Notice: The ELP webpages have been updated for 2023-2024. They are under final review. Thank you!
General Information Rules and Expectations

General Information Rules and Expectations

Expectations at Metini / Fort Ross - we feel strongly about providing you with a high quality educational program. We ask you to follow these expectations which have shown, time and time again, to be crucial to the overall success of every ELP:

It is expected you spend a minimum of six weeks reviewing the basic history of Metini / Fort Ross and preparing for this trip. This website includes a twelve-week curriculum plan (see Teacher Timeline). We are aware this may not be possible for all groups. However, we have seen that the more students know and the more preparation completed in the classroom, the more they grasp the ideas of what makes history relevant when they are at Metini / Fort Ross.

We encourage the use of primary sources. Primary sources help get a sense of historic perspectives and events, as told by the people recording events at the time. However, it is important to note that primary sources can often be skewed by the perspectives of those doing the recording.

It is expected that you, your Parent Leads, and students are familiar with their Activity Group tasks, and are able to carry out these tasks during your program. For example, the Explorers Activity Group is primarily responsible for starting the fires in the kitchen (for cooking and washing dishes). It is very important that at least one of the Explorers Activity Group Parent Leads are comfortable with starting fires. Please email any questions or concerns about this to the ELP Manager or your ELP Instructor. It is expected that teachers promptly reply to the Welcome Letter email that their ELP Instructor sends them. Within one to four weeks of a program, the ELP Instructor will send out an important email that provides pertinent information for the program and ask a number of questions, such as which Activity Groups you’ll have? What are your expected Parent Lead and Student numbers for each Activity Group? What sample schedule will you be using? Are all the liability releases signed for all teachers, parents and students? Teachers must reply to let their Instructor know they’ve received the email and respond to all the questions. This is also an important time for teachers to let their ELP Instructor know anything relevant to the program or program participants, such as special needs, behavioral concerns, special medical needs or concerns, changes to the sample schedule, etc. A strong line of communication between teachers and ELP Instructors results in a better program for all! Please note teachers are encouraged to ask questions during their program preparations; they do not have to wait until they receive the Welcome Letter to email or call with questions and concerns.

Age limits – This program is designed to meet California Curriculum standards for 4th and 5th grade. It is not encouraged to bring students 2nd grade and younger as the program can be too demanding on them. If you’re interested in scheduling a program for students under 4th grade or over 5th grade, please contact us to discuss your program options.

All students are welcome. If you have a student with special needs, please just let us know so we can be aware of and sensitive to that child’s needs.

State Park Rules – All features of the park are protected –

  • Do not remove any objects that are lying on the ground: rocks, glass, bones, etc
  • If you find anything that appears to be historically or environmentally important please leave it where it was found and advise the ELP Instructor of the item’s location
  • Remember – take only pictures and leave only footprints
  • Butchering of live animals on site is not permitted. All butchered meat must be dressed before you bring it to the fort
  • Bringing weapons is not permitted
  • State Park rules and regulations must be observed
  • If you have any questions please email ELP Manager or your ELP Instructor

Please note the only exception to the butchering rule is for the Hunters Activity group. When they legally catch fish, for example, they can clean their catch and cook it for the whole class.

Planning Your Onsite Activities (Your ELP Schedule) – Use one of the sample schedules supplied on the website (or put together a customized schedule) that will work for your group. Communicate with ELP staff if creating a custom schedule, to get approval on any item changes. You are welcome to use your own and your students’ creative ideas to augment the onsite program. However, any significant variation from the ideas outlined MUST be discussed with the ELP Manager or ELP Instructors prior to your visit. Failure to do so can result in dismissal from the Fort Ross ELP. Don’t forget that short winter days will require a different schedule from long fall or spring days. Try not to over or under schedule activities for the day. Following the Arrival Protocol outlined here can be critical to the success of your ELP. Please read through all of this information carefully!

We encourage the walk from the Reef Campground. It is such a wonderful introduction to the beautiful surroundings of Metini / Fort Ross. It also allows for the unloading of the vehicles, and for the ELP Instructor to make contact with the Parent Leads ahead of the students’ arrival; this is critical!

Teachers will need to float from Activity Group to Activity Group, helping out where needed. Your ELP Instructor will also be available to help where needed. Please do not plan to have the ELP Instructor remain with any one Activity Group for any extended period of time.

It is really important to have activities planned for your entire visit. The time right before dinner and right after dinner can be a time when parents tend to ‘let loose’ and socialize. Students tend to start having a new surge of energy. This is a rough combo. Please monitor this. Before dinner, have journal writing time, drawing time, or structured game time with the entire class. Right after dinner can also be a very good time for teachers to take the students on a walk to visit the windmill and view the sunset. This allows the parents to have some down time, time to socialize, and gives them a renewed interest as the students come back to them.

Rotation of Activity Groups – Rotation of individual students through different groups is not allowed in this program. There are several reasons for this. It is a whirlwind for students and adults alike. The teacher becomes a frantic timekeeper trying to keep the various groups going to the right place at the right time. Additionally, the students don’t usually have sufficient time to finish any of their projects.

The intention of the program is to give each student a chance to enjoy this unique setting, and learn more about the history of Metini / Fort Ross and the different peoples who have lived and worked here since before the arrival of the Russian American Company, throughout the Russian era (1812-1842), and who are still in the area today, through a wide variety of hands on activities.

Sleeping Arrangements – Sleeping arrangements can be a difficult issue. It is up to you, the parents, and your administration how you divide boys and girls in the buildings at night. We have never heard of problems arising from mixing boys and girls when letting Activity Groups stay together in the sleeping areas. However, it is something that some parents might be concerned about. It is definitely important to make sure that you have more than one adult in each sleeping area. Parent Leads should sleep in the same area as their assigned Activity Group so they can get their group off to night watch quickly and quietly.

Leaving Metini / Fort Ross – Before you leave, we highly recommend a visit to the Fort Ross Visitor Center, Museum and Bookshop. There is much to learn from the museum and many interpretive items, nature guides, and historical resources available to buy to continue their education.

Visitor photographs – Please note that FRC and / or your ELP Instructor will not interfere with visitors taking photographs of your group while you’re on site. Fort Ross State Historic Park is a public space and only professional, permitted photographers using the photographs commercially need permission to take photos. If you have any questions, please contact us.


  • From Santa Rosa: 1 ½ hours
  • From Petaluma: 1 ½ hours
  • From San Francisco: 2 ½ hours
  • From Sacramento: 3 ½ hours
  • From Fort Bragg: 2 hours

Please keep in mind that these driving times do not take account for changing road conditions. Check here for any road work and plan accordingly: