Over the last decade, we’ve built Clallam County’s most equitable outdoor nature school – delivering quality programming for local children and offering tuition assistance to families with the goal of no child being turned away due to lack of funds. Thanks to strong community support, committed staff members and financial contributions we have achieved what all organizations strive for: sustainability.
Together, we are connecting the next generation to nature, empowering future conservation leaders and creating ripple effects that impact families, communities, and our whole region. Your generosity makes that possible.
And now we look forward to the next ten years.
Just as a plant outgrows its pot, so have the roots of Olympic Nature Experience. Investing in our own land will allow us to nurture the spirit of adventure in citizens of all ages and to grow and adapt with more flexibility to fit the needs of our community now and into the future on the North Olympic Peninsula. A home for Olympic Nature Experience is a home for hundreds of children; a place where community can gather, knowledge and skills can be shared, stories told and the land cared for.
While we deeply value our existing partnerships with public and private landholders and intend to continue to nurture them, there are challenges to operating in a borrowed space: limitations on daily site use, fire building, off-site administrative support and supplies, and co-existing with public traffic are a few examples. By investing in land of our own, we will be more responsive to the needs of our community and we will be able to offer deeper opportunities for stewardship and connection to a place over time.
We plan to purchase at least 10 acres of land (hopefully, this 11.6 acre plot next to our current classrooms) to build new programs and an office. While still offering programs at our existing beloved sites, land ownership will allow us to design and schedule classes with specific needs that aren’t possible at our current locations. Having an office and indoor classroom space onsite allows for flexibility that could mean longer class days to accommodate full-time working families or expanding the age groups we serve – whatever the community wants, because the space would be ours to fill.
As Olympic Nature Experience’s 10 year anniversary approaches, our organization is maturing financially as well as programmatically. We have solidified a gleaming reputation in the community, accumulated a meaningful fiscal reserve, and the real estate market in the area is calming. Our partnerships with homeschool families and local school districts have opened our eyes to the potential collaborations and limitless possibilities of what land ownership could do for connecting families with nature on the Olympic Peninsula.
We invite you to help make this vision a reality for the children of our community. You can make cash gifts or pledge your gift over the course of a year. Thank you for investing in Olympic Nature Experience!
1000 Old Olympic Highway
With permission from the current land owner, our staff and Board of Directors gathered with their children at our proposed location to vision, explore and play in February 2024. We journeyed together along the Olympic Discovery Trail into the belly of the property to enjoy the tributary to Siebert Creek and appreciate the land.
With your help, this could be our home!
Help us grow!
If you can help, please consider contributing to our capital initiative by check.
Olympic Nature Experience
PO Box 688
Carlsborg, WA 98324
Sharing our history
In 2012, Olympic Nature Experience started out as our beloved family play group, Adventure Club. The play group was started by ONE founder, Sarah Salazar-Tipton. They met at what is now the Dungeness River Nature Center. Now that construction is complete, we are proud to be gathering there once again.
In 2014, Olympic Nature Experience was incorporated as a nonprofit organization. That year, Owl’s Hollow Early Learning began classes 2 days a week at the Dungeness Recreation Area.
We have always aimed to be inclusive and to create opportunities for families to build connections with nature and to our community on the North Olympic Peninsula. In order to achieve this, our curriculum has been rooted in these five areas:
- Nature Awareness: Learning about plants, animals, and places and learning how to care for them
- Emotional Awareness: Knowing how we feel and what we want or need to do about that
- “Friend Power” (Community): Caring for each other, asking for help, and including everyone
- Resilience and Empowerment: Knowing we are capable, being willing to try, even when things
- Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: Being curious, asking questions and finding solutions.
Our team is small and we all work hard to provide high quality programming for Olympic Nature Experience and to develop and maintain connections with our community, alongside many important nonprofit organizations in the region. We are proud to have been recognized by the Clallam County Economic Development Council as a nominee for the Nonprofit of the Year Award in 2021.
Sharing our philosophy
Our teachers practice “coyote mentoring” teaching philosophy. A coyote mentor uses observation and play to awaken a student’s own curiosity about the world around them. Rather than teachers as experts conveying knowledge through lectures and facts, mentors focus on the process of learning and discovery–acting like guides along a student’s nature connection journey through role modeling, storytelling, and demonstrating curiosity.
Our curriculum for each class has been custom created and is a collaborative effort of our teaching team over the last 10 years. is custom to our organization.We utilize a nature-based framework and design principles, creating a daily and seasonal rhythm.
*Our days begin with Inspiration Time– students are welcomed into the classroom.
*Activation. We gather together for circle time where we sing the welcome song, talk about our focus for the day, and make our safety and kindness agreements together.
*Focus. During this time, we journey together on our hike and practice awareness and observation of the natural world around us.
*Pause for Rest. Following our hike, the students relax on their nest to have a snack and share what they are feeling grateful for.
*Gather and Share. Students have time and space in nature to explore, wonder, imagine, move, or be still. It is where curiosity is sparked and the magic happens.
*Reflect. Before hiking back to where our days begin, the class gathers for “forest music” to sing a song, play with rhythm, or move together.
*Integrate. The class gathers in a circle for “Story of the Day”.
*Close. Families arrive to pick up their students, we say goodbye, and clean up the classroom.
Olympic Nature Experience is a non-profit with 501c3 status from the Internal Revenue Service. All contributions will b gratefully acknowledged and are tax deductible. EIN # 47-1002603