Thetford Outdoor Program

The Thetford Outdoor Program (formerly the Environmental Science and Outdoor Education Initiative) was launched in 2014 through the generous support of the Woodbury Foundation. The program builds on TA’s commitment to experiential and outdoor learning, and turns TA’s vast natural resources into an interdisciplinary outdoor classroom.

Led by outdoor educator and teacher Scott Ellis, the Thetford Outdoor Program (TOP) will start a new program in the fall of 2017 a half-day Environmental Studies course. Nearly all of the learning in this course takes place outdoors, and includes both scientific exploration and literary reflection. Students in the course will engage in field experiments and independent study, and each student will end the semester creating a community resource as a capstone project.

TOP also includes several elective courses across TA’s curriculum: Timber Framing, Forestry, Botany, Why Food Matters, Environmental Economics, and Nature Writing, as well as a host of student clubs and activities focused on outdoor recreation, sports, and adventure skills.

The mission of the Thetford Outdoor Program is to ignite academic curiosity and foster environmental stewardship through outdoor exploration, recreation, and project-based, experiential learning.


Outdoor Education Courses


Outdoor Education Faculty

Derek Burkins


STEM | Outdoor Education, Science

Rose Dedam, Science

Rose Dedam

Science Teacher

Experiential, STEM | Outdoor Education, Science

Scott Ellis

Coordinator of Thetford Outdoor Program

Experiential | Outdoor Education

Gary Engler


STEM | Outdoor Education, Science

Christopher Huling, Social Studies

Christopher (Casey) Huling

Social Studies

Humanities | Outdoor Education, Social Studies

Christopher Schmidt, Design Technology

Chris Schmidt

Design Technology and Outdoor Education

Arts, Experiential, STEM | Design Technology, Engineering & Technology, Outdoor Education

Leonard Whitaker, Science

Len Whitaker


STEM | Outdoor Education, Science