Hale Education launched the program in 2018 to immerse inner city students from participating schools in the outdoors as they attend classes for a semester. The non-profit's website says the program "emphasizes wellness through relationships, nature-based leadership, and community-based challenges to transform individuals and communities."
Intrepid Academy at Hale Director Erica Pernell described the curriculum to WBZ NewsRadio as "using the outdoors as a canvas to really go internally and learn more about who you are, and also to learn more about your community and what connects us all."
Offering an example, Pernell continued, "There was a math class last year. They calculated what percentage of the trees were covered in lichen, counted populations in species. And that allowed them to understand the health of the forest more deeply through using math and statistics."
The program takes place on Hale's 1,100 acre campus in Westwood Monday through Thursday. The school provides breakfast bars, afternoon snacks, and a hot lunch daily, as well as technical outdoor gear and apparel for students who need them.
Speaking with WBZ NewsRadio, senior Trevor Pine said he prefers the outdoor learning at Intrepid Academy over strictly learning inside a classroom.
"Here at least you have some freedom to go walk around, see some things you’re gonna remember," Pine said.
"It helps get me fresh air," another student said. "Outside of school, I don’t really go out. So this gives me that experience, not being stuck in my house all the time."
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.