OSEP Classes

Outdoor Science Education Program (OSEP)


It is with a heavy heart that we write to inform you that we have made the difficult decision to cancel our summer programs at the Valentine/SNARL Reserves.  Our community safety is our top priority and in the current situation we feel unable to ensure the safety of all our students, teachers and teacher assistants.  The situation is very dynamic and as state and local recommendations change we will be open to reevaluating our decision.

We appreciate your support and understanding as we all navigate this new reality.

We will miss laughing and learning with your children this summer but we trust that kids are resilient and you will all find ways to safely enjoy our great outdoors with them this summer.

 If we can support or help you achieve that goal please reach out to us.

 Stay healthy and safe.


Our summer Outdoor Science Education Program (OSEP) consists of a variety of weeklong classes offered June through July for students in grades 1-12, on topics ranging from photography and art, to natural history. Courses are taught by experienced outdoor educators and take place at either Valentine Camp or the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL). Students who enroll should have a strong interest in science, love being in the outdoors, and be willing to participate in all aspects of these academic classes. Students are expected to behave in an appropriate, respectful, and safe manner. In an effort to allow as many students to enjoy all of our camps, priority will be given to students who have not previously attended specific camps. All classes are geared to next year's grade level. 

Scholarship Information 

We don’t want a family’s financial difficulties to prevent any child from participating in our Outdoor Science Education summer programs. We offer full and partial scholarships for those in need. If your family is facing financial difficulties, we invite you to complete our confidential scholarship application. Scholarship awards are limited, based upon need, available funds and number of qualifying applicants. Applications are reviewed on a case by case basis. Please contact Carole Lester - carole.lester@ucsb.edu, 760-914-3722 for an application and if you have any questions.

To register for a class:

  1. Choose your class
  2. Click on register and fill in the required information
  3. You will see a message that you have successfully registered 
  4. You must register for each class individually
  5. You child will not be confirmed in a class until you receive an email from carole.lester@ucsb.edu
  6. Once confirmed you will receive an email with a link to the payment page.

If you have any problems or concerns please call/text or email Carole at 760-914-3722 or carole.lester@ucsb.edu

Click here to download a PDF of our Summer Program Registration Form

Spanish OSEP Horario de Clases 2020

Beautiful Bats | June 15 to June 19 | Grade(s): 2-3 | Valentine Camp
Bats are familiar to nearly everyone, yet most people have never seen one up close. Are bats dangerous? Do bats get tangled in your hair? Folktale and fantasy are all part of people's ideas about bats. In this class you will learn the truth about bats is more astonishing than any of the stories about them. REGISTER
Capturing Science through a Lens | June 15 to June 19 | Grade(s): 6-8 | Valentine Camp
Students will use digital photography to capture the essence of the flora and fauna of Valentine Reserve. Technology, art and science will be combined in this photography class. All students will need to bring a digital camera. Computer experience preferred. REGISTER
Ecological Diversity in the Eastern Sierra | June 22 to June 26 | Grade(s): 9-12 | SNARL
This course will explore the diverse Sierra Nevadan aquatic environment. We will visit and survey lakes, both freshwater and saline, high elevation and low, as well as a variety of streams and hot and cold springs. Students will experience the variety of flora and fauna that exist in these environments, both macro- and microscopic. We will employ and enhance your studies in biology and chemistry to introduce you to biotic and abiotic sampling and analysis techniques. The course is modeled after a university level introductory aquatic biology course. It will give you hands-on experience with environmental techniques and a view into the phenomenal aquatic realm. REGISTER
Involving Dissolving | June 22 to June 26 | Grade(s): 3-4 | Valentine Camp
Come see what happens when we mix powders with liquids, play with evaporation, and create crystallized masterpieces. Will everything we mix dissolve? We'll use resources at Valentine, read stories, and create chemical reactions involving dissolving during this week of scientific exploration. Please note, non-toxic materials will be used. DUE TO THE DISCOVERY/SURPRISE ASPECT TO THIS CAMP WE DON'T ALLOW STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE MORE THAN ONCE IN THIS CAMP. REGISTER
Science through Art | June 22 to June 26 | Grade(s): 5-7 | Valentine Camp
This course will explore science through the eyes of the artist. Looking at broad landscapes and delicate wildflowers, students will use a variety of media to enhance their observational skills while pursuing their artistic talent. REGISTER
Bones, Beads, and Baskets(Dual Language Class) | June 29 to July 03 | Grade(s): 5 | Valentine Camp
DUAL LANGUAGE CLASS: Must be proficient in Spanish/English at 4th/5th grade level; admission subject to instructor. What would it be like to live off the land in a time before Vons? This class will become a small tribe and learn how early people in America hunted and gathered food and medicine, celebrated important events and played games. Students will use and make artifacts modeling Native American ways. REGISTER
Sifting through Science | June 29 to July 03 | Grade(s): 1 | Valentine Camp
Young children are natural scientists. This week our little scientists will use their senses as they eagerly explore and investigate the environment at Valentine through experiments, stories, games, and nature walks. We will use magnets, sand, water, dirt, rocks, and sift our way trough science. REGISTER
Hurray for Habitats | July 06 to July 10 | Grade(s): 1-2 | Valentine Camp
Owls, mule deer,rabbits,coyotes, bugs and bees all make their homes at Valentine. We will observe animals or evidence of animals that live in the high desert and/or riparian zones of the Eastern Sierra. As young scientists, we will record our findings and observations on our Habitat Boards. If you like to hike, explore, play games, and do outdoor science activities, then come join this expedition. REGISTER
Rocks & Dirt! (Dual Language Class) | July 06 to July 10 | Grade(s): 1 | Valentine Camp
Dual Language Class. Must be proficient in Spanish/English at 1st grade level; admission subject to instructor. Rocks and dirt are all around us, but how much do you know about them? What is dirt made of? Do rocks sink or float? How do we use rocks in everyday life? This week we will have fun creating a science journal to record everything that we learn about rocks, dirt and fossils. Come be a rock hound with us! REGISTER
Painting Nature | July 13 to July 17 | Grade(s): 5-6 | Valentine Camp
Learn basic acrylic painting surrounded by the beauty of Valentine Reserve. Through a series of fun and easy projects and exercises the students will work up to creating a beautiful painting. They will also have lots of time to explore Valentine. REGISTER
Budding Botanists | July 20 to July 24 | Grade(s): 3-4 | Valentine Camp
The best way to appreciate Valentine Reserve is out along the trails! Our class will spend part of every day exploring the plant and animal life of Valentine while observing nature up close. These observations will provide inspiration for sketching, scientific illustration, and learning plant identification. We’ll delve into science, as we sketch, learning about plant and animal adaptations, photosynthesis and more! REGISTER
Wild Island Adventure | July 20 to July 24 | Grade(s): 4-5 | SNARL
Get ready for a week on the Wild Islands at SNARL. From the water we drink to the oceans that circle the Earth, liquids are everywhere.We will explore the properties of water and the wetlands surrounding the islands by observing the creatures that live there and discovering how liquids do what they do. Come prepared to get wild and wet as you learn all about our most precious resources. REGISTER
Involving Dissolving | July 27 to August 01 | Grade(s): 3-4 | Valentine Camp
Come see what happens when we mix powders with liquids, play with evaporation, and create crystallized masterpieces. Will everything we mix dissolve? We'll use resources at Valentine, read stories, and create chemical reactions involving dissolving during this week of scientific exploration. Please note, non-toxic materials will be used. REGISTER