Superintendents' Environmental Education Collaborative

Iowa City Community School District

School of the Wild is an annual weeklong outdoor classroom experience for over 1200 students of the Iowa City Community School District. This program, facilitated by the University of Iowa Recreational Services, became the first accredited environmental school in the state of Iowa. This outdoor classroom experience serves every 6th grader, is directly tied to the District’s science curriculum and allows students to explore concepts taught in a real world setting. There are five distinct areas of study for the students across the weeklong experience: Prairies, Wetlands, Woodlands, Ornithology and Archaeology.

Of all the programming offered by the school district and supported financially through the district Foundation, this is one of the most beloved. Learning how to construct watertight structures, going on nature hikes while blindfolded, tagging and releasing birds, and studying the prairies and wetlands of Iowa are all examples of some of the activities the students enjoy. When we have educators write that “every student should have the opportunity to build a fort at least once in their lifetime and, for many of our students, School of the Wild is that time” we know we are providing an experience to our students that is incredibly impactful.

 Our goal is to introduce students to our environment, help them develop an appreciation for nature and become better stewards of our land and water resources. School of the Wild is clearly an experience we hope to continue to provide to future generations of students and we are grateful for the support of our community and Foundation in their efforts to ensure its continuance.