St. Stephen’s Students Travel to Shield Ranch

As part of St. Stephen’s West Texas Program, 17 students led by a group of teachers traveled to Shield Ranch from Thursday, Nov. 3 returning Friday, Nov 4. It was the school’s first overnight trip in three years! 

Students and teachers stayed in newly built shelters, which are off-the-grid cabins.  Students used rain water showers and composting toilets, and truly experienced 100% self-reliant, fully sustainable living. Even their food was locally sourced from nearby farms, and we ate venison harvested on the ranch!  
Thursday started with a scavenger hunt. Teams of students looked for native plants, animals, and geology.  Then after lunch, they and the teachers went on a 3-mile guided hike with a Shield Ranch employee. They had a chance to do a guided "forest bathing" activity, which involves listening and being present in nature.  All the students had great things to say about the activity and they shared how relaxed they felt afterwards. Later that evening the group had a large campfire, and students learned how to build and feed a fire. The payoff was enjoying s'mores and shared stories. Friday morning, the group worked hard for 5 hours preparing a large swath of land, then seeding it with native grasses and wildflowers. 

It was a great, short first trip back. Students and chaperones truly enjoyed learning about the environment, working to protect the land, and spending time together.
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213