Oak Hill Blog

Outdoor adventures & new summer session course

A group of adventurous Oak Hill Academy students spent part of their 2022 Spring Break backpacking on Cumberland Island, a national seashore off the coast of Georgia.

Mr. Butt, our Director of Student Affairs, along with his family, chaperoned the four day trip to the island, which is only accessible by ferry.

Cumberland Island, once home to some of America’s richest families, including the nineteenth-century steel magnates and philanthropists the Carnegies, is now one of the largest, least developed islands on the East Coast. Students carried all their food and belongings, and spent four days hiking along the beach and under a thick live oak canopy, camping in remote backcountry locations.

The island has plenty of wildlife, and students saw armadillos, wild horses, raccoons, deer, dolphin, and many types of sea birds.

The weather was clear and beautiful for early March – upper 60s and low 70s during the day, 40s and 50s at night. They enjoyed campfires each evening, exploring the live oak and palmetto forest, hunting for shark teeth, fishing on the sound and in the surf, and making backcountry meals of red pasta, curry, and spaghetti Alfredo.

In one campsite they even found ripe citrus trees, and picked oranges and grapefruit. Cumberland Island is just one of our country’s pristine wilderness locations.

Upcoming outdoor trips and courses

As Oak Hill Academy continues to develop our outdoor program, we look forward to offering more wilderness trips this summer and on future breaks during the school year. Specifically, Oak Hill is offering a new featured course called Experiential Ecology during our upcoming Summer Session, June 26-July 23. The course earns a full science credit and will include ample opportunities for hands-on learning.

Students will enjoy immersive lessons, such as:

  • The New River Ecosystem – A multi-day canoe trip along the New River in North Carolina
    • Canoe 5-10 miles each day through a section of river with gentle rapids and boulder fields, easy to navigate for novice paddlers. Lots of fishing opportunities along the way.
  • Appalachian Ecosystem – A multi-day backpacking trip in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area along the Appalachian Trail
    • Backpack 5-10 miles each day, hiking Whitetop and Mount Rogers — the two highest peaks in Virginia — and Grayson Highlands, with its wild ponies and panoramic views above the tree line.

For both trips students will carry all of their gear and food, camp at primitive sites, cook meals, and conduct fieldwork in Ecology. Let the adventure begin!

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