The KEEP Experience
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.
These forms must be completely filled out, signed and returned to your child’s school:
- Application to Attend
- Policies & Procedures
- Checklist For Departure
- High School Registration Form
- Adult Registration Form
Forms for schools to send home to parents:
Information for schools to send home to parents:
Teacher Resource Guides
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:
- Any medications requiring injections (i.e. Epipen or Glucagon)
- Severe bee sting or insect bite reaction
- Severe food or nut allergy reaction
- Mobility limitations
- Severe asthma (i.e. requiring nebulizer or activity restrictions)
- Seizure Disorder
- Respiratory Restrictions (i.e. respiratory conditions limiting activity)
- Recent hospitalization
- 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!
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
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.
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:
More in-depth information can be found in the KEEP Counselor Handbook.
Welcome to KEEP
The Dome and Native Plant Garden
Girls’ Trailer Exterior
Girls’ Trailer Interior
Girls’ Bathroom Exterior
Girls’ Bathroom Interior
Boys’ Trailer Exterior
Boys’ Trailer Interior
Boys’ Bathroom Exterior
Boys’ Bathroom Interior
First Aid Exterior
First Aid Interior
Discovery Zone Exterior
Discovery Zone Interior
Discovery Zone Interior
Eyrie/Bird Watching Station
KEEP Ocean Staff
Sunset over KEEP
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.
Menu subject to change due to seasonal availability and/or other factors
Lunch: Chicken Nuggets w/BBQ Sauce, Black Beans, Corn, Pineapple Cup, Milk
Dinner: Spaghetti, Green Beans, French Roll, Strawberry Ice Cream, Apple Juice
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
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
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
Breakfast: Pancake Dog, Yogurt, Peach Cup, Juice/Milk
Lunch: Bean and Cheese Burrito, Orange, Fresh Broccoli w/ranch, Brownie, Milk
KEEP Ocean Staff Photo
Elizabeth “Salamander” Roberts (Program Supervisor) earned a BS in Biology from UC Berkeley as well as a K-8 teaching credential from Cal State Fresno. She started at KEEP in 1996 and became Supervisor in 2006. Elizabeth is our “Master of Details,” ensuring everything is operating smoothly and efficiently. Her favorite part about KEEP is creating a magical experience for visitors, being a part of an amazing team of coworkers, and getting to hike at the front of the line.
Dean Thompson (Lead Naturalist) received a BS in Wildlife Biology and Natural Resource Management from Cal Poly as well as a K-8 teaching credential. He started at KEEP in 1986. Dean is a Howard Bell award winner and master storyteller. His favorite part about KEEP is walking in the green spring time hills with a cool ocean breeze blowing off the ocean sky and feeding off the enthusiasm of students interacting with the wonders of nature.
Paul “Buzzy” Grafton (Lead Naturalist) earned a BS in Biology at Humboldt State University. He started at KEEP in 2008. Buzzy is our vermiculture expert. His favorite part of KEEP is watching the glowing expressions on students’ faces when watching a whale breech, holding a snake, or making it to the top of a mountain for the first time.
Steve Schubert (Naturalist) earned a BS and MS in Biological Sciences as well as a secondary teaching credential from Cal Poly. He started at KEEP in 1978. Steve is our residential “Bird Nerd.” His favorite part of KEEP is helping students have hands-on learning experiences.
Cathy Chambers (Naturalist) received a BA in Anthropology UC San Diego and did post graduate work in Science Education and Biology at San Diego State. She started at KEEP in 1998. Cathy is our native plants expert and chicken keeper. Her favorite part about KEEP is seeing the children’s sense of joy and wonder when they are exploring the natural world.
Eilif Paulson (Naturalist) earned a BA in Child Development as well as an elementary teaching credential from Humboldt State University. He started at KEEP in 2000. Eilif is our handy guy specializing in campus restoration projects. His favorite part of KEEP is that no matter what silly names we choose, places we come from, or baggage we carry, all is right with the world when running down a sand dune.
Nicole “Kestrel” Dale (Naturalist) received a BS in Zoology and Communications at University of Wisconsin. She started at KEEP in 2008. Nicole is AEOE’s outdoor educator of the year (2007), medical form wizard, and Facebook guru. Her favorite part of KEEP is hiking up big hills with students.
