Environmental Living Program
This website serves as the Environmental Living Program (ELP) Manual. The FRC team works hard to keep this online manual up-to-date and we want you to rely on it as your go-to resource!
The ELP provides hands-on learning which allows students to explore the interaction between people and their environment. While spending time on a breathtaking and remote historic coastal site, students learn about the history and rich cultures of the peoples that have been present at Metini / Fort Ross, focusing on pre-contact, ‘Russian era’ and today. Through performing tasks that were a part of daily life at Metini / Fort Ross - and doing activities designed to teach students about some of the cultural craftwork practiced among the different peoples of Metini / Fort Ross - students gain a better understanding of a unique chapter in California history, and their relationship to it.
Some of these tasks and activities include cooking meals in an outdoor kitchen, fishing and ‘hunting’ for food, gardening, gathering, basket weaving, mapping, making candles, collecting and stacking firewood, processing natural materials that have been gathered according to season, trading, practicing artisanal crafts, and dancing, During an overnight Fort Ross ELP, students, parents, and teachers sleep inside the historic fort compound buildings.
It is important to remember that it’s you, the teacher and parents, who make the ELP work. Your enthusiasm, creative interest, and pre-site planning will inspire the students’ interest and give them the unforgettable learning experience the Fort Ross ELP can provide. The purpose of this website is to help you plan for your onsite program. Planning a big trip like this may seem a bit daunting, but take heart, read on. It will work out.
Fort Ross Conservancy’s ELP Manager will work with the teacher from registration until the day of their ELP session. Your group will be assigned an ELP Instructor who will send you a welcome letter via email with important information and some questions in order to prepare for your onsite program. During the day(s) you are here at Metini / Fort Ross, your ELP Instructor will work alongside you and your group, offering guidance and support.
Teachers Get Ready! – What is the ELP, how do I create a successful program? This website is chock-full of information to help teachers and parents prepare for the Fort Ross Environmental Living Program. To help you get off on the right foot, use the information and links on the Teachers Get Ready! webpage.
Family Summer Camp – Would you like to experience a day in the life of Settlement Ross with friends and family? This program offers you the chance to experience daily life at Fort Ross with a trained instructor as your guide.
Homeschool/Other Groups – Our ELP program is available year-round, and is great fun for homeschooling families, older students, and even adults! Who wouldn’t want to spend time on this beautiful stretch of California coastline, spending a starry night sleeping in a historic fort and making borscht or acorn pancakes on an open fire?
Teacher Training – Teacher training is critical to a successful program. Every new teacher must attend a Teacher Training workshop before their onsite program. Returning teachers must attend a refresher training every four years. These trainings are held at various times during the school year — specific dates to be announced each year. Please note: Every class that comes to Metini / Fort Ross for an ELP or ELDP must have a teacher who has completed this training, and the teacher on the reservation form MUST be the teacher who attends the training. Absolutely no substitutions are allowed.
ELP Program Fees – $44/participant (including chaperones), there is no fee for lead teachers. Once you have received your ELP Date Confirmation letter, you are expected to send in your $100 Commitment Fee within 2 weeks. If we do not receive your commitment fee we will assume you are no longer interested and assign your date to others on the waiting list. The commitment fee is non-refundable but is applied toward the total session fees. Once your group numbers are confirmed, the ELP Manager will send you an invoice for the remainder of the ELP session fees.
ELDP Program Fees – $22/participant (including chaperones), there is no fee for lead teachers. Once you have received your ELP Date Confirmation letter, you are expected to send in your $100 Commitment Fee within 2 weeks. If we do not receive your commitment fee we will assume you are no longer interested and assign your date to others on the waiting list. The commitment fee is non-refundable but is applied toward the total session fees. Once your group numbers are confirmed, the ELP Manager will send you an invoice for the remainder of the ELP session fees.
Forms – Liability Release forms for all program participants (teachers, parents, and students) MUST be completed and submitted to the ELP Instructor upon your arrival. The media waivers are optional. Separately, all participants must read and agree to the rules outlined in their appropriate contract; there is a contract for teachers, one for parents, and one for students. These contracts are required, but only the teacher contract needs to be handed into the ELP Instructor.
How to Apply – Open Enrollment for the Fort Ross Environmental Living Program (ELP/ELDP) starts April 15th. Applications submitted before April 15th for the following school year will not be considered. All applications are accepted on a first come first served basis, and according to space availability.
Cancellations – The following is Fort Ross Conservancy’s ELP/ELDP cancellation policy.
- Your commitment fee of $100 is non-refundable but is transferable. This fee covers our time leading up to your program date and is credited to your final ELP invoice.
- If either Fort Ross Conservancy or California State Parks choose to cancel a program due to unsafe conditions (weather, road conditions, or operational issues), your commitment fee will be transferred to a later date of your choice.
- If the Applicant School requests to reschedule the program date, FRC will also transfer your commitment fee towards a later date of your choice.
Please make checks payable to FRC-ELP. We also accept credit card payments over the phone (707) 847-3437.
Fee Waivers Available! – Public lands and outdoor learning experiences should be available to all, irrespective of the cost, and FRC aims to minimize the financial challenges that keep kids from taking important field trips. Thanks to the generous support from our donors we have created the Fort Ross Education Fund to offer program fee waivers and/or transportation subsidies to schools that would otherwise be unable to participate. We welcome teachers of all schools to apply!