Tooele County School District

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Chalk Talk - O-PHIR Survival’s Sake

The Tooele Education Foundation is hosting Grantsville Junior High, Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High, and Tooele Junior High students as they work to participate in lessons that help to expand their understanding of the role of the natural world and their interaction in it. Students learn core skills through an exciting mixture of engaging presentations, hands-on activities, and field-based experiences and adventures, developing an integrated knowledge of the natural world. They then leave the Ophir Canyon Education Center with the ability to implement these valuable nature skills into their personal and educational endeavors.

Lessons and activities are facilitated by teachers from local area schools and the help from volunteers who support environmentally-oriented efforts. Classes such as basic first aid, how to stay warm and build outdoor fires, building survival shelters, survival cooking, tracking and trapping small game, identifying and classifying wild plants, primitive fishing, and water purification techniques are just some classes students are taught. Of course, there are fun nature hikes where students have the opportunity to see wildlife in its natural habitat. In addition to the academic elements of these lessons, students enjoy being outdoors and developing wilderness skills that enhance connection with nature, aid in emergencies, and promote self-sufficiency.

Jodi Castagno, Brady Christensen and Carlos Jimenez facilitate outdoor programming at our three Tooele Valley junior high schools, respectively. These teachers are continuing to promote the importance of environmental education that was started many years ago in our school district. Some of the pioneering efforts with these classes previously accomplished by visionary teachers like Brent Eggett, Kathy Taylor, Lynn Wyatt, and Rick Turner.

TEF is happy to support and sponsor such essential learning. Amanda Jones is the program coordinator for our Ophir Canyon education programming. If you would like to learn more about how to help and advance our outdoor learning efforts, Amanda can be reached at (435) 833-1900 ext. 1174 or by emailing

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