Fort Ross Conservancy offers both cultural and natural history outdoor education programs. We offer overnights in the Fort Ross compound during our Environmental Living Program, camping under the stars in our Marine Ecology Program, and single-day educational opportunities, all guided by our dedicated and experienced staff. Take part in our well-established historically or environmentally-focused curriculum or work with us to create a customized multi-day experience.
The Environmental Living Program provides hands-on learning which allows children to experience the joys of history as active participants, exploring the interaction between people and their environment. Immersed for a brief time in the past, students learn about the many cultures and lifestyles present at Settlement Ross. Through performing some of the tasks that were a part of daily life at Fort Ross such as cooking all their meals in an outdoor kitchen, fishing and ‘hunting’ for their food, gardening, making candles, collecting and stacking firewood, guarding the perimeter, trading, practicing artisanal crafts, dancing, and generally working hard for the company, children gain a better understanding of history and their relationship to it. Students, chaperones, and teachers sleep inside the historic compound buildings.
Students, parents, and teachers research and take on specific characters who lived at Fort Ross, and come in costume prepared to role play that character during their stay. Students become Employees, parents become Officers, and teachers become Managers. Each historic character is someone who lived and worked at Fort Ross, for the Russian American Company.
Situated on a pristine stretch of Sonoma County coastline, Fort Ross and Salt Point State parks boast abundant marine mammals, rocky intertidal zones, sandy beaches, and waters now protected by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Fort Ross also has significant cultural history, with its historic buildings and exhibits telling the story of 19th century seafaring and fur trading. At Fort Ross we witness the human impact of resource exploitation and its subsequent intermittent recovery. This intersection of natural and cultural history helps to teach ocean stewardship and resource management through the long lens of history.
FRC’s Marine Ecology Program (MEP) provides an experiential and exciting outdoor educational field trip for students, including:
- Learning how to engage in hands-on marine mammal observation, identification, and survey,
- Exploring the diverse and fragile intertidal zone and its beautiful life forms,
- Keeping a field journal to record scientific data, thoughts, and sketches,
- Studying current and historic ecological interconnections,
- Discussing the importance of biodiversity and marine conservation,
- Team building and collaborative learning in an outdoor classroom setting.
There are many Service Project opportunities available at Fort Ross. We regularly welcome both Girl and Boy Scouts of all ages for projects within the park and during our festivals. We are also a 501(c)(3) and we can sign off on necessary community service requirements.
For those groups that cannot sign up for a whole MEP or ELP, we offer Educational Talks and Tours that can run for one to four hours, delving into the natural marine ecology or cultural history of Fort Ross.
Would you like to experience a day in the life of Colony Ross with friends and family? At our Family Summer Camp, you can dress up in 19th century costumes, sleep in the historic compound, cook in an outdoor kitchen, and try your hand at traditional Russian crafts.