Outdoor Education Program

Instructor and a student at Lorado Taft

Lorado Taft Field Campus provides resident outdoor education programs to 6000+ elementary and middle-school students each year. Groups come from many districts throughout the northern Illinois region.  The most common stay is a three day/two night, but we do offer options for a two day/one night, four day/three night, or a five day/four-night stay.  Or, if the residential option isn't feasible, we also offer half-day and full-day trip options.  

Taft's Outdoor Education Program teaches an appreciation, understanding, and awareness of the natural community by studying and interacting with the natural world.  Underlying a visit to Taft is the belief that learning is not only restricted to the classroom but is also accomplished in the world around us. Through the combination of related, multidisciplinary activities and interaction with the natural world, we hope that students will not only acquire new knowledge but will also come to appreciate this philosophy.

School and Taft Staff prepare a variety of activities and projects. The activities take advantage of the area's natural surroundings using the environment as a natural stimulus for learning. Activities may include reading and language arts, science, health, social studies, and physical education.

Each school is assigned a specialist to work with school staff to design a program that meets the students' needs. Classes are taught by Taft staff and school staff.

Taft Campus is located near Oregon, Illinois. The scenic campus is next to the Rock River and adjacent to Lowden State Park. Students sleep dormitory style in bunk beds with boys and girls housed in separate rooms or buildings. Meals are served family style in the dining hall.

School staff and adult chaperones are responsible for supervision and discipline. The ratio of adults to students is approximately one to 10.

Taft Campus employs a nurse who is on site from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The nurse packages medications and dispenses them at morning and noon meals. School personnel dispenses evening medications. All students are required to have a completed and signed health form before they can participate in the program. Taft Campus carries a basic accident and illness insurance policy on all participants. In addition, Taft staff are trained in First Aid, CPR, and AED.

Taft Campus has handicapped accessible dorms and buildings. The school staff needs to make Taft staff aware of limitations so accommodations can be made.

Students do not have access to a telephone during their visit. In the event of an emergency, a message can be delivered to school staff.

A Taft staff member is on site in a manager-on-duty role throughout the school's visit. Maintenance personnel are available to take care of any emergencies in the evening.

Students need to dress for the weather since classes will be outside. Pack only old clothes and shoes. New clothes may be ruined by heavy outdoor use. Students must bring a sleeping bag or bedroll. A pillow is provided. Refer to the packing list for specific items.