HAWKs LA outdoor classrooms are the greenspaces in Los Angeles. Prior to each camp, the counselors will provide a line-up of the day or week’s locations. We register by region. When you sign up, your exact location within that region will be determined by a number of factors including weather forecast and trail conditions. For an overview of locations by region please refer to our map.
Northeast LA locations include Hahamongna Watershed Park and The Gabrielino Trail in Pasadena, North Atwater Park, Griffith Park, and Elysian Park in Los Angeles, and trailheads in the San Gabriel Mountains near Altadena.
West LA – North locations include, Franklin Canyon, Temescal Canyon, Will Rogers’ State Historic Park, Sullivan Canyon.
West LA – South locations include, Ballona Wetlands – Del Rey Lagoon, Kenneth Hahn, Norman O. Houston Park.
Westlake Village locations include Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, Wildwood Regional Park, Paradise Falls, Triunfo Canyon Park, Rancho Sierra Vista, Lang Ranch Park, Oaksbrook Vista Trailhead and Cheseboro Canyon Park.
Place-based education promotes learning that is rooted in what is local—the unique history, environment, flora, fauna, culture, ecology, and art of a particular place—that is, in students’ own “place” or immediate neighborhood, town or community.
As our program is intuitive and place-based, this structure may evolve depending on what animals we encounter, what the weather is like, our students’ level of hiking experience, etc.
- 8:45 am – 9:00 am – Parent Drop-off and Sign-in
- 9:00 am – 9:30 am – Opening Circle
- Introductions – name, pronouns (optional), Thumb-dar (gauging students’ energy level)
- Icebreaker game
- A quick review of trail safety & bathrooms
- 9:30-10:15 am – Start our hike
- 10:15 – 10:30 am – Snack & Water Break
- We’ll make sure to have snack in the shade on hot days
- 10:30 – 11:00 am – Game / Supervised Free Explore Time
- For younger students, more nature-focused games and introduction to native plants.
- For older students, time to free explore, practice native plant ID with counselors, and more advanced games.
- 11:00 am – Noon – Hiking to Our Lunch Spot
- Noon – 12:45 pm: Lunch with friends / Lunch Activities
- Lunch Activities include – joke-telling, riddle-sharing, and nature storytelling
- 12:45 – 1:15 pm – Continue Hiking
- In hotter months, this second half of the day will often be spent in or near the water (no swimming)
- 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm – Nature Arts & Crafts / Creative Activities
- 2:30 – 3:15 pm – Hike Back to Pick-Up location
- 3:15 pm – 3:30 pm – Closing Circle
- Usually centered on what we are grateful for or what we were most excited to discover that day
- 3:30 pm – Parent Pick-up and Sign-out
Our maximum ratio is 7:1 and we have a minimum of 2 counselors per group.
Our counselors are all CPR certified, and at a minimum one counselor per group carries NOLS certifications in Wilderness First Aid and administration of Epinephrine Auto-Injector.
Yes – all summer camp sessions are 5 days a week.
HAWKs provides transportation for After School Enrichment. At this time, for camps, students are dropped off / picked up at the designated location.
We use various methods to ensure everyone stays cool and hydrated during the summer heat.
Our counselors carry plenty of water to ensure students stay hydrated. Between the two teachers, each group will have at least 8 Liters of water stored in a water bladder for water bottle refills. Our educators know to take frequent water breaks in the shade, and for younger students, we often play camp “drinking games” that encourage all students to drink plenty of water. Our counselors will also carry misting spray bottles to help keep the kids cool!
If days are particularly hot, we will choose a location with tree or bridge cover to stay out of the direct sunlight. Additionally, in the summer, we often go to locations with freshwater that students can splash around in, including creeks, rivers, and lakes. These are often students’ favorite locations!
Please note that ALL of our water spots will be quite shallow, no more than ankle/shin height. There is no swimming.
Finally, in case of emergency, each counselor team will have at least one educator who carries NOLS certifications in Wilderness First Aid and administration of Epinephrine Auto-Injector.
In this training, our educators are taught how to spot signs of dehydration or heat stroke and how to prevent it.
- We try our best to accommodate sibling/friend requests, which can be made during your student’s registration. However, we cannot guarantee that siblings or friends will be put in the same group. Please make sure to add your sibling or friend request in your registration.
- If you cancel your registration for one of our sessions before May 1st, you will receive a 100% camp credit.
- If you cancel after May 1st up until the program starts, you will receive a 50% credit.
Our age range for After school enrichment, Day and Summer Camps is 5 – 13 years old. We offer our more advanced Red Tail Treks and Cooper Camps for kids 12-16.
However, we are willing to consider students under our minimum age requirement of five, but we just ask that you reach out to Associate Director of Programming, Jacob Walker (email@example.com) and answer the following questions:
- What is your younger student’s level of hiking/outdoor experience? Have they ever been to camp before?
- What is your younger student’s level of comfortability with older kids?
- How in touch is your student with their bathroom needs? Can they communicate with counselors about when they need to go, and would they be comfortable going outside, as not all locations we go to have bathroom facilities?
Once you have answered the above questions, Jacob will review your answers and let you know ASAP if your younger student is ready to join.
Our counselors are experienced in adjusting hikes to fit the group’s abilities. In general, 5-7-year-olds should expect to hike 1 – 2 miles daily, and our 8 – 12-year-olds should expect to hike an average of 3-4 miles. This is variable depending on the weather and what other activities we have planned. The hiking will also be spread out between breaks and games, as shown in our example itinerary above. Red Tail treks are longer, more intensive hikes take us deep into the forests and high into the mountains of Los Angeles. Expect distances of up to 10 miles with varying degrees of elevation.
We recommend packing your students with hearty, healthy food that will keep them well fueled on the trail. Consider packing your student a few extra snacks than most day camps, since our days are long, and kids often get hungry right before pick up. Also, for students under 7, we recommend trying to pack students’ food in small baggies because sometimes when younger students open their lunchbox on the trail, they end up dropping their food in the dirt.
If your student has any allergies, please note that on your registration, and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if your student needs to be in a group that is free from that allergen.
Our educators have tons of experience breaking the barrier of many students who may be nervous about restroom use outside of their homes or schools. Below is a how we handle using the restrooms during class:
Many of our locations have public restrooms, and this is how we use them safely:
- Staff inspects restroom before sending students in
- Hand-sanitizer or hand washing follows
Nature #1 (Peeing)
- Staff will takes student to a private spot away from the trail
- Staff will ensure student’s privacy and that there are no hazards around, counselor carry pop bathroom tents for use if needed
- Students will go to the bathroom and then return to the counselor
- Hand sanitizer is applied, and then our staff member will guide the student back to the group.
Nature #2 (Pooping)
- Students let staff know in advance that they need to go #2.
- Staff will find a private location for the student to go Number 2 following our “Nature #1” steps
- All teaching teams will carry a “Poop Kit” with them, which includes Toilet Paper, a Trowel (for digging a “cat hole”), a Trash Bag.
- Any waste paper we create will go in a small little ziplock and will be packed out and disposed of properly.
- We send all mass communications through our registration system, Sawyer. Parents can expect to receive information about their upcoming week of camp by 7 pm on the Thursday before camp starts.
- If you have any questions or have yet to receive information by then, please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kids must come with sunscreen applied and bring more in their backpack for sunscreen breaks.
- On Water days – Sunscreen should be applied before class and after getting out of the water. However, sunscreen can also harm sensitive water ecosystems, so students are encouraged to wear light long sleeves and hats as sun protection on water days if possible.
○ Long sleeves and pants are also more effective at sun protection.
- Counselors will carry spray sunscreen to give out but will not be able to apply sunscreen to children.
- Parents must send our co-founder, Martha (Martha@hawksla.com), and Associate Program Director, Jacob (email@example.com), a written email request if their child needs help from a counselor to apply sunscreen, and they grant counselors’ permission to help students apply it.
- Swimsuit Under Clothes – students may change into or out of their swimsuits using one of our pop tents. However, students are encouraged to simply wear swimsuits under their clothes before getting into and after getting out of the water.
- Water Shoes (Encouraged, but not mandatory) – Waterproof shoes include flip flops, sandals, and Tevas. We try to keep students from going in the water barefoot, as certain parts of water areas near us can have sharp rocks.
- Change of Clothes – In case students’ clothes get wet or in case a student wants to change out of their swimsuit.
- Light Towel(s) – We recommend sending your student with a light towel to sit on and one to use to dry off.
Water Day Protocols (Northeast LA):
- Students will only go into the water up to their shins, so any students still learning to swim will be fine.
- When in the water, students must always stay near counselors and come out if counselors say it’s time to come out.
- Students can splash, play, explore, build, and look for water creatures, but they are not able to fully swim, even if they know how.
- If your student does not wish to go in the water, they are not required to.
- Our staff will review these and additional water safety protocols before going in the water.
Water Day Protocols (West LA)
- Students will only go into the ocean up to their shins, so any students still learning to swim will be fine.
- When in the water, students must always stay near counselors and come out if counselors say it’s time to come out!
- Students are not to fully swim, even if they know how, as our staff are not lifeguard certified.
- We will mainly splashing around at the edge of the water, looking for water creatures, building sandcastles, etc.
- If your student does not wish to go in the water, they do not need to.
Required Camper Supplies (General):
- 32oz. Water bottle (Educators carry a water bladder for refills)
- For Day Camps: Healthy, filling lunch and two hearty snacks.
For After School Enrichment: Healthy, filling snacks (for students 7 and under, we recommend marking snacks as specifically for HAWKs ASE as many students eat all their snacks during lunch)
- Quick Dry clothing – 100% cotton gets wet/sweaty
- Hat (Any students who haven’t received one will get a HAWKs hat on Day 1 of camp)
- Sunscreen (Already applied and a bottle to reapply)
- 1 Extra pair of socks (all students)
- Full change of clothes (all students 7 and under)
Optional Camper Supplies (General): – Not required, but students often like having the following):
- Mask – Optional (Outdoor masking remains optional. We follow the guidance of the Los Angeles County Health Department)
- Hand Sanitizer (Educators will carry a bottle as well)
- Extra Bandana
- Magnifying Glass