Teacher Retreat

Teacher Retreat October 12-13, 2019

Workshop Information

The following workshops will be offered as part of the Sierra Science Adventure Program Teacher Retreat on Saturday and Sunday, October 12-13.

Forest Ecology and Carbon Sequestration

Participants will learn about local ecology whiling hiking through the forest behind the Clair Tappaan Lodge at Donner Summit. The group will conduct an assessment of the carbon sequestration capacity of the forest. In small teams, we will learn to identify tree species, measure their height and diameter, and use this information to calculate the amount of carbon sequestered in each tree and how this relates to our carbon footprint.


Human History

We will walk back in time passing through the infamous Donner Summit train tunnels – to the craggy gap that emigrants struggled through with their wagons – down to some of the oldest petroglyphs found in the Sierra. Along the way we will share readings describing the Chinese rail worker experience, harrowing stories from the pioneers, and tales of initiation from California’s Native American tribes. This workshop will include a creative writing activity in which we envision and illustrate a “day in the life” from one of the periods studied.


Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) / Mindfulness / Personal Wellness
This workshop will explore the following topics and personal practices:
  • Creating All-School Culture: Intentional, participatory dialogue around culture setting for schools
  • Nature Reflections: “Meadow-tating” and nature journaling
  • Being Visionary: A process of Nature Immersion through silence, Native American rituals, and nature perception techniques – to reveal your visionary abilities
  • Yoga and Sound Healing: Experiential practices for stress reduction and peak performance
  • Rock Climbing: We will enjoy the challenge of climbing on the spectacular granite cliffs of Donner Summit. We believe youth thrive and build resiliency through challenging activities. Our motto is “challenge by choice” as we do not force anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do, but instead encourage each individual to challenge themselves and find success at all levels of difficulty. We will learn the basics of the climbing safety system, (harnesses, knots, belaying). All equipment is provided.
Workshop Presenters

Dr. Anne Stephens currently serves as director of the Inland Northern CA Science Project at CSU Chico, and was a member of the California Blueprint for Environmental Literacy committee.





Nancy Minges, M.A. in Wholistic Health Education, is the Wellness Director at Gateway Mountain Center and has constructed meaningful curricula to connect youth with their innate well-being, igniting the joy and empowerment of self-discovery.





Peter Mayfield, founder and Executive Director of Gateway Mountain Center, has designed and delivered creative and successful outdoor educational programs for thousands of California youth. His efforts are responsible for countless underserved youth getting their first meaningful outdoor experiences.





Preston Alden is a wildlife biologist with over 10 years of field research experience. As the School Programs Director for Gateway Mountain Center he brings a wealth of knowledge that enhances and informs all of our natural science curricula.





Who Should Attend:

The retreat is intended for teachers, youth educators, school psychologists and counselors, but all are welcome to attend!

Workshop Cost:

$60, includes meals and Saturday night lodging. For an additional $25, please join us for dinner and lodging Friday night as well. Earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for your attendance (additional fees apply).


For more information and to reserve your space, contact Preston Alden, School Program Director, at preston@sierraexperience.org.

We hope you can join us to experience first-hand what students can gain from Gateway’s exceptional outdoor adventure and science programs!

Gateway Mountain Center – Helping Youth Learn, Heal, and Thrive! 10038 Meadow Way – Unit D, Truckee, CA 96161, Ph. (530) 426-2110


The Gateway Mountain Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity.