California Science Teachers Association Releases Position Statement on Environmental Literacy for All Students


All teachers of science in California now have a guiding document regarding the significance and importance of environmental literacy in the curriculum. California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) has released their position statement. As mentioned in the new statement, the State Board of Education has adopted environmental principles and concepts as “an important piece of the curricular expectations for all California Students." Further, the 2016 Science Framework for California Public Schools (Science Framework) makes significant reference to investigation through natural systems.

California teachers now have significant support for environmental literacy both through the Science Framework and the CSTA position statement on environmental literacy.

The new documents are linked directly: CSTA Position Statement: Environmental Literacy for All California Students and 2016 Science Framework for California Public Schools.

Online Climate Studies Course for Teachers

The American Meteorological Society's Datastreme Climate course, a college online climate studies course, will be offered to southern California K-12 teachers this coming September. 

Tuition, 3-units of graduate credits, and all course materials are only $150 to participants.

For more information and application forms, please contact Steve LaDochy at or go to the Datastreme Climate website.


A Message from the Outdoor Science School to our Participating Teachers!

staff from Malibu and Wrightwood outdoor science schools

staff from Malibu and Wrightwood outdoor science schools

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of the schools who attended Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School in 2017-2018! We know you worked very hard to prepare your students, parents, and cabin leaders for a life-changing week full of NGSS-aligned scientific inquiry, nature exploration, and community building. We hope your week at Outdoor Science School was a highlight of your school year. It was a pleasure to work with you to provide this amazing opportunity for your students.

This has been another great year for the Outdoor Science School. We were able to welcome and support a number of new schools from several new districts. New schools are a great addition and currently participating schools are our best ambassadors. The website continues to improve. The Instagram account is a great way to keep in touch, and other social media will be improved over the summer.

 Excellent Outdoor Science Field Study

Looking back at the year, and back at almost 60 years of service, we are excited about the quality of our educational program. We were very pleased to receive these comments from a participating teacher.

"After looking into various [outdoor science school] programs, we knew that LACOSS was the perfect place for our students to have an immersive experience in science education. Because it is a program affiliated with Los Angeles County Office of Education, we were confident that the curriculum would be aligned with NGSS, and that the experience would build upon the collaboration and inquiry-based learning that takes place in the classroom. P.S. It was an experience that we all can't stop sharing about!!" --Michelle Kibic, 5th grade teacher, Sanchez Elem., Norwalk/ La Mirada Unified School District, 1st year participating teacher.

Support for Next Year

At the Outdoor Science School, as in your classrooms, we are already busy planning for your next visit to OSS. We know that parents, teachers, and administrators want to know as much as they can about Outdoor Science School before they agree to send their students to an overnight program. LACOSS is here to support you to recruit cabin leaders and to address parent concerns so as many of your students as possible can experience Outdoor Science School! Here are some resources to help you.

  • Explore resources on our website! Be sure to check the Teacher Resources section of the website. These resources include PowerPoint presentations for your parent meetings, lists, planning tools, and a variety of recommendations.
  • Sign up for a 4th grade 1 or 2 day program! Our new 4th  grade program focuses on Native Californians and their use of plant resources. This is a great introduction to Outdoor Science School and will prepare your students and parents for the 5-day program in 5th or 6th grade.
  • Book a School Visit for Fall 2018! We are often able to send staff to visit your school and to support your preparations. Experienced LACOSS Naturalists come to your school for an information session. Sample lessons, PowerPoint presentations, and a Q&A session help students, parents, and school administrators understand what to expect from their week at Outdoor Science School. These visits are available as scheduling permits. Contact the Outdoor Science School office early if this would be a valuable resource for your school. 
  • Earn a Scholarship to OSS by recruiting a new school! Many students and teachers leave their week at OSS hoping they can share the experience with others. Help us identify schools that might be interested in participating and you can earn scholarships for your own school!
  • Book a Site Visit! Bring parents and school administrators for a tour of the Outdoor School site. Meet the OSS staff, see the cabins where students will stay, the dining hall where they eat, and the forest or shore where the students will learn. Contact the Outdoor Science School office,

2017-2018 OSS Sign-up

If you have not yet signed-up for the 2018-19 school year, please give us a call. There are still great weeks available. Click hereto learn more about how to book your week. Spread the word, recruit a new school, and earn scholarships for your school to attend OSS.

