Kern Environmental Education Program

The Kern Environmental Education Program (KEEP) offers Residential Outdoor Science Education for 5th and 6th graders at two separate and beautiful coastal campuses: KEEP Ocean in Montaña de Oro State Park and KEEP Cambria Pines in Cambria. Here, students use the natural environment as a living laboratory. Children learn about ecological concepts while they explore and study a variety of ecosystems through first-hand experiences. Students, teachers and counselors share the enriching experience of living in cabins together, eating community meals, learning on the trails, playing science games by starlight, singing songs around a campfire and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean.

The KEEP Experience

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Camp KEEP Forms

We hope your child is looking forward to an amazing week at the Kern Environmental Education Program. Our staff is ready to deliver a once in a lifetime environmental experience.

Specialized Health Care Needs

The Physician’s Authorization to Attend Form is required for students with specialized health care needs to attend KEEP. Contact Assistant Superintendent Desiree VonFlue (661-636-4629) and your classroom teacher for the following:

  1. Any medications requiring injections (i.e. Epipen or Glucagon)
  2. Diabetes
  3. Severe bee sting or insect bite reaction
  4. Severe food or nut allergy reaction
  5. Mobility limitations
  6. Severe asthma (i.e. requiring nebulizer or activity restrictions)
  7. Seizure Disorder
  8. Respiratory Restrictions (i.e. respiratory conditions limiting activity)
  9. Recent hospitalization
  10. Other serious health conditions.

If your child has a serious medical condition, permission to participate will be determined on an individual basis. The KEEP campuses are an hour away from an health care facility, and KEEP does not have a school nurse. Your child’s safety is a vital concern. Many of these health care conditions will require a medical shadow to attend with your child (free of charge). The sooner KEEP and your school is notified of your child’s condition, the better!

Clothing and Equipment

Quick Tips for Packing

Proper footwear is a must
Dress in layers
Bring a warm hat, gloves and jacket
Students should label all clothing and equipment
Bring a good attitude about getting dirty

For Schools/Counselors

Dear Teachers/Principals:

Many of you wish to know what to expect when you bring your class to KEEP. Therefore, we have compiled this description of some of the mechanics of your field study trip. Complete information is contained in your KEEP Teacher Resource Guide.

Please arrive at 11:30 a.m., allowing three hours to get to KEEP from Bakersfield (the KEEP staff will not be ready for you until 11:30 a.m.). Upon arrival, you and your students will be given a brief welcome and behavior expectations before lunch is served at noon.

After lunch students will learn their cabin assignments and move their luggage to their rooms. Following this, students will accompany Naturalists on orientation walks around the campus. Counselors will have their own orientation meeting with the Lead Naturalist. The teachers will meet with the Program Supervisor to talk about the week (hiking assignments, teacher duties, students, etc.).

Around 4:30 p.m. the students and counselors will finish moving in and have some free time until dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Teachers will meet with their students for one hour per day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. This is a good time to touch base with your students and, if you choose, have the children work on their field notebooks. Counselors have a meeting during this “teacher hour” and then enjoy their limited free time — so please keep your students for the full hour.

Be prepared for the unexpected at KEEP. Anything that happens is curriculum. We look forward to a wonderful week with you and your class. Your comments, suggestions and constructive criticisms are earnestly solicited. The KEEP office phone number in Bakersfield is (661) 636-4629.


Being a counselor is a challenging, fun, and extremely rewarding experience. Be prepared to learn a bunch about science, nature, kids and…yourself.

Counselors are not babysitters, but rather, temporary staff members who are responsible for the safety, well being, and educational support of approximately 7-12 elementary students for five days, 24 hours per day.

As a counselor, you will assist naturalists on ecology walks/hikes and evening campfire programs, directly supervise between 7 to 12 students during meal time, showers, etc., and be on call for emergencies while bunking with students.

All counselors (whether high school, college or adult/parent) must complete a registration form and submit to the school site before coming to Camp KEEP.

All high school counselors must have a registration form completely filled out and in the possession of the teacher before boarding the bus to come to camp. Counselors under the age of 18 must have the form signed by their parent.

So You’re coming to KEEP as a Counselor? Here are some tips:

Make sure you bring good sturdy shoes with good tread on the bottom. Bring a couple of pairs at least because there is a good chance they may get wet. Ugg boots, “shape-ups”, and or rubber boots are NOT good for hiking on trails. And you will be hiking, every day, rain or shine. Some days you can expect to cover over 5 miles up steep hills or on sandy dusty trails sometimes gaining up to 1,000 feet in elevation. Some hikes go along uneven rocky shores laced with slippery rocks. Be prepared!
Bring warm clothes, the wind and weather on the coast can make it quite cold over here at times, however a big heavy jacket is not recommended for hiking, several light warm layers work much better. Don’t forget, a backpack to carry your layers, camera and your refillable water bottle.


