Our program | Meals | Lodging

Our program

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center’s Jawbone Flats campus hosts overnight education programs from April through October.  At Opal Creek you will find:

Natural classroom – our site is surrounded by 35,000 acres of pristine old-growth and second-growth forest, protected from ridgeline to ridgeline to form a fully intact temperate rainforest watershed.

Custom curricula – we work with you to customize each program to best suit the educational focus of your group.

Professionalism – our on-site instructors are college graduates with degrees in the natural sciences or in education.  All are Wilderness First Responders and undergo extensive training in outdoor teaching methods and safety procedures.

Laboratory classroom – our solar-powered Commissary provides space for your students to take field investigations to the next level.  Students will use the Commissary to identify plants, examine mosses and lichen under microscopes, and more.

Natural history – our curriculum options include Old-Growth Forest Ecology, Stream Ecology, Northwest Geology, and Wildlife Ecology.

Cultural history – Opal Creek’s unique mining and conservation history serves as an ideal backdrop to discuss Oregon’s cultural history.

All visits begin with a three-mile interpretive hike along the Opal Creek trail into Jawbone Flats.  Upon arrival, students are introduced to our off-grid educational community, use the concepts discussed on their hike in afternoon activities, and engage in evening programs after dinner. View a sample itinerary here (PDF).

One-night programs offer an introduction to old-growth forest ecology.  Multi-night programs offer your choice of full-day field studies, combined with classroom lab time. All programs run from noon to noon.

When Mrs. Carlson’s students returned, they wanted to redo their state science test–they felt they understood things better after this experience!
–Kylie, instructional coordinator, Boones Ferry Primary School

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Hearty, healthy, mostly-vegetarian meals are prepared by our renowned kitchen staff with each overnight stay. Even the pickiest kids love Jawbone food!

Our outdoor school menu is formulated to be kid-friendly and provide all the energy they need to explore and learn. We can easily accommodate the following food restrictions at any time: vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free. For all other restrictions or allergies, please ask as soon as possible after registration. Our program coordinator will ask your trip organizer to collect this information and communicate it at least two weeks before your trip. Please note that we do process nuts and wheat/gluten in our kitchen.

Meals are served buffet-style in the dining room on the first floor of the lodge. We ask teachers and chaperones to serve the students to ensure proper portion control.

Breakfast (8:00am) consists of a selection of hot and cold menu items. Hot breakfast options include: french toast, pancakes, baked goods, oatmeal, eggs, roasted potatoes. Cold breakfast options include: fruit, granola, yogurt.

Lunch consists of a pack-your-own sandwich buffet with peanut butter and jelly, hummus, vegetables, sandwich meat/tuna salad, sliced cheese, and pickles. Snacks to pack with lunch may include fruit, pretzels, popcorn, or trail mix.

Dinner (6:00pm) always includes green salad, a vegetable side, and dessert. Ingredients will vary by season to take advantage of local, fresh options.

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The lodge. Photo credit: Robert Graves

Students are housed in bunkroom-style accommodations. Teachers and chaperones are responsible for student supervision from the end of the evening program through breakfast the following morning.

Our primary student accommodations are the lodge and bunkhouse.

Lodge accommodations consist of three bedrooms with bunk-beds and one full bathroom on the second floor above the dining area. The lodge sleeps a total of 18 people.

Bunkhouse accommodations consist of one dormitory-style room with bunk-beds and one full bathroom. The bunkhouse sleeps a total of 20 people and is located across Battle Ax Creek from the lodge. The bunkhouse is heated by a wood stove protected with a steel grate.

The bunkhouse.

Please note that due to the high demand for our programs, groups of 40 individuals or less will likely be sharing camp with another educational group. We strive to host groups of approximately the same age range at the same time. All lodging and instruction spaces are kept separate, but dining hall times are shared.

If two groups are sharing camp, the smaller group will be housed in our rental cabins at the program coordinator’s discretion. Please check in with the program coordinator with any questions about your lodging assignment.

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