Outdoor Education

“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I might remember. Let me do it and I will understand.” (Chinese proverb)

Why Outdoor Education?

Outdoor education is learning by doing. It is a powerful way to get students excited about the outdoors and interested in hands-on learning about the natural world. We combine a fresh look at science, history, social studies, math, and language arts with the fun of camp activities like archery, canoeing, fishing, hiking, and our challenge course.
The outdoor classroom provides an ideal setting for students to enjoy the experience of learning by exploration and discovery, as well as the pleasure of hands-on education. Students learn by seeing, touching, and discovering the world around them through our innovative courses. Take a closer look at what we have to offer:

Public, Private, and Home Schools

The outdoor education program specializes in field trips focused on an outdoor learning experience for elementary through high school students. We offer an exciting one-to-three day program packed with hands-on discoveries of important truths about life and our natural environment.
Students participate in an array of outdoor learning activities such as: archery, riflery, fishing, canoeing, orienteering, animal tracks, predator/prey relationships, ecosystems, entomology, habitat study, bird study, owl pellet dissection, wildlife evidence observations, outdoor living skills, Dutch oven cooking, and the challenge course. Evening programs offer an exciting variety of night adventure games, campfire programs, skits, hayrides, and night hikes.
This firsthand interaction experienced by schoolchildren is of unequaled educational value. Outdoor education helps cement scientific principles in the minds of the children participating in the program.

Student Leadership

The Student Leadership program is designed specifically for high school student groups like P.A.L.S, Youth Group Leadership Teams, or other campus leadership teams to equip teenage students for peer leadership. Students participate in a series of low elements on the challenge course at Highland Lakes Camp. Demonstrating the importance of group interaction, the Student Leadership program encourages students to define success, meet their goals, and improve their roles in society. The all-day program focuses on group communication, cooperation, trust, leadership, and listening skills. Students also challenge themselves on an individual level on our high ropes adventure. Increase the leadership skills in your student body!

Faculty Development Workshops

The staff at Highland Lakes Camp works to create a shared experience for your entire faculty and staff. Programs include a one-to-two-day experience focusing specifically on a sense of community and teambuilding. Operating with a “challenge-by-choice” philosophy, the workers at Highland Lakes Camp seek to challenge your staff in the areas of team communication, cooperation, trust, leadership, and listening skills. Attend staff development workshops unlike any you have ever seen!

Day or Night Hikes

Bring your group out to Highland Lakes Camp to join our trail guides for a walk on the wild side! Day hikes educate groups on the natural history of the area, focusing on flora and fauna specific to the central Texas ecosystem. Night hikes are combined into programs of roasting s’mores around a blazing campfire, bouncing along on a hayride, and tiptoeing along the trails.

Why Go to Camp?

The value of extending the classroom to camp is tremendous! First, the students are transferred to an environment that is void of the distractions that are found outside of camp (i.e. television, telephone, video games, etc.). This provides an atmosphere that fosters the learning process. Another important aspect is that the camp experience allows teachers and students to share quality time outside of the classroom. The time spent at camp helps create a bond between students and teachers that strengthens relationships and encourages communication back at school. Lastly, the natural world is a complex and intriguing environment, filled with many marvels that stimulate learning.

Highland Lakes Camp will work with you to design a program that will meet your students’ needs. The length of stay and number of meals can be customized to provide you and your students with a meaningful and memorable experience. Your teachers can have as much or as little to do with the planning of your experience as you would like.

Why Highland Lakes Camp?

Our mission is to develop each student’s awareness, knowledge, and respect for the natural environment. Through this learning experience, participants will develop respect for, and the desire to preserve and protect, their natural environment. Our aim is to accomplish the following program goals:

  • Promote a nurturing and fun learning atmosphere that is ecologically sound and promotes respectful attitudes towards the living and non-living components of our natural environment.
  • Provide a non-traditional, creative learning environment.
  • Enhance classroom learning through hands-on outdoor activities.
  • Encourage the use of creative experiential teaching techniques and cooperative learning groups.


Our outdoor education program is specifically designed to meet your student and faculty’s needs. To help teachers maximize their teaching efforts, we correlate all of our outdoor education classes to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements. We work closely with teachers and administrators to make sure their students are gaining hands-on knowledge in the areas the state of Texas requires.

Our high quality staff possess years of experience interacting with students and love helping students learn about our natural environment. We are committed to providing an exciting and challenging experience while maintaining the highest levels of safety and protection for your students.

Our belief is that an outdoor education program should challenge a student intellectually, socially, and physically.

Our desire is to accomplish these goals by providing high impact experiential nature studies and a variety of fun recreational activities.

Highland Lakes Camp is conveniently located only 40 miles west of downtown Austin off of Highway 71. Close to town and all its modern conveniences… yet tucked away in a wonderfully secluded wilderness setting. It is a perfect place to plan your next field trip. The camp offers a variety of different options and activities for all ages and group sizes. There are one day as well as overnight programs that can be customized to your area of study or interest. Come let your group enjoy the beautiful outdoors and experience a variety of unique and fun learning activities.

For more information please contact Rusty Brandon, HLC’s Director of Outdoor Education, at 512.264.1777 or 888.222.3482 rusty@highlandlakescamp.org.