How is Kestrel different?

Kestrel is not your typical environmental or outdoor education program.

Here are some key ways we stand out.

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Messy

When real field scientists conduct real field science, the process is messy. Ideas and methods are tested and revised, steps are not always done in the same order, wildlife doesn't always do what you expect it to, and sometimes you learn something totally different from what you planned on. At Kestrel, we believe this messiness is an important part of understanding the real world, and of learning the science process. Our students have input into the process every step of the way. They are true scientists.

Learner Centered 

A Kestrel program is an adventure. We don't give our students templates or prescriptive instructions. Our students lead the way, generating original ideas, contributing their voices to original projects, and challenging and supporting each other. 

Sense of Belonging

We teach everyone they belong to and in the natural world. We teach them, through immersion, that all lives are interconnected and that humans can have healthy relationships with the natural world. We don't tell children they are visiting animals' habitats, or ask them to solve adult problems. We encourage responsible off trail roaming and tinkering; building shelters, climbing trees, and building real connections to wild places and wild things. 

Our staff are experienced, knowledgeable professional educators and naturalists. They understand child development, how to support learning, and the complexities of the natural world. This allows them to use a flexible teaching model based on paying attention to students and how they are learning and responding.

Research shows that a messy, learner centered, connected approach is the best way to grow understanding, overcome misconceptions, and raise active scientists and environmentalists.