Residential & Day Programs

Outdoor School


Building Classroom Community

Since 2003, Gilmont has offered Outdoor School programs for students to wonder, hypothesize, observe, record, and learn together through their experience in nature. Using the five senses, scientific tools, field guides, and careful observation, students record findings in an engaging and scientific format to draw conclusions about the world around them.

Outdoor School field experiences help students build real world connections between the classroom and the forest ecosystem. Math and science vocabulary, principles, and processes all come to life in the natural world while students participate in engaging activities. Gilmont staff is commited to making field experiences meaningful and rich. Activities correlate to the state TEKS. Educators are welcome to request a copy of our TEKS correlated curriculum.

See our offered lessons below!

Aquatic Biology

Make a splash at Gilmont’s Lake Kilgore and collect aquatic specimens to draw conclusions about the health of a lake ecosystem. Using aquatic nets and boots, students gather and observe macroinvertebrates, record their findings, and infer the health of the lake ecosystem according to various bio-indicators.


Turn your focus to the ground beneath you and gather soil samples at a few chosen locations across Gilmont’s 400 acres of wooded property. Students use soil thermometers, spring scales, and magnifying loupes to compare and contrast soil rich in sand, clay, silt, and even iron ore.

East Texas Forestry

Work together to complete an ordered pair plot of a section of hardwoods and pines. Students challenge themselves and use compasses, identify various native trees, and apply math skills to a real world setting.


Go back in time to the days of muscle power and learn about life as a pioneer. As students try their hand at various pioneer chores, they learn to problem solve together without the use of technology. Students develop both an appreciation of their past and a sense of place in the present.


Venture into the East Texas wilderness on a guided hike and let the forest be your teacher. Along the way, students learn to identify different trees, recognize producers, consumers, and decomposers, determine learned behavior versus inherited characteristics, and more!

This course is ideal for Day Programs!

More about the program

Gilmont’s Educational Philosophy is built on the following principles:

Building Classroom Community - the “4 Cs”

  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Commitment
  • Care

When the 4 Cs are used, a team of any age will be successful. At Gilmont Outdoor School, students practice caring for others and begin to see their teachers and classmates from a new perspective that positively impacts the entire year.

Using Nature as a Guide

There are many lessons about relationships we can learn by using natural systems as a model. Learning to value the natural world helps us to realize the importance of our connections with each other, our responsibility for caring for the world, and ultimately, valuing our place in the world.

Setting High Expectations for Success

Gilmont Outdoor School emphasises vocabulary and skills based on the State Objectives. We believe that demonstration and immersion are essential components for an engagement level that will transfer back to the classroom.


Gilmont is located 6 miles northeast of Gilmer, Texas off Highway 155. We are 2.5 hours east from the DFW area, 45 minutes north of Tyler, and 25 minutes from Longview. Our address is 6075 State Highway 155 N, Gilmer, TX 75644.
Gilmont's pricing is tailored to each district because of the variety of class sizes, and the flexibility of the programs offered at Gilmont. Email [email protected] or call us at 903-797-6400 to get a quote for your group.​

Lessons are planned and implemented by Gilmont Outdoor School teachers who are passionate about teaching students in nature. We are eager to work with classroom teachers to deliver a meaningful experience that extends back to the classroom. 

Classroom teachers are an integral part of Outdoor School. From classroom pre-trip anticipation-building and phone calls with anxious parents, teachers can weave school goals into curricular instruction while teaching on the trail.  Over the years, we have noticed that a high level of teacher participation at Gilmont directly correlates to a much richer educational experience for students.  

The teacher's presence and participation throughout the program not only ensures a smooth trip, but also provides the opportunity to get to know students in a new setting. Classroom teachers make connections to the classroom, evaluate student learning, and help students stay engaged.

What does a Residential Program include?
Residential programs are typically 3 days-2 nights.

​Students eat kid-friendly meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Chaperones are required overnight. Students and chaperones stay in one of Gilmont's air-conditioned cabins with bunk beds and private baths. Learn more about Gilmont's sleeping spaces here.

This program is ideal for students 5th grade and up.

A typical day is 9 am-2 pm.

Gilmont will not provide lunch for students; sack lunches are required.

​This program is ideal for students in 1st grade and up. Gilmont staff will work with classroom teachers to discern relevant and engaging curriculum for each grade level.

Looking for a partner to help your students grow into stronger people, more confident in their educational abilities, and eager to make connections between the classroom and the real world? Inquire below!

Outdoor School Inquiry Form