who had his base of operations in and around Fauquier County, Virginia. He explained that it is very likely that Mosby provided JEB Stuart with the intelligence to use the little know Glasscock Gap to get through the Bull Run Mountains.

Evidence of the Civil War activity has been seen through artifacts found on the Lab property including bullets, Union belt buckle, Confederate buttons and various other metal objects. Anthony recently used a metal detector to find a variety of objects in the Gap. Gary Knipling and Anthony led a hike around the Lab property identifying where the Glasscock Gap is and the likely route of the Civil War troops.

Dave Goetz owns and operates Mosby’s Confederacy Tours, and leads tours in “Mosby’s Confederacy,” including Virginia counties of Fauquier, Loudoun, Warren, Clarke and Fairfax.

dave_goetz
Dave Goetz describing Civil War activity on the Lab property