Mendocino Outdoor
Science School


Created in 1990, MWCA’s Mendocino Outdoor Science School (MOSS) is the largest environmental educational program at the Woodlands and one of the best of its kind in the nation.

During a twelve-week period every spring and a six-week period every fall, students in fourth through eighth grades attend programs that last three to five days. Each year, more than 1,000 kids attend MOSS from schools all over Northern California. They stay in cabins on-site and study in small field groups of twelve or less, each group under the guidance of an MWCA naturalist.

Environmental Education Director Jeanne Smith carefully selects a well-educated staff of ten or so naturalists from universities and outdoor education centers around the country. Prior to the arrival of the school groups, these naturalists also undergo intensive training in the MOSS format.

By the week’s end, the students’ positive communication and problem-solving skills have been strengthened, as well as an appreciation and respect for nature fostered.

Click image to download the flier

Click image to download the flier


discovery-based curriculum

MOSS explores a new natural community each day. Field groups enjoy hands-on activities investigating the redwood forest, fresh water stream, rocky shore tide pools and estuary. The concepts of habitat, adaptation, energy flow, nutrient cycling and interdependence are highlighted and reinforced in each ecosystem.


community building

MOSS functions as a small community where each and every person is a valued member. All activities—learning groups, recreation time and meals—are structured to encourage cooperation. A 10-element Challenge Course poses a series of physical problems students must solve together as a team.


cost + details


“Redwood Roots,” the video above, was performed and written by one of our wonderful naturalists, Ian Gledhill. Thanks, Ian!

The Mendocino Outdoor Science School is subsidized and supported by MWCA, which is dedicated to bringing environmental education to students at an affordable cost. The low tuition covers healthy meals, lodging, instruction and transportation for the coast field trip. Some scholarship assistance is available.

  • $249 per student for five-day programs

  • $228 per student for four-day programs

  • $203 per student for three-day programs

  • No cost for organizing teachers & volunteer chaperones

Contact Jeanne Smith for more information. You can also check our Employment Opportunities page for positions available for this program.

Click on the links below for forms and information you'll need for camp: