Sweetwater Farm, in Sugar Grove, WV is a 565-acre property that is currently home to an old farmhouse, barn and outbuildings, as well as a more updated and equipped community center. It will serve as the main campus for our farm-based education programs. The property is nestled into a bowl-shaped valley along the rim of the Shenandoah valley. It adjoins the 1.8 million acres of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. It contains its own micro-watershed, including several springs, a network of old roads and an area of volcanic activity called an igneous intrusion.
Within the movement to connect children and nature, there is a growing sentiment that if children fail to develop attachments to natural spaces and places, society will ultimately fail to raise the next generation of stewards who will care for and protect their environment. Our Mountain Stewards Summer Program at Sweetwater Farm will challenge youth to be leaders and stewards and provides an effective setting for them to grow and develop a personal connection to nature in a small farm setting.
In the fall we will welcome school groups who will be joining us to use the property as a home base for stewardship, community building and self-exploration units. These courses bring together adventure, conservation and community-building to connect academic topics to the physical world. They give students real world context and experience, and help to ignite a passion for learning that they will carry through their education for years to come.
- Wilderness-based Programs
- Community-based Programs
- Virtual Learning Lessons
- Adult Adventures
What Folks are Saying
We are currently in the process of exploring a Trout in The Classroom project because of the interest that was piqued during the AWSM activities. – Julie Colaw, 5th grade science teacher, Petersburg Elementary School
Our trip to SKMC has now turned into an annual event that is not only highly anticipated, but essential to bringing together the social dynamics of our class as we prepare for a year of working together. Additionally, my students feel empowered and connected to each other from our adventures that carries on through our schoolwork. – Jen Osha Buysse, teacher, Morgantown Learning Academy
Experience Learning and their staff make our school trips possible. From scouting things out before hand, to keeping everyone fed, safe, entertained and informed during the trip, none of it would be possible without their professionalism. They create a safe environment that allows students to push themselves out of their comfort zones and take risks while being fully supported. All of this translates to huge growth at home both in and out of the classroom. – Evan Schlissel, Winston Prep NY
Mountain Stewards at Experience Learning is a fantastic week-long summer camp for kids who like the outdoors (or who WILL like the outdoors after this wonderful experience!) Stewardship of our natural resources, self-reliance, leadership, and fellowship, are all integral to this program. My daughter LOVES this camp, and that makes me a happy dad. Experience Learning also has great programs for learners of all ages. I recently completed an excellent Wilderness First Aid course at their wonderful Spruce Knob Mountain Center. Check it out! – Mark Wenzler
Hands down Experience Learning’s Water Sampling trip (AWSM) for my 5th graders this past year has been the highlight of my career thus far! – Megan Bacorn, teacher
Experience Learning has for a long time been dedicated to understanding our students, and on each trip builds a program to meet our goals. The experience we have each year creates a channel for learning that helps students further understand and internalize skills for planning, organization, problem solving and risk taking, and shows how these skills lead to success and happiness. We also have a wonderful time, and the experience is a staple of school culture and our collective memories. – Greg Koehlert, headmaster, Winston Prep
The leaders at Experience Learning do an extraordinary job of utilizing “outdoor education” to create opportunities for our boys to learn, grow, and develop an appreciation for our world beyond traditional classroom environments, which is valuable on too many levels to fully celebrate. – Mike Wallace, Gilman School