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Outdoor Education

Element of Jackson's Mill Ropes Course

Welcome to WVU Jackson’s Mill, an ideal destination for outdoor education and recreation in the heart of West Virginia. Our outdoor education team can guide your group through team building activities, environmental education lessons, or recreation opportunities like kayaking and tomahawk throwing. Whatever your outdoor interests or experience level may be, our team promises an engaging and active learning environment.

Customized learning for K-12 students

Visits can be customized for grades K-12. Programs can be focused on a variety of topics including:

“All of Jackson’s Mill is your outdoor classroom. You don’t need to bring anything but yourself and your excitement to learn and experience the outdoors in a new way.”  Larel Teter - WVU Jackson's Mill Program Coordinator – Outdoor Education and Recreation

Curriculum standards support class learning requirements

Classes and activities range from approximately 30 to 120 minutes depending on the chosen topic.

Activities include:

Nature Sculptures (Grades K-8)
Youth will create three-dimensional sculptures using natural materials the students find and collect around WVU Jackson's Mill campus.

Nature Alphabet (Grades K-5)

Youth will spell out their name using letters created by natural materials the students find and collect around WVU Jackson's Mill campus.

Nature Faces (Grades 6-8)
Youth will create three-dimensional "faces" with natural materials the students find and collect around WVU Jackson's Mill campus.

Shadow Tag (Grades K-12)
Youth will play a game of tag where the "tagging" happens by stepping on the shadows of the other students. 

Shadow Sidewalk Chalk (Grades K-12)
Students will get into small groups of three to four and trace each other's shadow outlines with sidewalk chalk. They'll color in and fill their own shadows with designs that reflect their personality and interests.

Human Sundial (Grades K-12)

Students will be in small groups of three to four and choose one person of their group to have their shadow outline traced. At designated time intervals, their outline will be retraced and will reflect the sun's movement throughout the day.

Bug Art (Grades K-8)
Youth will design and create three-dimensional bugs using materials the students find and collect on WVU Jackson's Mill campus.

Rainbow Rainy Day Art (Grades K-8)
Students will create rainbow art on cardstock paper and leave it in the rain. The group will discuss what happened with the color and the cause of it.

Stick Maze (Grades 3-12)
Youth will work together in groups to design and build a maze using sticks, branches, and twigs they find on WVU Jackson's Mill campus as the maze paths.

Disc Golf (Grades 3-12)

Youth will play disc golf on the WVU Jackson's Mill course. The style of gameplay will depend on the group's size and age.

Hug A Tree (Grades 6-12)
Students will choose a tree and describe it using some of their senses.

Nature Weaving (Grades 6-12)
Students will create woven picture frames using sticks they find on campus and string provided to them. 

Knot Tying (Grades 6-12)
Students learn to make different types of knots and the common uses for each type.

Nature Walk (Grades K-12)

Students will go on a guided educational nature walk on a WVU Jackson's Mill trail. Age and grade appropriate nature topics will be highlighted and discussed.

Scavenger Hunt (Grades K-12)
Students will be broken into small groups and participate in a nature scavenger hunt around WVU Jackson's Mill.

Ropes Course (Grades 6-12)
Groups will spend time participating in activities on the WVU Jackson's Mill low ropes challenge course.

Rock Wall (Grades 3-12)

Youth will get to spend time attempting the climbing paths of varying difficulties o  the WVU Jackson's Mill climbing wall.

Bike Safety/Mountain Biking (Grades K-12)
Youth will learn grade-specific bicycle and helmet safety topics. Students in sixth grade and above may be able to ride mountain bikes around WVU Jackson's Mill campus. All students must already be able to ride a bike as one-on-one instruction will not be provided.

Leaf/Tree Identification (Grades 3-12)
Students will learn grade appropriate leaf and tree identification facts of tree species found in West Virginia.

Parachutes (Grades K-5)
Youth will participate as a large group in parachute-based recreation activities.

Raccoon Circles (Grades K-12)

Youth will be guided through team building activities with raccoon circles.

Canoe/Kayak (Grades 6-12)
Students will learn paddlesports safety and spend time canoeing or kayaking on the West Fork River.

Fishing (Grades 3-12)
Students will catch and release fish in the WVU Jackson's Mill reservoir.

Leave No Trace/Trail Etiquette (Grades K-12)

Youth will learn the seven Leave No Trace Ethics and learn the importance of etiquette when participating in outdoor recreation activities.

West Virginia Forest History (Grades 3-12)
Students will learn about important moments in the history of West Virginia's forestry industry.

View our Outdoor Education Program Content Standards. To make a reservation, contact WVU Jackson’s Mill Group Reservations at 304-269-5100.

Hear from our Outdoor Education Staff:

Youth Education

  • STEAM Programs
  • Outdoor Education
  • History Education


  • ATV Safety
  • Leave No Trace
  • Swimming
  • Disc-Golf
  • Rock Wall

Historic Area

  • Historic Buildings
  • Group Tours
  • Special Events
  • Educational Opportunities


  • Meeting Rooms
  • Dining
  • Other Facilities


  • Suites
  • Lodge Rooms
  • Private Rooms
  • Cottages

Weddings & Receptions

Wedding Reception Packages
  • Bronze Package
  • Silver Package
  • Gold Package