• York School adds 100+ acres as “outdoor laboratory”

    Twenty years in the planning, the dream of acquiring 100-plus acres of land adjacent to the York School campus is now a reality. The addition of the “York Outdoor Laboratory,” located on 101 acres of maritime chaparral in the former Fort Ord, increases the size of the campus fivefold, paving the way for expanded academic and athletic programs.

    The initial application for the land, filed over 20 years ago, outlined the intended educational uses of the land. During the transfer process, York faculty and administration developed curricular and extra-curricular plans for incorporating the land into York’s educational mission.

    “We are excited about the opportunities for our students to learn more about the natural environment in which they live and learn,” said Chuck Harmon, Head of School. “We pledge to be good stewards of this land, and we want to expand our partnerships in the larger community so that interested individuals and groups can join York students in observing, exploring, and enjoying the myriad scientific and recreational possibilities offered by the York Outdoor Lab,” he said, adding that the vision and participation of Trustee Emeritus Steven Webster have been invaluable.

    Webster, a marine biologist and a founder of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has been a lead proponent of the York Outdoor Laboratory and was instrumental in the acquisition process. He joined the York Board in 1979 and has served as trustee emeritus since 2005.

    The York Outdoor Laboratory will provide education and research programs in field biology, ecology, natural history, geosciences, and the history of land use practices for York students and the Central Coast community. The York School athletic fields, on land previously leased from the U.S. Army, encompass approximately 30 of the 101.19 acres of the former Ford Ord property. York’s lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey teams practice and play on these fields. The remaining acreage is in a largely natural state, with the exception of a graded firebreak. The Outdoor Laboratory, adjacent to the Fort Ord Natural Reserve to the north, will function as an extension of the Reserve’s living resources to the York School campus to the south.


    posted to Cedar Street Times on November 12, 2011

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News


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