The Outdoor Education Program offers a wealth of learning, adventure and recreational experiences in a variety of outdoor settings.
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Charlton Perry has worked at St. Stephen's for more than 20 years. During that time, he has served in many capacities—as a teacher, coach and steward of our land helping students explore our campus as a resource for education and recreation. The relationships he develops with students help him coordinates the different grade-level activities, including the 8th-grade Big Bend trip each spring. This epic camping adventure gives students and faculty the opportunity to experience nature and the beauty of West Texas. In addition, he oversees our Land Management Program, a comprehensive initiative to manage the undeveloped portions of campus.
Perry also serves as director of the Class Land Project. Every incoming 6th-grade class is given a parcel of land that they study and steward for the duration of their time on campus. The first class to complete graduated in 2018 with goals that included thinning out the cedar trees. Current parcels follow the entrance road on the north side of the road. Lastly, he is program head for DCAP. This wilderness program gives students the opportunity to participate in nontraditional sports that emphasize the outdoors and utilize the natural Hill Country land of our campus.
As director of the West Texas Project, Danielle Horton seeks to expose students to the outdoors and, more specifically, to open spaces that are unique to Texas. She leads student groups on overnight trips to Nature Conservancy land and private ranches throughout West Texas. Horton and her students focus on learning about the ecology, geology, hydrology, history, ranching economics, water rights and invasive species of the areas they visit. Students perform a service project on each trip, usually working with local ranchers on Nature Conservancy land to improve the outlook for wildlife. Through these hands-on, immersive activities, students experience camping, hiking and the outdoors while learning about pertinent land issues facing Texans today.
Through his biology classes, Dean Mohlman leads students on a number of outdoor education activities. These include creating a Habitat Restoration Area on campus, as well as removing invasive species and monitoring wildlife as part of the school’s Field Research Station. He also leads student trips to explore the biodiversity of Devil’s Canyon and to study fossils and geology near Terlingua in West Texas.
Through Lauren Murphy’s environmental science class, students conduct eco-audits of campus air quality and water usage, perform field work labs for species diversity sampling, and conduct soil quality and water quality testing. She also leads student field trips to the Texas coast for a beach clean-up effort and visit to the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Barton Springs University to learn about Austin’s watershed, a local farm to study sustainable agriculture, and Bamberger Ranch for lessons in land management and restoration strategies. As faculty sponsor of the Green Goblins, the environmental and sustainability club for students, Murphy also assists students with composting activities and planting wildflower seeds on campus.