Experience the Wonders of the Outdoors

The Outdoor Education program offers students a way to experience the wonders and the challenges of the outdoors and outdoor activities. The program focuses on two main activities: hiking and whitewater boating. The hiking component involves afternoon outings twice a week and day hikes/backpacking on the weekends. The whitewater boating component includes paddling Class II-III rivers in various watercraft (rafts, inflatable kayaks, whitewater canoes). Depending on interest, weekend trips might involve bike riding or rock climbing. These activities are designed to challenge the students both physically and mentally, as well as to let the students experience the natural world.
Students need to be aware that the outdoor education program involves rigorous physical activities in an environment that is often uncomfortable and harsh. At times you will have to function when you are cold, wet, tired, and sore. Despite all safety precautions, there is also the possibility of injury, and the natural environment of rivers and mountains makes injuries potentially serious. Whitewater boating and hiking are not spectator sports, and everyone must pull their own weight and contribute to the safety and proper functioning of the group.
For the Fall Season of the 2020-21 School Year, there will be adjustments to the program to ensure the health and safety protocols instituted by Moravian Academy in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic are met. The main alterations to the program are the after school weekday activities will occur on the Merle Smith/Upper School Campus three times each week, and the weekend trips will meet at the site of the activity (trail parking areas).
These are the activities and types of trips planned for the Fall 2020 Season of the Outdoor Education Program 

After school during the week: Three-afternoon sessions per week after school from 3:30-5:00 pm on the Merle Smith Campus.
These sessions will have a physical component and an educational element. Examples of possible education elements include plant and animal observation and identification, wilderness and camping skills, nature-focused artwork or journaling, discussions of land and water use, beekeeping, gardening, and overall exploration of the Merle Smith Campus.

Weekend Day Trips:  There will be multiple (about 5-6) weekend trips scheduled for the fall with the main activity of hiking trails in the area with the possibility of other activities (boating, biking, etc.) based on interest and health and safety recommendations. There might be a fee for certain activities on the weekend trips to cover guides and equipment.
There are two main ways Upper School students can participate in the program:
Full participation: Students must attend two or three afterschool sessions with a minimum time commitment of three hours per week and attend a minimum of two weekend trips in the season. The full participation qualifies for the PE exemption and the Freshman Sport Requirement, which is the same as in previous years. In order to fulfill the PE Exemption and the Freshman Sport Requirement, students may not miss the afternoon sessions (unexcused miss). Please attempt to schedule appointments on days that are not after school sessions. If a student misses an afternoon session for an unexcused reason, the student will make up for the missed hike by attending a PE class that week. If a student misses multiple afternoon sessions, they may be asked to return to PE class for the remainder of the season.  Make sure that you can commit to the full participation in the program before joining.

Drop-in Participation: All and any Moravian Academy Upper School students may attend any number of sessions either after school or on the weekends in order to enjoy and experience the natural world. 
The maximum number of participants for each session or trip is 20.
Weekend Trips-Tentative dates 
These trips are based on student interest and the availability of chaperones. They are subject to change based on the weather as well.
  • September 12, Saturday Day Trip-We will spend the day on a local hike 
  • September 26, Saturday Day Trip-We will spend the day on a local hike
  • October 10, Saturday Day Trip-We will spend the day on a local hike
  • October 17, Saturday Day Trip-We will spend the day on a local hike
  • October 24, Saturday Day Trip-We will spend the day on a local hike
  • November 7, Saturday Day Trip-We will spend the day on a local hike
If you have questions, please contact Outdoor Education Director Mr. Kevin Ferdinand at kferdinand@mamail.net.

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus