Located on the South Fork of the American River, Mother Lode River Center sits in the historically and IMG_2061ecologically rich foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Our 19+ acre, riverside camp is an ideal setting for our outdoor education program’s dynamic approach. Students learn about the riparian environment first hand, acquiring a greater understanding of the essential roles watersheds play in our lives. For students of California history, Mother Lode River Center offers a unique opportunity: the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, located less than 3 miles away. Groups interested in team building will enjoy our challenge ropes course and life skills programs.

Our mission: to provide experiential education programs which incorporate hands-on, science-based learning, adventure, team and community building and a broad spectrum of cultural heritage activities. These programs promote deeper understanding, respect and a sense of responsibility for ourselves, our community, and our vital role in the ecological web.

Gold Rush/Native American History Program (4th Grade Curriculum)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur California Gold Rush/Native American History Program covers a unique blend of Social Science curriculum topics, including: physical and human geography of California, Native American cultures and the economic, social and political effects of the California Gold Rush. Our science curriculum topics include: earth structure, rock formation, erosion, plate tectonics, faulting, soil composition, formation and layering and the geological impacts of human activities. These topics will be covered in detail by our staff, but keep in mind that rather than educating students on this material for testing purposes, our staff encourages students to review and understand the materials in a way that promotes understanding through hands-on interaction.

River Science Program

The Mother Lode River Center is an ideal place to study a riparian habitat, the dynamics of water, the water cycle, erosion, scientific method, aquatic life and food chains. In our river science programs, students will be given a unique opportunity to observe what they are studying about in the classroom directly, and explore their own curiosity about the world around them while being led by teachers and interpreters who are passionate about sharing the unique river environment.

Life Skills Development ProgramDSC_0160

Our Life Skills Development Program utilizes experiential learning to foster life skills development and personal growth. We emphasize self-esteem, trust, problem solving, self-discovery and responsibility. As students work together through a physically and mentally challenging ropes course, leadership skills and teamwork are the main focus. Observation, discussion, planning, organization, debriefing and physical activity play a central role in each exercise.

Wilderness Tournament ProgramDSC_0077

During Mother Lode River Center’s Wilderness Tournament, students will learn outdoor survival skills in swift-water river rescue, fire making, shelter building, critical observation and wilderness medicine. Other exercises designed to hone their expedition skills in group communication, trust, leadership and courage will also add to the experience. Each group of students will work together as a team to complete each element.