March 2014 Newsletter

Education Coordinator, Tricia Biles, Represents at International Conference

Tricia Biles, Director of Student Services and Assistant Education Director for Echo Hill Outdoor School, represented EHOS recently at the Association for Experiential Education’s International Conference in Denver, Colorado. Tricia’s workshop, From Words to Actions, Innovations for a Mission-Focused Team, engaged participants in a ninety-minute, experiential professional development session.

Embracing her strong passion for mission-based professional training and development, Tricia designed creative, thought-provoking exercises, which facilitated personal growth for all attendees. The session was inspired by Echo Hill Outdoor School’s deep commitment to a mission-focused workplace and years of experience leading seasonal staff trainings.

“The helium hoop activity, an experience in unity and perseverance, spoke volumes to this group. One participant said that she plans to use that activity with her Board of Directors. As hula hoops are not props well suited to air travel, I was pleased that I made the effort to borrow the hoops from a schoolteacher in Denver. Walking through the hotel lobby carrying a bunch of brightly colored hula hoops, even at an AEE conference, was an unusual sight. I drew many smiles and made a few friends.”

While at the three-day conference, Tricia participated in three other workshops. One full day was spent alongside Karl Rhonke, an industry forefather and author of many of the enduring games and activities that are a staple of our Echo Hill Outdoor School program in adventure education. Karl’s workshop examined the role of fun in the student experience and introduced many interactive, whimsical pastimes.

In Tricia’s words, “Working with Karl for a full day was a true gift. I enjoyed his stories, sense of fun, and industry perspective.”

Your Voice, Your Story was the topic of the keynote address given by Hilary Blair, a professional voice coach and CEO of ARTiculate in Denver, CO. Her keynote speech and subsequent workshop offered powerful insights and practice in meaningful public speaking.

A third workshop, entitled Social Justice in 3D, where issues of social identity were explored from many perspectives, rounded out Tricia’s conference experience. Says Tricia, “This is where the advantage of an international conference was most apparent for me. It was enlightening to explore social justice issues with such a diverse group of people.”

Tricia’s presentation at the AEE conference aligned with the conclusion of her practicum in school leadership. Tricia completed her practicum here at Echo Hill Outdoor School. Now a recent graduate from Wilmington University, Tricia holds a Masters of Education in School Leadership.

EHOS Spring Break Eco-Escape at Echo Hill


Summer Explore Trip Sign-Ups
Give your children the first hand opportunity to explore the ecology and cultural history of the Chesapeake as part of our popular Summer “Explore” trip program. Sign-ups are open now for a variety of trip types including three day camping or four or five day canoe or aboard our historic skipjack “Elsworth” or buy boat “Annie D” for five day trips.

These trips are terrific learning experiences as participants travel together as a group and explore the waters of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Swimming, fishing, crabbing, sleeping under the stars and taking time to relax is what life on an Explore trip is all about. Echo Hill trip leaders are experienced educators with a variety of educational and geographical backgrounds who are dedicated to communicating an appreciation and respect for nature and people. The trips combine fun, learning and challenges designed to make the experience memorable.

Summer Explore Preview

Click here for information and registration forms or call us for a brochure: 410-348-5880.

“I learned a lot about the river, habitats, canoeing and even friendship. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to learn more about the outdoors, meet new people and have fun. You will have a great time.” - Explore Participant

The Nature-Rich Life - Richard Louv Special Presentation
Washington College, Radcliffe Creek School and Echo Hill Outdoor School are happy to present an upcoming program featuring Richard Louv, best selling author of "The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age" and "Last Child in the Woods." Open to the public, this program is also seen as a vital part of our spring staff training. Mr. Louv will discuss the nature-rich life, nature-rich cities, nature-rich homes, nature-rich schools and more.

Supported by groundbreaking research, anecdotal evidence, and compelling personal stories, Louv identifies seven basic concepts that can help us reshape our lives. By tapping into the restorative powers of nature, we can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds.

According to Mr. Louv, “the future will belong to the nature-smart–those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

In Appreciation...Mike's Ride
In May of 2012 Echo Hill Outdoor School lost a founding board member, outdoor education advocate, and friend, Michael Hertz. A subsequent outpouring of support from those Michael touched in his personal and work life helped form the basis for the Michael F. Hertz Memorial Fund. Contributions were directed toward the maintenance of our historic boat fleet reflecting Michael’s love of Chesapeake Bay waterways. We are happy to report that a portion of these funds helped the school refurbish and equip a boat renamed Mike’s Ride. Mike’s Ride began its work in the summer of 2013 where it was used for shoreline exploration during one-day Bay Studies programs on the Chester River. Many thanks to the contributors to the Hertz Fund for remembering Mike in this manner and the positive effect their thoughtfulness has meant for our programs.

Cool Outdoor Stuff - A Series from The Chestertown Spy

Each year, the University of Maryland Terrapins defend the state’s honor in athletics to the thrill of millions of fans, but Cool Outdoor Stuff’s Andrew McCown is the real diamondback terrapin fanboy. In this episode, Echo Hill Outdoor School‘s associate director reminds us of the unique turtle, so endemic to the Chesapeake Bay region.

View more Cool Outdoor Stuff by clicking here.

Staff Alumni Update - Where are they now?

We’ve recently heard from some recent Echo Hill staff alumni. Of special interest is how their experiences at Echo Hill helped prepare and guide future work. Let’s visit with a few….



