Porterville unified considers uses for 10-acre outdoor education space

Potential uses for the space include nature trails, summer camps and outdoor classes

PORTERVILLE – Porterville Unified recently acquired 10 acres of land to the west of Lake Success and plans to turn it into an outdoor education space. 

The land, now being referred to as the Porterville Unified School District Outdoor Education Preserves Lab, is located near the historic Citrus South Tule Elementary School. The school opened in 1874 and closed in 2017, making it one of the oldest continuously operating schools in Tulare County. 

The Citrus South Tule site is already home to the district’s Future Ready Lab, which offers two days of STEM-focused classes each week. 

“What started as just a simple idea a number of years ago has really morphed into a full-blown educational complex, which is a great asset for us,” said Jason Pommier, the district’s public information officer. 

The district’s Pathways Department team is in the process of considering uses for the outdoor space. They hope to one day provide students with outdoor learning opportunities there like trail construction, lessons on the historic quarry, astronomy star studies, nature walks, plant and rock studies and bird or bat watching.

“We have the potential for maybe some weekend summer camps,” Pommier said. He added that some ideas being discussed by the district include a drone flight lab and outdoor sketching and painting classes. 

Development is still years away. In the meantime the Pathways Department team is taking input from regional education partners, Sequoia Riverlands Trust and SCICON for potential uses of the outdoor space. 

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