Coyote Outdoor School

Now hiring a full time Outdoor School Director. Click for details.

Confidence. Resilience. Kinship with Nature.
Your students need them to thrive.
We make it happen.

High Schoolers!

Click here to become a Coyote Leader and spend a week volunteering at Coyote Outdoor School

Coyote Outdoor School is the leading outdoor school provider in Lane County,
and the only Outdoor School recommended by Lane ESD.

We’ve mentored Lane County students outdoors for 8 years.
In 2016, we’ve spent 47,995 hours watching students grow through our programs.

Our professional educators train year-round to master their fields of knowledge
and support youth in expanding their comfort with new experiences.
The curiosity & imagination they bring helps kids engage, have fun, & love learning.

Outdoor learning will transform your classroom
as students bring back skills for academic achievement.

Coyote Outdoor School meets NGSS, STEM, and Common Core standards
through experiential learning and a pedagogy of inspired engagement.

Outdoor-based learning is proven to help students achieve:

  • Higher scores on standardized tests across disciplines
  • Fewer discipline and classroom management problems
  • Increased student engagement and pride in accomplishments
  • Greater proficiency in solving problems and thinking strategically
  • Better application of systems thinking and increased ability to think creatively
  • Greater enthusiasm for language arts, math, science, and social studies
  • Increased understanding of science content, concepts, and processes
  • Better ability to apply science and civic processes to real-world situations
  • Improved understanding of mathematical concepts and mastery of math skills
  • Better Comprehension of social studies content
  • Enhanced ability to work in group settings
  • Improved communication skills and civility
  • Improved language arts skills

Source: G.A. Lieberman and L.L. Hoody, State Education and Environment Roundtable, 1998 (

Our 3-day, 2-night program is an experience
your students will remember for life.

  • Field Studies provide hands-on experience with NGSS-based knowledge & skills.
  • Sensory Journeys help students slow down and notice the world around them.
  • Recreation activities provide a foundation for life-long physical fitness.
  • Campfire programming builds confidence and a sense of community belonging.
The “Coyote” Educational Framework

Our educational framework focuses on helping students develop holistically. Our directors and staff have all trained in “The Art of Mentoring,” as codified by international educator Jon Young and community allies beginning in 1983.

It is sometimes called “Coyote Mentoring” based on the folkloric associations of coyotes as tricksters and teachers. Coyote Mentors aspire to compel learning through inspiration, play, mentoring, role-modeling, and following the natural cycle of learning.

Our four main teaching methods:

Didactic: This method focuses on knowledge. It considers what knowledge the students have and what knowledge the mentor would like them to have. The mentor then bridges this gap in a structured way, often by giving the students information but also by engaging the students in discussion. This method words best with content that is detailed, organized, and intriguing to the student, such as bird feather identification and classification.

Storytelling: This method focuses on inspiration. It draws on our innate love for stories and our ability to process stories as lived experience. By structuring content as a story, we want to hear it again and again. The organization of the story allows us to structure the information in our minds and associate it with appropriate places, people, or objects. This method works best with content that is integrative, such as food webs or survival skills.

The Art of Questioning: This method focuses on awakening the mind’s eye. Instead of giving information, the mentor asks questions that they know will lead the student to derive the answer. This works well for content that can be studied firsthand, like animal tracks. The questions scale from apparent (“How deep is the track?”), to requiring the student to look closer (“How many toes are there?”), to requiring some critical thinking (“Which way was it going? Is its shelter nearby?”), to challenging the student to consider how an answer could even be derived (“Was it male or female? Was it hungry or full?”). The best Coyote Mentors have students who at first think of themselves as so smart and wonder why their mentors don’t know anything, because their mentors always respond with questions, until they realize how much their mentors taught them through asking just the right questions.

Trickster/Transformer: This method focuses on unconventional ways of learning that are especially powerful. Games, for example, fuel the student with adrenaline while embodying key concepts such as bird language through the rules of the game. Coyote mentors always want to consider where the edge of the student’s comfort is. Research and tradition both show that people learn best at their edges. The edge can be of their knowledge (slowly increasing their reading level by providing books just above their current level), their emotions (playing a hiding game which has them hide off the edge of the trail, where there might be spiders), or their physical bodies (increasing students’ awareness with a night hike).

Through integration of these methods, Coyote Mentors foster the Indicators of Awareness. The Indicators of Awareness are holistic personal characteristics that we mentor others to develop. Think of the Indicators of Awareness as the goal, and nature study as the means to get there.  For example, Coyote Mentors use the study of birds as a way to foster a quiet mind in their students. They teach animal tracking as a way to foster inquisitive focus. Evaluating students for Indicators of Awareness instead of of just fact retention ensures that they have the personal characteristics that will help them succeed in any life path.

We’ll show you the way
to making Coyote Outdoor School a reality for your students.

We provide all the pre-trip lesson plans, forms, and documentation you need,
so you and your families feel confident sending their students our way.

We recognize that the transition to an overnight program
can be a challenge for some families. That’s why we created our
one-of-a-kind Family Engagement Packet.
The tools in this packet come from years of helping students
and their families feel comfortable with sleep-away programs.

Call 541-937-KIDS (5437)
or email