Sagehen Outdoor Education Program 2020-2021

Moderation state
Grant Applicant
Katie Old, Maggie Bockius, Candy Blesse, Kathy Echols, Sagehen Outdoor Education Program
School Site
Grant Category
Grant Date

Sagehen Outdoor Education Program is a collaboration with Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and has been in operation for over thirteen years. This program is the district adopted outdoor education program for all 5th grade TTUSD students at the Sagehen Research Station located on Highway 89, 15 miles north of Truckee. The funds that we are requesting will help us provide our TTUSD students with field science and team building lessons.Each year the program serves approximately 350 fifth graders in the Tahoe-Truckee School District with either a 2 day or 3 day program in the Fall.(Sept. -Oct) as well as a winter snow science program (Jan-Feb ) and one other day-trip in the Spring (May-June). We are requesting supplies that will be used to deliver and supplement curriculum during the next several years in the Fall 2 or 3 day programs, the Winter Trek Programs, and in the Spring day programs.   


Benefits of Program

Our program provides local students access to a learning environment that is literally in their backyard. Students learn a variety of skills and gain knowledge about many different topics. Lessons include team-building, local ecosystems, flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada, macro-invertebrates, water quality, and plant and animal identification. Classes are taught by outdoor educators and educators from two local non-profits (SWEP and TINS). The students  also learn to live and work together as a group through team-building activities. 


Success of Program

The impact of the lessons that students receive in our program is often revealed in how they think about and view the flora and fauna in our area. Specifically, they become more aware of different kinds of native plants and can often even name common trees and shrubs that grow in our area. They also learn about specific indicators of stream health and then use their knowledge when exploring creeks in their own neighborhoods.  Many of the lessons at Sagehen focus on the different birds that live in our area or migrate in and out of the Tahoe region -- and the students become knowledgeable about human caused hazards that harm birds’ flight patterns. Many of the field science lessons and team-building lessons focus on the importance of looking at descriptive details. These lessons and other newly gained knowledge is often reflected in writing assignments, class discussions, and art activities. In general, our 5th graders leave Sagehen with a greater appreciation of nature, science, their local environment, and each other. In fact, over 25 % of our school district’s 5th graders become Sagehen teachers and mentors to 1st grade students, incorporating lessons that they experienced in our fall program. The kids want to take care of their environment once they have grown to love it! Evaluation of the program is done in each classroom when the students return from the program. 



The items that are being requested from Excellence in Education will be used by instructors from SWEP (Sierra Watershed Education Partnership), TINS (Tahoe Institute of Natural Science), and the Sagehen Outdoor Education Program staff (outdoor educators and the site coordinator) during the Fall overnight program, the Winter Program, and the Spring program during the next several years. Specifically, the nets, thermometers, turbidity tubes will be used by SWEP during the fall and spring programs, the laser thermometers will be used by SWEP in the winter program, the binoculars will be used by TINS in the fall and spring programs, the chef's hats will be used by Sagehen staff in the fall program, and the rain ponchos will be used by Sagehen staff in the fall and spring programs. 

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

This is a district-wide grant. The items we are requesting will be used by 5th grade students from all of the TTUSD elementary schools and North Tahoe Middle School. 

The items being requested will be used by the Sagehen Outdoor Education Program for several years. However, with usage from over 300 students/ year, some of the items will become worn or broken and will need replacements.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$280 - 20 Nets for macroinvertebrates @ $14 each
$439 - 20 Thermometers @ $21.95 each
$240 - 15 Laser thermometers @$15.99 each
$92 - 2 Turbidity tubes @46.15 each
$1216 - 8 Binoculars @ $152 each
$154 - 14 Chef's hats (for kids) @ $11.00 each
$294 - 25 Rain Ponchos @ $11.75 each
Budget Notes

Please see  for itemized list of items with costs.


The nets and binoculars may be eligible for a quantity discount but it is hard to determine until order is being placed.