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Elementary School

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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.

  • 71% of our students maintain a grade of B or above.

  • Explorers students have a positive experience in nature 99% of the time.

  • RPS teachers report using our curriculum in the classroom 99% of the time.

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 serve over 2,000 students every month at the following elementary schools - check out active locations below, and if your kids do not attend any of these schools or programs, contact us to express interest in starting a new club:

  • 3rd-5th grade students at the following schools:
    • Bellevue ES
    • Blackwell ES
    • Chimborazo ES
    • Elizabeth D. Redd ES
    • Fairfield Court ES
    • George Mason ES
    • George W. Carver ES
    • Ginter Park ES
    • Miles Jones ES
    • Oak Grove-Bellemeade ES
    • Overby-Sheppard ES
    • Swansboro ES
    • Westover Hills ES
    • Woodville ES

Explorers is funded in part by the CarMax Foundation, Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, Herndon Foundation, Memorial Foundation for Children, Richmond Kiwanis Foundation, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, Robins Foundation, Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, Shelton H. Short, Jr. Trust, and the Virginia Environmental Endowment.

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“My students enjoyed the natural environment, as few of them have had this type of exposure.”

- 2nd Grade Bellevue Elementary Teacher.

“The lessons were all interrelated to curriculum previously or currently taught, so will be referred to [in the classroom].”

- 5th Grade George Mason Elementary Teacher.

“I loved this field experience, and so did the students - they were engaged the entire time.”

- 2nd Grade Chimborazo Elementary School Teacher.


Check out photos of the Explorers program from previous years!