At Watershed, what happens in the classroom is only part of the picture. We begin our year with an intensive wilderness that connects students to themselves, their teachers, and each other.

orientation and wilderness

High school students begin the year with a nine-day backcountry trip, known as Wilderness, with their advisors and members of their homeroom. They learn valuable outdoor skills and take turns leading the group for the day. They also experience a 24-hour solo that develops their character and capacity for reflection. 

Middle school students begin with a four day camping trip, known as Orientation, that offers an opportunity to connect with advisors and the middle school as a whole. 

They return tired - but also more confident, closer to their classmates and teachers, and with a common understanding of what it means to be a person of character. Orientation and Wilderness offers an opportunity to learn about grit, empathy, optimism, and the ability to collaborate.

outdoor opportunities during the year

A Watershed education gets students into the real world. As part of their studies of immigration, the 9th and 10th grade might travel to Moab to study conflicting forces in the history of the American West [pictured below.] As part of a study of water, the 8th grade might camp and raft along the Colorado River.

safety and risk management

There is no such thing as a risk-free experience, either in school or in life. Watershed believes in teaching young people to mitigate risk with careful planning and sound decision-making.

Watershed faculty are often former Outward Bound or NOLS instructors with WFA and WFR certification, and Watershed hires additional trained instructors for backcountry experiences.



Bedford has helped accomplish over 200 of its partners’ major conservation goals. They inspire everyone to care for the planet.
— John Smith, Nature Conservancy Magazine

What We've Achieved

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