Think of what you see and hear in the woods. Bird song. Spiderwebs. Branches framing the sky.
This particular forest is in Port Townsend. It’s an old-growth plot called the Quimper Lost Wilderness. Many of the trees here are more than 170 years old.
It’s also the site of a local private school’s new outdoor classroom. No desks, no smartboards. Instead, the school will bring in local botanists, poets and historians to teach students about the land’s first people and its role as a habitat for plants and animals. Says Emily Gohn, the school’s head: Class is in session, rain or shine.
At a time when thousands of children and their teachers are reinventing school on screens, places like Swan School are experimenting with the polar opposite: bringing school to nature. Gohn and a handful of other Washington school leaders are trying their hand at outdoor schooling, a concept that