The Keewaydin Environmental Education Center (KEEC) offers hands-on, experiential learning in a variety of natural habitats, all within only a few miles of our campus in Salisbury, Vermont. Our educational values are rooted in the concept of community and we strive to empower students with a better understanding of how their personal daily decisions can affect the environment. Drawing from the natural world in which we live and study, we incorporate history, science, math, language arts, geology, and physical education into a series of investigations that integrate with school curricula.
Keewaydin provides a learning environment that is vastly different than a traditional week of school. Learning at Keewaydin involves the mind, the body and the heart. We can read about decomposers and the soil cycle in books at school; but at KEEC the students go out to turn over rocks to find and examine these critters. The kids love it! The hikes in the forest, the small study teams, the emphasis on active participation, the prominence of group cooperation, the community responsibilities; it all adds up to a magical experience!” – Alyson Patch, teacher, Sanderson School
Why Leave Your School Building for an Education?
- To provide students with different styles of teaching and appealing to multiple intelligences.
- To allow teachers to observe students learning and thriving in ways not always apparent in the classroom.
- To enhance group dynamics within a class.
- To provide an experience that broadens students’ perspectives.
- To provide an outdoor experience with hands-on activities while exploring the Earth’s cycles
- To help students build a relationship with the natural world without modern distractions.
Still Not Convinced? Writer and professor David Sobel writes about learning beyond the classroom.
Our educational values are rooted in the concept of community, drawing from the natural world in which we live and study. We offer hands-on, experiential learning through a variety of teaching styles in a variety of natural habitats that serve as our outdoor classroom. Our goal for students is to gain a better understanding of their role in communities, both human and non-human. Students will do this through a discovery approach using all five senses and exploring with mind and body. It is our belief that with a better understanding of the natural world, students will begin to make personal and daily decisions according to those practices that will benefit all communities, not just the human community.
My class grows as a community more in one week at KEEC than they do the whole year together in a traditional classroom. KEEC is such a great way for students to learn about their surroundings, in their surroundings. The program helps kids understand where basic items, like milk, come from and all the resources it takes to produce products we never stop to think about. For many of my students, KEEC is the only time in their lives that they eat family style –isn’t that crazy?”– Amy Clapp, Teacher, Salisbury Elementary School
- To gain a better understanding of communities, both human and non-human
- To improve students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills
- To expand students awareness of how their actions affect the world around them
- To develop a heightened sense of responsibility toward all communities
- To have a safe, fun week learning outdoors
We accomplish these objectives through a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching by addressing a variety of learning styles. We strive to emphasize concepts taught in the school classroom and expand upon students’ ability to explore these ideas.
History & Community
The Keewaydin Environmental Education Center (KEEC) was founded in the fall of 1973 by Abbott Fenn and Alfred “Waboos” Hare, then co-owners and directors of Keewaydin Camps. Both retired schoolteachers, KEEC was inspired by a combination of their strong interest in education and their love of the outdoors, as well as their desire to use the summer camp property for more than two months of the year. The curriculum was based initially on an environmental education workshop developed by the US Forest Service.
By the mid-1980’s, educator, Barry Schultz King, and naturalist, Warren King , expanded the program curriculum and helped develop long lasting relationships with many different schools around Vermont. Together, Barry and Warren led KEEC until 1996. In 2005, Tim Tadlock took over as Director and has steadily guided the program ever since.
Vermont and New England schools, such as Chester-Andover, have been attending since 1973.
I find the extracurricular experiences to be as valuable, if not more valuable than the academic learning. Students discover they can be away from home and survive on their own, even if at first they are homesick; this realization is an amazing confidence booster. Keewaydin’s traditions; daily chores, family-style meals, community songs, and waste watch, are irreplaceable experiences, especially for the children in whose families these traditions are missing.” – Jane Phinney, Educator, Bingham Elementary
Plan Your KEEC Trip
Here you will find all of the information you to aid in planning your school’s KEEC trip. If you haven’t already, and would like to schedule a trip or have any questions about the information below, please contact Tim Tadlock, Director of KEEC at [email protected].
To print or download the files below, select the name of the form you want to open. After it downloads please feel free to print and make copies for distribution to parents and chaperones.
(These files are updated annually. Please use these instead of older versions you have on file.)
Director & Instructors
Tim Tadlock, Director of Keewaydin Environmental Education Center, [email protected].
Tim has been the Director of the Keewaydin Environmental Education Center since 2005, after joining the KEEC staff in 2000. As a graduate of Prescott College in Arizona, Tim’s studies emphasized community building in experiential education settings. Tim has been a member of the Keewaydin community since 1997 when he joined the summer staff at Keewaydin Dunmore. During the summer he remains very involved in the camp, serving as the Keewaydin Dunmore Head of Tripping.
KEEC staff are college graduates from all over the United States. Some instructors come with a strong background in environmental sciences or related fields, while others have a wealth of experience working with children. Together we form a unique community whose strength is reflected in the success of the program. The KEEC instructor’s role is to guide the process of thought discovery and to foster enthusiasm for the learning process. Throughout the week our energetic staff helps to develop community in all aspects of the program; from cabin life to job duties. All of our staff hold current certifications in First Aid and CPR.
If you are interested in becoming an instructor, please email Tim.