FAQ For Students

Why is it called Muddy Sneakers and will my shoes actually get muddy?

To start with, you don’t have to have muddy sneakers to be a ‘Muddy Sneaker’ but there is at least a chance that the shoes you’re wearing may get wet, squishy and/or muddy. Why? Because soon enough you’ll be off on an outdoor learning expeditions with your classmates in the middle of:

  • Rocks and boulders
  • Springs and creeks
  • Rushing water and waterfalls
  • Hills and banks
  • Forest paths
  • Birds and animals
  • Plants and flowers
  • Bugs
  • Frogs
  • You get the idea…

How many learning expeditions will we do over the course of the year?

Each school will participate in 6-10 learning expeditions throughout the year, ideally 3-5 in the fall (September-November) and then 3-5 in the spring (February-April).

How long will we be gone and what will we be doing?

Each Muddy Sneakers learning expedition takes place during a regular school day. You will go to school like normal but instead of heading into the classroom to spend the day at your desk, you will either:

  1. Get on a school bus to come meet the Muddy Sneakers instructors at one of our many cool field locations (DuPont State Recreational Forest, Gorges State Park, NC National Forests, etc.), OR
  2. Meet us in your schoolyard for a day of exploring your own backyard and learning about things you may never have known existed!

Either way, you’ll be outside for most of the day learning your science curriculum, meeting lots of new creatures, discovering how nature works and using creative tools like writing, math and imagination to better understand and reflect upon our amazing natural world!

Every Muddy Sneakers day will have a specific topic of the day that will relate to a subject you will study in your classroom during fifth grade. Though our expeditions are science-based, we also will spend time writing, doing math, and hiking. It’s like all of your subjects at school rolled into one!

What kind of outdoor skills will I learn on Muddy Sneakers Expeditions?

In addition to learning and practicing Science, Math, and other school subjects on a Muddy Sneakers Expedition, your Muddy Sneakers Instructor will teach you outdoor skills that will help you stay safe, learn, and have fun in your shared outdoor classroom throughout the year. You will learn what to do if your group encounters bees, snakes, or other wildlife, how to identify poison ivy, how to use the bathroom in the woods, and how to use a map and compass. These are skills you will learn about on your first expedition and use throughout the year. If you have any other questions about outdoor skills, ask your Field Instructor! They are trained naturalists and have lots of outdoor knowledge to share.

Will Muddy Sneakers give us everything we need for the learning expedition?

What should I bring?

  • Appropriate Clothes

    All students need to come prepared for the conditions. Wearing appropriate clothes is the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for a fun day in the woods. Look at the weather report the night before and remember that it’s always better to be too warm than too cold when you’re preparing to be outside for the day! Think about wearing clothes that dry quickly (not cotton) and always plan on wearing/bringing ‘layers’ with you in case you get too hot/cold.

  • Lunch

    Everyone must bring his or her own lunch on Muddy Sneakers expedition days (including schoolyard expeditions). We ask that you try and limit the amount of packaging since you’ll have to carry out your own garbage with you – remember that we practice ‘Leave No Trace’.

  • Two regular size bottles of water

    We recommend buying 1-2 good water bottles at the beginning of the year and reusing them for each expedition.

  • A rain poncho or waterproof rain jacket

  • A warm jacket/sweatshirt

    No matter the weather, be prepared for quick changes in temperature and remember that rainfall in the mountains is always a possibility.

  • Comfortable walking shoes

    It is VERY important to wear appropriate shoes for walking all day in the woods. Hiking boots and of course sneakers work great but we ask that no students wear flip-flops or sandals.

  • A “Field Journal Kit”

    This kit should consist of a small notebook and pen or pencil in a zip lock baggie. The Field Kit needs to come into the field each time you go on a Muddy Sneakers learning expedition.

  • A positive attitude

    Please come with a smile and an eagerness to be outdoors all day!

What should I not bring?

  • Cell phone, iPods, or anything electronic

  • Flip flops

  • Fishing gear

  • Dogs or other pets

  • Soda

  • Gum

*Please only bring what’s on the list of things to bring; carrying extra stuff throughout the day will make your pack heavier

How will I stay safe during Muddy Sneakers?

Muddy Sneakers instructors are outdoor professionals and spend most of the school year teaching outside. They are used to the forest being their classroom just like your teacher is used to teaching at school. They will teach you how to identify poison ivy, what to do if your group encounters bees, snakes, or other wildlife, how to follow Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, how to go to the bathroom in the woods, and how to use a map and compass. If you have questions about the creatures and plants you encounter on a Muddy Sneakers day, ask your instructor! They each have a variety of knowledge and reference materials about the cool stuff you can find in the woods.

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