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Environmental Leadership Program

Mo-Ranch is the home of the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), a hands-on outdoor/environmental education program located along the banks of the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country. We use approximately 500 acres of Mo-Ranch property and a half mile of Guadalupe River frontage as a living laboratory.

Taking learning outside of the classroom

Mo-Ranch takes learning beyond the bounds of the classroom by combining cutting edge and highly customizable programs with its natural learning environment in the great outdoors of the Texas Hill Country.

The Mo-Ranch Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) has been impacting lives for over 28 years in youth and groups from Texas and beyond with its unforgettable outdoor and environmental education experience.

We offer a fully customizable program style that allows you the opportunity to create a unique adventure that will fit your school’s goals and needs. Programs can be tailored to fit any school trip’s timeframe, but typically range from one-to-five days in length for students between 5th-12th grade.

Facilities

The recreation facilities of Mo-Ranch provide an awesome outdoor classroom on the land, in the water—and even in the air.

A variety of housing options are available, all of which are climate-controlled and provide separate sleeping areas for males and females.

Meals are served in the King Dining Hall, where our kitchen staff prepares three nutritious meals a day and strives to meet special needs. Our Reduced Food Waste Policy educates students about food, the environment, and being good stewards of our natural resources.

Our Goals

To make use of the natural outdoor environment as an alternative education setting for activities that promote personal, academic and spiritual growth.

Objectives

  • To promote growth in group cooperation and leadership skills, self-confidence and self-worth through challenging activities in a supportive environment.
  • To promote a sense of community involvement, belonging and responsibility through daily living in a residential setting.
  • To stimulate interest and achievement in academics through hands-on, interdisciplinary activities that show real life relevancy.
  • To develop environmental awareness and an understanding of responsible management of our natural resources, through learning and living in the natural environment.
  • To provide the individual and/or group an opportunity for spiritual growth through reflection in a natural environment, free from many of society’s daily distractions.
  • To provide positive adult role modeling through the participant’s interactions with the ELP staff and their group leaders.

Explore Our Environmental Leadership Classes

Activity Descriptions

Herpetology

Learn about the difference and similarities of reptiles and amphibians. Learn about their habits, adaptation, classifications and characteristics.  Students will be able to look and touch live specimens.

Wildlife Ecology

Discover and understand ecological concepts that affect our wildlife through active games, nature discovery hikes, classroom discussions and exploration of live specimens that are native to Mo-Ranch and their habitats.

Freshwater Ecology

In this class, we will look at the ecology of our local freshwater waterfront here at Mo-Ranch, and study where water comes from, how it sustains life, its importance to us and more. Students will also learn about and handle live macro-invertebrates that call the water their home and practice hands-on scientific methods of discovering water quality.

Discovery Walk

Take a hike along one of Mo-Ranch’s beautiful trails and grounds while being guided through the Hill Country’s terrain by our experienced staff.  Students will learn about forest ecology and how plants depend on each other with the help of wildlife. With a diverse range of wildflowers, plants, insects and wildlife population, there is plenty to see, learn, do and discover!

Birds

First, we’ll start with exploring the unique characteristics of our feathered friends: feathers, wings and eggs, then scientifically observe them through our binoculars. Mo-Ranch is a prime location for birding and is home to many rare and sought after birds including the Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Painted Bunting, Black-Capped Vireo, Yellow Throated Warbler and more!

Arthropods

Learn how these invertebrates fit into the classification system and natural ecosystems through hands-on discovery of preserved and live specimens. We’ll spend time outside viewing, collecting and identifying these critters in their natural environment.

Bees

Enjoy our clear observation bee hive. Students will be able to observe the bees at work making honey, laying eggs and flying out to collect pollen through this observation hive.

Activity Descriptions

Canoeing/Kayaking

Our instructors will cover small watercraft safety, history and techniques. After that, students be off for a guided adventure that will include teamwork, physical exercise and new skills while paddling down the beautiful Guadalupe River.

Archery

Throughout its long history in recreational sports, archery ranks as one of the safest activities offered in any organized group setting. Students will practice listening skills while learning responsibility, patience, accuracy, safety and sound shooting techniques on our archery range.

Compass Course

It takes math and geography skills to accomplish our map and compass course. After learning parts of a compass and setting a bearing and finding an attack point, teams are off to complete the first course.

Orienteering & Geomatics

Students will have an amazing adventure while utilizing their math and geography skills to accomplish our map and compass course. After learning parts of a compass, setting a bearing and finding an attack point, teams are off to navigate on their own on our seven-acre orienteering course.

Activity Descriptions

Are your students team players? Reinforce team and community through fun and exciting challenges.

Initiatives

Enthusiastic instructors facilitate these fun, energetic games that allow participants to relax and be themselves and become better acquainted with their peers. These games act as effective tools for developing teamwork and teaching problem solving skills and group communication.

Adventure Race

Enjoy challenging games that foster students’ teamwork abilities. Activities include water challenges, scavenger hunts, GPS games and so much more!

Low Elements Ropes Course

Groups learn to take on challenges through uniquely designed elements. The challenges sequentially increase in difficulty as the group works on group skills such as communication, trust, leadership, problem solving and planning. Group discussions that process their experiences are an essential part of the activity.

High Elements Ropes Course

Wearing protective equipment, participants negotiate a series of ladders, poles, climbing towers, cables and ropes built 30-50 feet above the ground. Group support, empathy and encouragement are important components while the participant faces the important challenges of trust, goal setting, commitment and pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone to achieve their own individual level of success.

Activity Description

Farm to plate

Students will learn about how food is grown, where eggs come from, where we get our honey and the history about farming. Students can play fun games and even enjoy food right out of our youth garden. Students will also be able to take home a plant potted in a reused can!

 

Activity Description

Campfire

Students will create and practice skits and songs that they will perform at a traditional campfire program. Our staff will gladly add a few special songs, stories, or skits to get things going. The group will finish up the campfire with s’mores before heading off to their dorm for the night.

Star gazing

Stories of the night sky and much more! View the moon, planets, stars, nebula and galaxies under the beautiful skies of the Texas Hill Country. Using planispheres and binoculars, students will learn the basics about the stars, planets, constellations and other astral objects—they’ll even have the opportunity to look through one of our telescopes that’s trained on a celestial object, getting an up close and personal view!

Owl study

Students will learn fun facts about owls. We will discuss their characteristics, their role in the food chain and best of all, dissect owl pellets to discover what they eat.

Night hike

Take a hike along one of Mo-Ranch’s beautiful trails and grounds while being guided through the Hill Country’s terrain by our experienced staff. Students will be able to see the stars while enjoying the peaceful calm of the trails at night.

Games

Non-traditional, large group games that challenge students physically and mentally but always bring the fun!

High ropes course activities are available during the evening as well.

 

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