About Walden West

For over 70 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. Annually, Walden West serves over 5,000 students during the school year and 2,000 more during the summer.

All Walden West programs are based on the Next Generation 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 created and operates Growing Gardens for Growing Minds to engage students in outdoor garden-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), World of Wonder (2nd-7th), Trail Blazers (3rd-6th), Leaders in Training (8th), Junior Counselors (9th) and Family Camp are led by Walden West naturalists, aided by volunteer summer counselors.

Almost 1,000 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 Outdoor School Goals - Connect Four - "Connection to...":

  1. Building Community: On trail and amongst peers, we prioritize the importance of communication, cooperation, and respect for all we interact with and encounter. This mindset enables real-life human connection that supports and tightly unifies Walden West as family.

  2. Magic of Nature: Walden West is located amongst one of the world’s most amazing types of natural forests, the redwood forest. This unique habitat stands as a backdrop to our campers’ experiences and discoveries. All campers will leave Walden West with a stronger connection to our natural world. 

  3. Student Leadership: Walden West strives for the continual cultivation of leadership, which expands from the youngest of campers to the programming team.  All staff nurture tomorrow’s leaders by creating impactful programming that intentionally utilizes and supports peer leadership.

  4. Having Fun: Our goal is to develop life-lasting memories in a culture and climate of ‘electric positivity’. This collective enthusiasm fuels an excitement that connects all of camp in unity.

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