Eatonville middle schoolers at the Mt. Rainier Institute

In the 2016-2017 school year, Mr. Erik Danielson, physical education teacher at Eatonville Middle School, decided to take the entire seventh grade student body snowshoeing at Mount Rainier National Park. Over the course of three school days, all the students were able to participate. During this trip, the students learned about outdoor survival skills in the mountains. This field trip is now an annual event.

To start the 2017-2018 school year, Mr. Danielson has continued to focus on combining outdoor education with physical education. He has one period of seventh and eighth grade students. This class is where they will focus on outdoor education. During September, “Mr. D.” (as students address him), invited Mitch McWilliams to come speak. Mitch McWilliams is the Director of Camp Arnold Outdoor Skills. Mr. McWilliams taught the class teambuilding, orienteering, and the ten essentials. With these new skills, Mr. D organized a day hike to the University of Washington’s Pack Forest in tandem with Mount Rainier Institute.

Eatonville middle schoolers circle around a map The Director of Mount Rainier Institute, John Hayes, and his staff came up with an agenda. They had five stations along this five-mile hike that focused on outdoor skills.

These skills included:

  • knot tying
  • the seven essentials of “Leave No Trace”
  • how top pack for a day or overnight hike
  • what foods to pack and how to purify water in the woods
  • orienteering

Mr. Danielson will continue to take his classes on these two field trips as long as he is teaching at Eatonville Middle School. Mr. D. is passionate about taking our students to learn about the outdoor resources in our very own backyard. Eatonville Middle School is so grateful for these backyard resources and community partners!

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