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Sixty Potomac Middle School seventh grade students are participating in the NatureBridge program and will camp out in Prince William Forest Park for three days and two nights to fully immerse themselves in nature.

“It’s important for our students to be exposed to an educational field trip that takes them out of their comfort zone and requires them to use critical thinking skills while building strong relationships with their classmates,” said Potomac Middle School Principal Rachel Preston.

During the trip, students will stay in cabins with access to a dining lodge and bath house. They will perform hands-on environmental science investigations like testing pH levels in nearby creeks and conducting reptile and amphibian studies. Students will also participate in team-building exercises and learn life skills like problem-solving. The activities will also help prepare seventh grade students for the Life Science SOL exam they will take next year in eighth grade.

The cost to participate in this program is normally $324 per child. However, thanks to a grant from NatureBridge and the Prince William County Public Schools Department of Student Learning, all participating students can attend free of charge.

NatureBridge was founded in 1971, when a high school teacher named Don Rees took a group of 50 high school students to Yosemite National Park for a week-long adventure. Today, NatureBridge connects more than 35,000 students and 700 schools to the wonder and science of nature each year. They hold programs in Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate Park, Olympic National Park, and Prince William Forest Park.