ELP

This website serves as the ELP Program 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 Environmental Living Program provides hands-on learning which allows students 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 tasks that were a part of daily life at Fort Ross, such as cooking meals in an outdoor kitchen, fishing and ‘hunting’ for food, gardening, making candles, collecting and stacking firewood, guarding the perimeter, processing natural materials that have been gathered according to season, trading, practicing artisanal crafts, dancing, and generally working hard for the company, students gain a better understanding of history and their relationship to it. During an overnight Fort Ross ELP, students, parents, and teachers sleep inside the historic fort compound buildings.

Role-play and costumes are a big part of the ELP experience. All students, parents, and teachers choose a person from Fort Ross’ history to research, role-play and dress up as during their time at Fort Ross. Students become Employees, parents become Officers, and teachers become Managers. This website provides all participants with appropriate historic people to choose from. Every role-play name and biography provided belongs to a person who truly lived and worked at Fort Ross for the Russian American Company. 

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 days you are here at 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.


ELP (Overnight) or ELDP (Day-Only) We offer an ELP overnight program on Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday, and a single day ELDP program on Wednesdays. Contact us if you’re interested in weekends.


Family Summer Camp Would you like to experience a day in the life of Colony 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 Russian blockhouse 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 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$40/participant (including chaperones), there is no fee for teachers.  Once you have received your ELP Date Confirmation letter, you are expected to send in your $200 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 $20/participant (including chaperones), there is no fee for teachers.  Once you have received your ELP Date Confirmation letter, you are expected to send in your $200 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. 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 you do not need to submit them to your ELP Instructor.


How to Apply Open Enrollment for the Fort Ross Environmental Living Program (ELP/ELDP) starts April 1st.  Applications submitted before April 1st 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. 

New Cancellation Policy beginning for the 2020-2021 ELP Season –

  • 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.


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!