Don’t count on using your cell phones, in fact we discourage it. Service is sketchy, time is limited, and here at KEEP the kids come first. The KEEP staff would rather you focus on being here in this wonderful place with the students rather than texting or talking to people miles away.
Do you drink coffee or tea? Bringing your own insulated mug to enjoy your hot beverage is a good idea.
More in-depth information can be found in the KEEP Counselor Handbook.


Optional Items

Quick Tips for Packing

Camera, binoculars, sunscreen, sun glasses, 1 cap/visor for sun protection, backpack, flip-flops or sandals for shower, earplugs if you are a light sleeper, and a watch.

KEEP Ocean

KEEP Ocean is located on a secluded 10-acre site within Montaña de Oro State Park, about 10 miles south of Morro Bay. The campus is nestled behind a grove of eucalyptus trees about one-half mile from the Pacific Ocean. Hiking trails lead from the site to many diverse habitats in the surrounding state park.

During their stay at KEEP Ocean, students will have the opportunity to experience one of the more spectacular coastlines of the central California coast. Montana de Oro and Morro Bay State Parks combine to provide a wide variety of natural habitats for science exploration.

As students climb the coastal mountains through the chaparral ecosystem they will study geology and plant adaptations. Many reptiles, birds, and mammals are regularly seen in the chaparral. Climbing to the top of these mountains and seeing the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the coastline stretching below them gives the students a sense of accomplishment not felt in traditional educational settings.

The shifting sands of the sand dune community provide a dynamic landscape overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Here, students can study the unique flora and fauna that is adapted to this ‘semi-desert’ area. The walk also affords the students a chance to explore some of the beaches, tidepools and rocky shorelines of the state park.

Under the shade of the willow trees the babble of the creek serves as a backdrop for lessons about the riparian ecosystem and the history of the Native Americans (Chumash) who depended on this vital source of water.

At Morro Bay, students will spend the entire day learning about the natural history, geology and economic importance of estuaries. Waterfowl, shorebirds, and raptors share this habitat with sea lions, sea otters and fish. Students will conduct field studies of the estuary by examining plankton, observing underwater habitats and exploring the salt marsh and mudflats. The wide variety of vertebrates and invertebrates observed in these habitats help give meaning to the concepts of food webs and interdependence.

7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. — Wake-up, breakfast, awards, and getting ready for the day. Students fill out their daily activity journal.  

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — Nature walk to beaches, tidepools, forests, creeks, sand dunes, or Morro Bay.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Picnic Lunch.

12:30 p.m.  – 3:30 p.m. — Nature walk to beaches, tidepools, forests, creeks, sand dunes, or Morro Bay.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. — During this time, teachers provide activities for students such as art projects, writing letters home, or filling out their KEEP journals.

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. — Recreation and shower time. Activities include nature center, soccer, volleyball, basketball, ping-pong, tether ball, snake holding & touch tank exploration.

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. — Dinnertime! Students eat a nutritious dinner with a delicious dessert. After dinner students get ready for evening activities.

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. — Evening program. Students work together playing various science games. Games are followed by a campfire, songs, and stories.

A Typical Menu for a 5 Day Week at Keep Ocean


Menu subject to change due to seasonal availability and/or other factors

Monday: 
Lunch: Chicken Nuggets w/BBQ Sauce, Black Beans, Corn, Pineapple Cup, Milk
Dinner: Spaghetti, Green Beans, French Roll, Strawberry Ice Cream, Apple Juice

Tuesday: 
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Corn Tortilla, Peach Cup, Juice/Milk
Lunch M.B: Hot Dogs, Sun Chips, Apple, Green Salad w/ Italian, Mustard, Milk
Lunch S.Cove: Turkey Sandwich, Sun Chips, Apple, Green Salad w/ Italian, Mayo, Milk
Dinner: Chicken Tenders, Mashed Potatoes w/Gravy, Broccoli, Pudding, Apple Juice

Wednesday: 
Breakfast: Cinnamon Roll, Potato Wedge, Applesauce Cup, Juice/Milk
Lunch M.B: Hot Dogs, Potato Chips, Banana, Carrots, Mustard, Milk
Lunch S.Cove: Ham Sandwich, Potato Chips, Banana, Carrots, Mayo, Milk
Dinner: Pizza, Green Salad, Cake, Apple Juice

Thursday:
Breakfast: Egg & Cheese Burrito, Cereal Bowl, Applesauce Cup, Juice/Milk
Lunch M.B: Hot Dogs, Potato Chips, Banana, Carrots, Mustard, Milk
Lunch Spooners: Turkey Sandwich, Potato Chips, Banana, Carrots, Mayo, Milk
Dinner: Tacos, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice, Chips & Salsa, Apple Juice

