ODL Event- Eat It to Beat It- Sat Apr 24th 10a-1p

Don’t let Earth Day go uncelebrated this year! Join us on Saturday April 24th to do good for the environment at the Lab.

Eat It To Beat It is going to be a blast and a wonderful opportunity to spend time in a beautiful location making the world a better place.

Buy your tickets here: https://buff.ly/3cU1TuG

The Arlington Outdoor Education Association is hosting a fundraising event to help The Lab control invasive garlic mustard.

Guests will learn how to identify garlic mustard, will help remove this invasive weed from the property and be treated to a fabulous guest lecture by Dr. Jon C. Cawley of Georgetown University about the value of biodiversity.

Attendees will also enjoy a short cooking demonstration featuring recipes that use wild edible plants.

Bring your own gloves and trowels, masks required when social distancing outside is not possible.

ODL Open House Sat May 15th 12-4p

The Outdoor Lab Open House is scheduled for Saturday May 15th 12-4 pm. 

We’re monitoring COVID protocols, but by requiring masks and social distance, we can welcome families to enjoy nature in a safe way.  We’ll keep activities outdoors and will assess what activities are permissible as we get closer. 

We’ll post a Sign Up Genius for families wanting to attend.  Check back here for signups. 

While at the lab, talk to AOEA board members about the upcoming capital projects or how you could volunteer. We’re looking for additional board members and have lots of great projects on our plate! 

Directions can be found here and parking info will be posted closer to the event.

 In case of inclement weather, check back here for cancellations or updates.  An Open House Rain Date has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday May 22th 12-4 pm. 

We look forward to seeing you!

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.

 

APS cancels ODL Summer Camp 2021

On March 19th Arlington Public Schools department of Teaching and Learning sent out an APS School Talk Press Release email with plans for Summer School for 2021.

Included in those plans are the decision to Cancel Summer Camp at the Outdoor Lab.

We are saddened by this decision, but understand the need to offer additional instruction in core subjects for this disjointed year.

More information can be found on APS website 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.

Hike the Outdoor Lab-Saturdays in March

Looking for somewhere to go on a weekend?  The Outdoor Lab invites members of the Arlington Community to hike our Biscuit Mountain trail every Saturday in March.  The trail takes approximately 1.2 hours to hike.  Sound like a good time?  Here are the details:

  • Sign up before you come.  (Click HERE for our SignUpGenius Page)
  • Each sign up slot admits one carload of people.
  • Sign up slots for morning OR afternoon.  Check the date and time carefully!  (show up at any time during your morning or afternoon window.)
  • No pets!  Sorry!
  • Masks are required when in the bathrooms and when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Follow the arrows to keep traffic flowing in one direction on the trails. This keeps everyone safe!
  • Protect the land by following the “leave no trace” philosophy. Dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, be considerate of other visitors, stay on trails, and respect wildlife
  • Release Form must be signed by all participants.  Find Release Forms HERE.  (Save time and fill out before you arrive.  We’ll have some on hand as well )
  • Check in with an AOEA board member before you get started.
  • Gates close at 4 pm sharp, don’t get locked in!

Every little bit helps!  To support the Outdoor Lab’s educational programs and help reach more Arlington students, a suggested donation of $20 per car is welcomed but not mandatory.  We can always use help collecting kindling, just leave neatly stacked by wood piles. (Thanks!)

So put on your hiking shoes, dress for the weather, and come and enjoy the beauty of The Outdoor Lab on a beautiful weekend in March!

Directions can be found on our website.  Click Here for DIRECTIONS

ODL supports APS LoveTheBus

As APS plans to start Hybrid learning for all students, many families are again focusing on the bus drivers, crossing guards, and transportation staff that get students to school safely.

When students come to the ODL, we rely on our dedicated bus drivers to transport kids to the magic that is the Outdoor Lab.  The APS transportation team coordinates getting a bus and driver out to the Lab, usually between their normal school runs, every school day.  They transport every 3rd, 5th and 7th grade student to the Lab over the school year.

Without a bus and driver, students can’t get to the Outdoor Lab.  APS Staff and the Arlington School Board supported the funding of a daily bus to the ODL and added a second bus for 5th grade overnights.  (about 40 days a year)

Often, one or two drivers are assigned to the ODL for the year and they have gone above and beyond their normal driving duties to make sure students have a great experience.  Even after they retire, some still help at the Outdoor Lab.  Former APS bus driver Paul Diehl joined the AOEA board after his career driving students to the Lab and has worked tirelessly for the Outdoor Lab ever since.

Please join the Outdoor Lab, the AOEA and Lab Staff in thanking all bus drivers, crossing guards and transportation staff during the month long Crossing Guard Appreciation and Love the Bus campaign.

ODL@home- The Great Backyard Bird Count

Help scientists from home by participating in The Great Backyard Bird Count

Outdoor Lab staff have participated in such events at the Outdoor Lab and have documented a large variety of bird species.  When students are at the ODL, staff helps them identify birds by sight and sound.  Now you can help scientists from your own backyard!  Show us your favorite backyard birds. #GBBC #LovetheODL

From Audubon.org:

The 24th annual The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held Friday, February 12, through Monday, February 15, 2021. Please visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information and be sure to check out the latest educational and promotional resources.

The  GBBC is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.

Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the  National Audubon SocietyCornell Lab of Ornithology and Birds Canada learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Recently, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.

 

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.

New OutdoorLab Podcast Launches

New Outdoor Lab podcast series: The Biscuit Mountain Breakdown

Welcome to the Biscuit Mountain Breakdown, the podcast where nature and education connect. Join us for discussions with researchers and experts that expand your understanding of outdoor education, nature, and science.

Check out the latest podcast  here

Or search your favorite podcast player for “Biscuit Mountain Breakdown.” 

Here is a link to Spotify.