Outdoor school to mark 25 years with open house

April 08, 2004

CLEAR SPRING - The Fairview Outdoor Education Center, nestled along the slopes of the mountain that bears its name, is opening its gates to the public Saturday, April 24, for a celebration marking 25 years of bringing together youngsters and nature.

An open house will be held at the 100-acre site at 12808 Draper Road beginning at 9 a.m. The intent is to introduce the school to newcomers and to reacquaint former students with the facility.

Activities begin at noon with bird hikes, nature hikes, geology hikes, reptile displays, a rain barrel workshop and singing by Todd Vogtman.

The rain barrel workshop entails providing materials and knowledge to assemble a rain barrel at home. Each participant will be charged $5 for supplies.


A tree planting will take place at 4 p.m. followed by a 5 p.m. picnic for which reservations are required. In addition to food, there will be door prizes, awards and a memory microphone to share experiences from years ago.

The Fairview Outdoor Education Center was opened in 1979 north of Clear Spring on land that had been purchased for development of the nearby Clear Spring high and middle schools.

Built mainly with Project Open Space money, the center became home to outdoor programs that previously were held at Camp Misty Mount in the Catoctin Mountains near Camp David.

There are three components to the Fairview curriculum:

  • The fifth-grade residential program involves a four-day stay with teachers and chaperones, with activities centered on pond and stream study, archaeology, orienteering, forestry and predator/prey relationships as well as team building and challenge course work.

    Students stay in dorms and family-style meals are served.

  • Day trip and overnight trip elective programs are available to students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

  • High school science students and teachers can participate in a Bridging the Watershed program on the Upper Potomac River, partnering with the National Park Service.

Day trips include testing water quality while in canoes or on pontoon boats with Fairview staff, teachers and park rangers. Boating safety also is a component.

Approximately 6,000 students annually participate in programs at Fairview Outdoor Education Center.

For more information, call 301-766-8138.

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