These are just a few of our offerings. Keep in touch - we would like to hear from you. Contact us at: 562-922-6330 and/or by email at widdison_gary [at] lacoe [dot] edu. 

  • How can we help your school prepare more effectively for your week at OSS?
  • What challenges did you face this year, and how might OSS be able to support your school?
  • What other feedback do you have for us?

Staying in Touch

We hope you have a wonderful summer break. Members of our naturalist staff will be traveling all around the world, pursuing their passions for learning and exploring in nature. Stay in touch with our program and naturalists during the summer! 

Instagram:    @lac_oss
Facebook:    L.A. County Outdoor Science School

Thank you for your continued dedication to high-quality, immersive, science education for your students, and thank you for your support of the Outdoor Science School. 

Have a great summer,

All your friends and colleagues at the Outdoor Science School!

Forestry Institute for Teachers


The Forestry Institute for Teachers is high-quality professional development that provides cross-curriculum (Math, Language Arts, Science, History, etc.) training that emphasizes and models Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards while examining current forestry issues.

This FREE institute (except for $25 application fee and your travel to the site) is available to all California teachers. Institute content is focused on Project Learning Tree and Project WILD.

Teachers can choose from one of four times in different Northern California counties. See FIT Web site for details.


Student Discovers Fossil Leaf at Outdoor Science School

Julia Salazar, Foster Elementary School Baldwin Park Unified School District

Julia Salazar, Foster Elementary School
Baldwin Park Unified School District

This is Julia Salazar of Foster Elementary School. She made an unexpected discovery as she was exploring weathering and erosion at the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School at Malibu. Students sometimes use rock hammers to break open a rock to compare internal features with their external appearance. Julia broke open a rock to reveal a fossilized leaf! 

As far as is known, this is a first in the almost 60 year history of the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School!

Her discovery leads to other questions ... What kind of rock is this? How is it similar to other rocks found in the area? How is it different? Are there other fossil-bearing rocks nearby? Where did this rock come from? How did it get here?

There is always something exciting to discover and learn at the Outdoor Science School, but this was a truly unique opportunity. The specimen will become part of the permanent collection at Malibu OSS with notation of Julia's name and school.

Fossil leaf found by Julia Salazar at the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School at Malibu.

Fossil leaf found by Julia Salazar at the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School at Malibu.

Every Kid In A Park


Marvel at the St. Louis Arch, the Florida Keys, and the Frederick Douglass house. Listen to wolves howl. Walk in dinosaur tracks. Look up into the inky night sky, and reach for the stars! These sites belong to all of us — including you.

Every Kid in a Park was created so fourth graders and their families could discover our wildlife, resources, and history … for free.

Get your pass

Teachers can download classroom activities and apply for passes for all fourth-graders. As a fourth-grade educator, you can download an activity and print paper passes for each of your students.

This program only provides passes for fourth graders. Each student receives a paper pass with a unique code. That pass gives them free access to all national parks, lands, and waters through August 31, 2018.

Printed copies (not electronic copies) are required when you visit. A pass has a unique code so it can’t be copied and shared. All fourth-grader can get their own passes.

Plan a trip

It’s a good ideas to involve parents/guardian in the planning

Hit the road!

Enjoy national parks, lands and waters for a full year.

More Help

Here is a helpful Web site for planning your trip: Every Kid in a Park

Questions are a Natural Part of Science at the Outdoor Science School


Life finds a way! Recent rains have increased the flow of water in the seasonal stream at the Malibu Outdoor Science School, replacing occasional pools of water with a beautiful flowing stream.

These conditions have been perfect for a population of newts that live in the area. In a recent week students encountered more than 40 newts.

What conditions are needed before it is likely students will find newts in the riparian area? Where do newts live when the seasonal stream is not flowing? Why are newts only found in damp environments?

Questions like this are a natural part of inquiry at the Outdoor Science School. We love the emerging Next Generation Science Standards – it turns out they are exactly what we do best!

Next Generation Science Standards at the Outdoor Science School

Students at the Outdoor Science School in Malibu observe and compare spring wildflowers on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

A fundamental conceptual shift of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is the emphasis on using phenomena to engage in question-posing and inquiry. This is exactly what we do best at the Outdoor Science School.

How are the parts of a flower arranged to attract pollinators, collect pollen, and produce seeds? What diversity can we observe in the plants nearby in the same ecosystem? How do the components of an ecosystem interact and connect with each other?

These are essential science content questions, emphasized in NGSS, that students are able to explore at the Outdoor Science School.