Friday: 
Breakfast:
Pancake Dog, Yogurt, Peach Cup, Juice/Milk
Lunch: Bean and Cheese Burrito, Orange, Fresh Broccoli w/ranch, Brownie, Milk

Photo and ID’s of KEEP Cambria staff (TBD)

Directions to KEEP Ocean (from the Bakersfield area)

  • North on I-5 to Hwy 46
  • West on Hwy 46 to Hwy 101
  • South on Hwy 101 to the Los Osos exit (located in southern San Luis Obispo)
  • Turn west (right) onto Los Osos Valley Rd and go 10 miles to the town of Los Osos
  • From the first traffic light in Los Osos (at South Bay Blvd) continue for 2.5 miles on Los Osos Valley Rd., following the directional signs reading "Montana de Oro State Park".  Eventually the road veers southward and turns into "Pecho Valley Rd."
  • When you reach the large (3’X6’) entrance sign to Montana de Oro State Park continue 1.6 miles past the "Hazard Horse Camp" & "Sand Spit" parking areas until you come to a dirt driveway on the left side of the road. Turn left. The address number is 3350.
  • Drive up the dirt road and stay to the left. KEEP Ocean is only 100 yards through the trees from the pavement. 

KEEP Ocean Directions Map

Testimonials

“The program is excellent! Keep it going. This is my fifth time at KEEP and I have nothing but good things to say about it.” – Teacher, College Heights

“Thank you for everything you do. Our kids will remember this experience for a lifetime. Thanks for making science come alive.” — Cabin Leader, Standard Elementary

“I really enjoyed this week and learned so much. I was not offered this opportunity when I was young and I am glad I was able to experience it with my son. Thank you all so much.” — Parent Cabin Leader, Berkshire Elementary

KEEP Cambria

KEEP Cambria Pines is located at Camp Yeager in the small town of Cambria along California’s beautiful central coast. The campus features 13 acres of Monterey Pine habitat, plus a lush meadow and seasonal creek. Approximately half a mile from the beach, visitors can watch the sun set on the Pacific Ocean and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. The site is owned and maintained by the Coalinga-Huron Recreation & Parks District. 



While at KEEP Cambria, students and their counselors stay in 14 rustic cabins. Twelve of the cabins can sleep 8, and two of the cabins can sleep 12. The nearby handicapped-accessible bathrooms have showers, sinks, and toilets. Classroom teachers stay in their own cabins located within hearing distance of the student cabins. We also have one handicapped- accessible cabin that can sleep 7. It is equipped with a wheelchair ramp and its own bathroom.

Students, counselors, staff, and teachers eat their meals family-style in the dining hall. Meals are well balanced, varied, and tasty! While at dinner, students learn and practice a different manner each night. At the end of the week, students use all their new manners at the candlelight KEEP Cafe, a restaurant-style meal served by naturalists. 



The outdoor school campus also features the multi- purpose Learning Center, complete with audio-visual equipment, a saltwater touch tank, caged native reptiles, animal specimens, microscopes, sensory activities, and games. The site also has a large open play area with recreational equipment, a volleyball court, basketball court, and horseshoe & tetherball areas. There is also a "drum circle" plus an open stage and campfire area. Every night before bed, students gather around the fire for stories, songs and good old-fashioned fun. 



KEEP Cambria Pines is a beautiful and invigorating location for an outdoor science school, providing the highest quality program in environmental education.

7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Wake-up, breakfast, awards, and getting ready for the day. Students fill out their daily activity journal.  

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Nature walk to beaches, tidepools, forests, creeks, sand dunes, or Morro Bay.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Picnic Lunch.

12:30 p.m.  – 3:30 p.m. – Nature walk to beaches, tidepools, forests, creeks, sand dunes, or Morro Bay.
 
3:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – During this time, teachers provide activities for students such as art projects, writing letters home, or filling out their KEEP journals.

4:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Recreation and shower time. Activities include nature center, soccer, volleyball, basketball, ping-pong, tether ball, snake holding & touch tank exploration.

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Dinnertime! Students eat a nutritious dinner with a delicious dessert. After dinner students get ready for evening activities.

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Evening program. Students work together playing various science games. Games are followed by a campfire, songs, and stories.