Lacey Poulis (Naturalist) received a BS in Liberal Studies and a multiple subject teaching credential from Cal Poly as well as a MA in Education from Sonoma State University. She started at KEEP in 2007. Lacey is our design and organization expert. Her favorite part of KEEP is witnessing students finding a personalized interest in nature, marveling at cool nature sightings, and filing papers.
Kat Amsinger (Naturalist) earned a BS in Biology at Oregon State University. She started at KEEP in 2011. Kat is our residential herpetologist and animal handling expert. Her favorite part of KEEP is seeing students live up to our high expectations and the excitement a students gets when they try something they never thought they would and love it.
Rich Bohey (Caretaker) started at KEEP in 1992. Rich is our very talented and hard working maintenance man and landscape artist. His favorite part of KEEP is getting to work on something new everyday, watching students enjoy their experience, and working in the greenhouse.
Renie Pierce, Matt Booker, Katherine Ceniceros (L to R)
Katherine Ceniceros (Head Cook), Matt Booker (Cook), and Irene “Renie” Pierce (Cook). Together, our cooks have over 110 years of culinary experience. Katherine started at KEEP in 1993. Renie started at KEEP in 2001 and her favorite part is when the kids arrive on Monday excited and on Friday (after a full week of KEEP) they are tired and dragging with smiling faces. Matt is our newest family member. He started in the 2015 school year. His favorite part of KEEP is when the kids come through the lunch line and show their appreciation.
Audrey “Bumblebee” Cunningham (Bus Driver) started at KEEP in 2009. Audrey is our fantastic bus driver, hot dog BBQ master and professional plankton catcher. Her favorite part about KEEP is working outside with kids.
Directions to KEEP Ocean (from the Bakersfield area)
GPS will only guide you to the entrance of Montana de Oro State Park. Please use these directions for the last 2 miles to our campus.
- 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. Our unmarked dirt driveway will be directly across the street from the “Hazard Canyon Parking” sign. Turn left. The address number is 3350 Pecho Valley Road, and there is a small brown KEEP sign on the fencepost.
- Drive up the dirt road and stay to the left. KEEP Ocean is only 100 yards through the trees from the pavement.
Current Donor’s Choose projects
KEEP Ocean Wish List
- Campfire Circle Renovation: New redwood benches, improved fire pit, handicap accessible stage, better lighting, flagstone walkways. Download a sponsorship form.
- Heavy Duty Riding Lawnmower
- Industrial Kitchen Dishwasher
- Heavy Duty Vacuums
- Discovery Zone Displays: Contact KEEP for more details
- High Quality Marine Touch Tank
To donate please contact
Desiree Von Flue
Thanks for Supporting KEEP!
(Fri Pickup Only)
PO Box 6091
Los Osos, CA 93412
(Fed Ex Only)
3350 Pecho Valley Rd
Los Osos, CA 93402
“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 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.
Menu subject to change due to seasonal availability and/or other factors
Lunch: Bean & Cheese Burrito, Broccoli, Pineapple, Chocolate Milk
Dinner: BBQ Chicken, Green Salad, Corn, Brownie, Punch
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
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
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
Breakfast: Cold Cereal, Banana, Yogurt, Juice, Milk
Lunch: Hot Dog, Tater Tots, Pickle, Grapes, Chocolate Milk, Cookie
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.
(Fri Pickup Only)
PO Box 346
Cambria, CA 93428
(Fed Ex Only)
525 Ashby Lane
Cambria, CA 93428
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 . . .
- Promote a greater respect for our environment
- Provide non-advocacy environmental and scientific experiences for our youth
- Support ongoing program needs
- Expand public and corporate awareness of and participation in KEEP
Desiree Von Flue, Program Director
c/o KEEP Foundation
Kern County Superintendent of Schools
1300 17th Street; City Centre
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Christine Lizardi Frazier / Desiree Von Flue
Tom Alexander – A-C Electric Company
Jim Bartleson – County Board of Education Appointee
Terry Bartz – Frito-Lay North America
Wayne Cella – Retired
Gary Chambers – A-C Electric Company
Scott Erwin – Robert Heely Construction
Steve Grove – Applied Technology Group, Inc.
Kathy Jackson – Stockdale School
Steve Layton – E & B Natural Resources
Debra Porter- Porter Investigations
Ursula Ripley – Chevron
Desiree Von Flue- Assistant Superintendent Educational Services, KCSOS
Lynn Taylor – Claude W. Richardson Child Dev. Ctr., KCSOS