In-School Programs

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Explorers enjoy the opportunity to learn about nature from being in nature.

The Explorers program serves 2nd through 5th grade students and teachers from Richmond City Public Schools. Once a month, students travel outside their urban environments to explore the Richmond area’s natural environments, including Belle Isle, Pocahontas State Park, and Shalom Farms. The Explorers curriculum includes hands-on science SOL instruction, team building, and a focus on respect for one another and the environment.

Program History

In 2008, this program began in partnership with Oak Grove-Bellemeade and Chimborazo Elementary Schools. For two years committed Blue Sky Fund volunteers, teachers, and 3rd grade students met one Saturday a month to discover more about themselves and their environment. In 2010 the schools identified a need to address low performance on Virginia Science SOL tests and partnered with Blue Sky to meet this need with creative, hands on, experiential field trip learning. Blue Sky began offering the Explorers program as a 3rd grade school field trip at no cost to the schools and their students.

Since then the program has grown to include 8 elementary schools, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes, and many partner organizations including the James River Park System and Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. Explorers field trips have been embraced by schools and the community and now serve 2,000 students every month. We look forward to all our future growth!

For more information on our ’15-’16 school year, please see the Explorers Program Report.

Explorers is funded in part by the Virginia Environmental Endowment, Dominion Foundation, CarMax Foundation, Robins Foundation, ERM Group Foundation, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, Richmond Kiwanis Foundation, Altria Companies Employee Community Fund and Memorial Foundation for Children.

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Check out photos of the Explorers program from previous years!