The public is invited to celebrate the grand opening of the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership (SOL) School on Sunday, September 7, 1 – 5pm. Located on the campus of Morgantown Learning Academy (MLA), the event will feature hands-on activities that will be part of Mountain SOL’s curriculum, guided hikes on the nature trail, kids’ crafts and face-painting, harvest activities in the MLA school garden and a presentation by the Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) Youth Advisory Board about how kids can get involved in mapping their own watershed.
The grand opening is an opportunity for the public to learn about not only Mountain SOL programs, but also the school’s mission, philosophy and vision for the future. Mountain SOL School is opening as a partnership between Aurora Lights, a state-wide environmental non-profit, and Morgantown Learning Academy (MLA).
The event will also highlight other partnerships, including:
- The new Wild Yards! area of the MLA campus, a partnership among MLA, FODC and Master Naturalists of Morgantown
- The MLA School Garden, a collaboration with MLA Friends of the Garden and Aurora Lights
- The Youth Watershed Connections project, developed by FODC’s Youth Advisory Board
The Mountain SOL School is a brand-new, outdoor education program focused on nature awareness, stewardship and outdoor leadership. For the 2014 – 2015 academic year, the school is offering in-class environmental education programs to all students at MLA and afterschool, outdoor education classes to all local students ages 2nd grade and up. Future programs will offer high school students the opportunity to mentor younger students, as well as internships for youth and young adults. Adults can get involved, too, through Clean up the Creek!, a group of youth and adults working together to clean up the MLA stream.
Mountain SOL is about connection – connection to self, connection to friends, to community and to a greater circle of life. Classes are hands-on and allow for unstructured time in the woods as well as experiences in stewardship and self-led exploration. Classes are more than just lesson plans taught outside — they’re fun, fully immersed experiences. The emphasis on passion, personal responsibility and leadership skills equips Mountain SOL students with the tools to make real changes in their communities and the world at large.
In addition to the values of stewardship and outdoor leadership, Mountain SOL classes and programs also teach the values of environmental and social justice. In every class, walk and conversation, students learn the importance of equality and rights of all peoples to health and happiness. Older students have the opportunity to be mentored in community organizing, and provided internships with local non-profits.
Morgantown Learning Academy is a non-profit, non-church affiliated, private school for children from preschool to 8th grade. Since 1998, Aurora Lights has supported educational opportunities, locally-based projects and collaborations between academia and activism that strengthen the connections between human communities and their natural environment.
Partnerships and projects highlighted at this event were made possible with funding from GreenWorks! and Project Learning Tree, the Whole Kids Foundation, and the WV Geological and Economic Survey.
Come learn more about Mountain SOL School’s innovative programs on Sunday, September 7 from 1 – 5pm! Morgantown Learning Academy is located off Easton Mill Rd at 123 Discovery Place.
Elizabeth Wiles, PR & Operations Manager
Mountain SOL School