About Walden West

For over 60 years, Walden West has provided hands-on, outdoor school experiences in the environmental sciences for the children of Santa Clara County. Walden West’s main facility, in the Saratoga hills, and a second location in the Cupertino hills use the outdoors to teach science concepts while introducing students to natural environments.

All Walden West programs are based on the California State Science Standards and integrate Common Core objectives. In addition to a respected week-long residential program for fifth and sixth-grade students, Walden West offers day-long field trips for K–6 graders at the Abby Sobrato Science and Sustainability Center.

Walden West created and operates Growing Gardens for Growing Minds to engage students in outdoorgarden-based lessons at their own school sites.

The popular summer programs and facility rental revenues support Outdoor School programming. Wild Things (K-1), Trail Blazers (3rd-5th), Day Camp (2nd-7th), Leaders in Training (8th-9th), Backpack Adventures (ages 11-19) and Sustainability Center Summer Programs (5th-9th) are led by Walden West naturalists, aided by volunteer summer counselors. One thousand high school and college students receive community service hours each year for volunteering in the summer and during the school year at Walden West.

Walden West Mission and Goals


The mission of the Walden West is to immerse students in the world of science and inspire environmental stewardship. Our goals are to:

  • Provide a residential science camp experience for 5th and 6th grade students.
  • Support our environmentally sustainable science teaching center for use by all students, teachers and families throughout Santa Clara County.
  • Teach full-day science programs addressing life, and earth sciences for K-12 students.
  • Develop collaborative science partnership programs with leading Silicon Valley companies and educational institutions.
  • Prepare students for continuing environmental stewardship in their communities through programs such as Growing Gardens for Growing Minds, and Eco Action projects at school and at home.
  • Provide a setting that encourages personal growth, emotional maturity and respect for others across all demographic backgrounds.