A Typical Menu for a 5 Day Week at Keep Cambria


Menu subject to change due to seasonal availability and/or other factors

Monday: 
Lunch: Bean & Cheese Burrito, Broccoli, Pineapple, Chocolate Milk
Dinner: BBQ Chicken, Green Salad, Corn, Brownie, Punch

Tuesday: 
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Muffin, Peaches, Juice, Milk
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich, Chips, Carrots, Orange, Chocolate Milk, Chocolate Chip Cookie
Snack: Nutrigrain Bar, String Cheese
Dinner: Enchilada Pie, Mexican Rice, Chips, Green Salad, Churros, Punch

Wednesday: 
Breakfast: Pankcakes, Sausage, Applesauce, Juice, Milk
Lunch: Ham Sandwich, Crackers, Apple, Celery, Chocolate Milk, Goldfish Grahams
Snack: Team Cheerio Bar, String Cheese
Dinner: Cheese, Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza, Green Salad, Cookie, Punch

Thursday:
Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito, Pears, Juice, Milk
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich, Chips, Carrots, Orange, Chocolate Milk, Fruit Roll-up
Snack: Strawberry Chex Mix, String Cheese
Dinner: Lasagna, Green Beans, Green Salad, Dinner Rools, Ice Cream Sandwich, Punch

Friday: 
Breakfast:
Cold Cereal, Banana, Yogurt, Juice, Milk
Lunch: Hot Dog, Tater Tots, Pickle, Grapes, Chocolate Milk, Cookie

Photo and ID’s of KEEP Cambria staff (TBD)

Driving Directions to KEEP Cambria (from the Bakersfield area)

  • North on I-5 to Highway 46
  • West on Highway 46 to Highway 101
  • South on Highway 101 to Highway 46
  • West on Highway 46 to Highway 1
  • North on Highway 1 to Cambria
  • Right on Weymouth, after 4th traffic light.
  • Take Weymouth past fire station. Turn left at Camp Yeager sign (1/2 mile from Highway 1 to KEEP)
  • Entrance is at Ashby Lane.

KEEP Foundation

The KEEP Foundation is made up of local business and community leaders. The Foundation exists to promote and support the program through various fundraising efforts. In the 2014-15 school year, more than $40,000 was raised for the Foundation’s “Campership” fund that helps send students in need to camp.

The KEEP Foundation exists to . . .

  1. Promote a greater respect for our environment
  2. Provide non-advocacy environmental and scientific experiences for our youth
  3. Support ongoing program needs
  4. Expand public and corporate awareness of and participation in KEEP
If you are interested in contributing to the Camp KEEP Foundation, please contact:

Desiree Von Flue, Program Director
c/o KEEP Foundation
Kern County Superintendent of Schools
1300 17th Street; City Centre
Bakersfield, CA 93301

Members of the KEEP Foundation board of directors are:

PRESIDENT
Lynn Taylor

VICE PRESIDENT
Gary Chambers

SECRETARY/TREASURER
Desiree Von Flue – KCSOS

Tom Alexander – A-C Electric Company
Jim Bartleson – County Board of Education
Terry Bartz – Frito-Lay North America
Wayne Cella – Retired
Gary Chambers – A-C Electric Company
Steve Grove – Applied Technology Group
Kathy Jackson – Stockdale School
Steve Layton – E & B Natural Resources
Debra Porter – Porter Investigations
Ursula Ripley – Chevron
Scott Erwin – Robert Heely Construction


Contact

Desiree Von Flue
Camp KEEP Administrator
(661) 636-4629
devonflue@kern.org


Employment

Camp KEEP is always accepting applications for Substitute Naturalists and Substitute Cooks. For an application packet, call 661-636-4629. Occasionally, we have positions open up mid-year. If you are interested, please check back on this site or our Human Resources website periodically.

Naturalist Responsibilities:
Lead trail walks for groups of 14-18 students through beach, forest, and estuary ecosystems and be able to teach lessons on adaptations, cycles in nature, and human impact. Encourage appropriate student behavior through positive reinforcement strategies and techniques. Organize and lead large group activities for up to 130 participants. Conduct campfire and evening programs using songs, stories, and science-themed games. Maintain a clean, safe, and secure facility. Accurately dispense medications and perform first aid on an as-needed basis. Strive to create a positive and memorable lifetime experience for all participants. 



Cook Responsibilities:
Coordinate, organize, and participate in the preparation, cooking, baking, and preparation for delivery of a variety of foods, including entrees, vegetables, and other hot foodstuffs. Review and follow recipes and menus in the preparation of meat and other main dishes and specialty food items. Assist in maintaining appropriate inventory of non-perishables. Participate in the research and testing of new food products. Estimate needs for supplies and foodstuffs. May prepare food for banquet and catering type food service activities. Inspect the food service area of responsibility and maintain it in an orderly, safe, and sanitary condition.

Conditions of Employment:
  • Possess or secure, within one month of employment, a certificate for First Aid and CPR issued by the American Red Cross or equivalent.
  • Obtain a clear certificate of Tuberculosis.
  • Fingerprint clearance by the FBI and California Department of Justice. This is a condition of appointment after all other required job conditions have been met.
  • A pre-placement medical assessment for ability to lift 50 lbs and perform other duties outlined above. This is a condition of appointment after all other required job conditions have been met.
  • Some positions may require proof of privately owned automobile insurance and the possession of a valid California Motor Vehicle operator’s license.