Lucas Kelly:
Current Work: Teaching at the Voyager’s Community School
Future Plans: I am working on my Masters in Teaching at Maryland University College. I plan to continue in teaching and working as an outdoor educator.
Echo Hill Take-Aways: My work at EHOS enabled me to establish the Voyager’s Outdoor Program for 7th and 8th graders.

Katie Manik:
Current Work: Freshman at Longwood University in Virginia, member of outdoor club.
Future Plans: Plan on being an elementary/middle school teacher with a focus in natural and space sciences.
Echo Hill Take-Aways: Working at Echo Hill definitely shaped my interests and helped guide me in the direction of choosing the right major in college.

Alex Crooks:
Current Work: Teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School in Washington DC; Coach for “Girls on the Run” which helps get inner city girls active and always moving forward.
Future Plans: Teaching in an environment that lets me reconnect to nature, possibly in Maine or Colorado.
Echo Hill Take-Aways: I encountered so many people who attended EHOS as a student it was amazing. All remembered the name, the tents and the swamp. They loved it and I can say I was proud to be part of it!

Jody Hopp:
Current Work: Naturalist at Eagle Outdoor Learning Center
Future Plans: Working at nature centers and state or federal parks
Echo Hill Take-Aways: 5-day canoe and boating trips were very special to the children and me. The numerous stories, songs and knowledge acquired from my fellow staff I now use today in my classes.

Kim Schubert:
Current Work: Working on my Masters Degree in Environmental Education; graduate assistant in the Siskiyou Environmental Education Center; Internship with Rogue Valley Farm School; Board member of the Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Future Plans: While in school we will spend the next year developing an environmental education program for local schools, creating the curriculum, marketing, logistics, budget and lesson plans. I hope to be a naturalist for a park or non-profit.
Echo Hill Take-Aways: The teaching methods and practices I learned at Echo Hill match the methods I am learning in my classes (hands-on, Bloom taxonomy, lesson plan set-up, positive reinforcement, multiple learning strategies, teachable moments). I also have a better idea of child psychology from talking to real children - much better than reading about it in a textbook. I feel years beyond many of my classmates. Echo Hill exposed me to the Chesapeake flora and fauna-I love comparing the Chesapeake to the Oregon ecosystem.
Everything that I learn at school I apply to Echo Hill. I think about what I would do differently to improve swamp ecology or SLOP or tent side. Sometimes I wish I could go back and use all these new skills. I hope everyone at Echo Hill manages to find ways to grow and learn, somewhere in the wonderful craziness of Echo Hill.

Jake Miller:
Current Work:
Operations lead for Patagonia in Washington D.C.; recently completed an internship with the American Rivers, which involves protecting healthy and vulnerable rivers through advocacy and lobbying
Future Plans: I plan on protecting and preserving our wild places. The most important experiences I’ve had thus far came from areas of wilderness, and I hope to ensure that those same experiences are accessible to others in the future.
Echo Hill Take-Aways: I think the first time I saw a child from D.C. hold an Atlantic Blue Crab, I knew exactly why I was at Echo Hill. Introducing children from extreme urban areas to an incredibly diverse ecosystem was a challenging and rewarding experience that I’ll always be thankful for. There is no comparison to the fulfillment received when you’re witnessing middle school students connecting their everyday activities to the health and future of the planet.

Kate Matthews:
Current Work: Studying for my Masters in Mental Health Counseling at Shippensburg University; teaching yoga and “doing” farmer’s markets in D.C. I went through a wonderful yoga teacher training at Kripalu in Massachusetts. Among my yoga friends, I was the one to point out where the poison ivy was along the trails and to notice the frogs, turtles and bald eagle at the lake.
Future Plans: I hope to meld yoga with counseling.
Echo Hill Take-Aways: You can take the girl out of EHOS, but you can’t take EHOS out of the girl. Probably the most influential take-away from Echo Hill is that of experiential education and fostering creativity, self-awareness and self-confidence in every child – something I hope to continue to bring to clients and students.

Kodee Cloninger:
Current Work: Recently in Central America doing a mix of traveling, volunteering, and touching base with past jobs through some on-site demonstrations. Also, I recently finished volunteering with public schools on Grenada and Nicaragua
Future Plans: To return to Echo Hill
Echo Hill Take-Aways: So many! An adventure is not an adventure without mud between my toes. I make sure to embrace that in full EHOS style. Also, the type of education and activities we provide really stimulate learning and seeing that and using that in a number of settings is really inspiring!

Jack Klim:
Current Work: A student at Fort Lewis College in Colorado majoring in environmental studies with a minor in adventure education.


Stay tuned, more to come...

As Timeless as the Bay

A planned (or estate) gift to Echo Hill Outdoor School will help ensure we continue our tradition of providing the best in experiential outdoor education to future/students and participants.
We instill a deeper appreciation for nature and the Chesapeake ecosystem and each other. Please help us continue this tradition. Contact us at 410-348-5880 for details.

Have a Boat to Donate?
Boat donations have helped sustain our mission over the years and may continue to do so. Your gift may help subsidize tuition for worthy students facing tuition gaps from their schools or school districts, help underwrite maintenance and equipment for our historic fleet of Chesapeake Bay workboats, ensure quality teachers for our programs, or help with campus maintenance and infrastructure upgrades. It is a gift that will have a lasting impact. And your donation can provide you with a tax deduction upon our sale of the boat.

If you have boat in good and marketable condition, please consider Echo Hill Outdoor School in your plans.

Boat donations are subject to the EHOS gift acceptance policy and IRS gifting regulations. Please contact us at 410-348-5880 or for details. We’d be happy to talk with you!