Environmental Living Program

Thank you for your interest in the Fort Ross Environmental Living Program (ELP). The ELP is a hands-on learning experience, which allows children to experience the joys of history as active participants. Students spend a day and a night performing some of the tasks that were a part of daily life at Fort Ross. Each student takes on the character and costume of a Fort Ross resident. By experiencing what life may have been like here in early California the children gain a better understanding of history and their relationship to it. Generally, the curriculum is geared toward fourth or fifth grade California History.

Reservations for the Fort Ross Environmental Living Program (ELP) are handled at Fort Ross State Historic Park. Each teacher should call, write or e-mail us in order to place their name, address and phone numbers on our ELP mailing list.

Applications for the Fort Ross ELP are mailed out April 1, however we continue to send out applications upon request until September if there is still space in the program.  All new applicants are accepted on a first come first serve basis according to space availability.

The Fort Ross ELP takes place on Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday. Teachers choose their program dates according to the order in which applications were received; i.e., the application first received in our office by mail will have the greatest number of program dates to choose from. The program coordinator will call you to confirm your acceptance, to assign a date, and to remind you of your $200 commitment fee. If we do not receive your commitment fee we will assume you are no longer interested and assign your date to others on the waiting list. The date you are assigned will be consistent for the next three years, unless you decide to change dates after your first year.

Resource manual for overnight and day programs

Curriculum material for home, school, and onsite

Teachers Workshop

Site Opportunities

Off Site opportunities

Class Size
Reservations will be granted for one program for one class. A class shall not exceed more than forty students.  Teachers who team-teach will have to split the class into groups if the two classes total more than forty students. Each teacher who wants a program date shall submit a separate application. Teachers who team-teach a total student count less than forty students may apply on one application. The teacher on the reservation form MUST be the teacher on site for the program. Absolutely no substitutions allowed.  Please, only one application per envelope, even if you might have more than two teachers applying from your school.

Teacher in Charge
The teacher on the reservation form MUST be the teacher on-site for the program. Absolutely no substitutions are allowed. The class must have a Fort Ross Workshop trained teacher on-site in order to participate in the overnight program. Reservations are issued to an individual teacher and are not transferable between teachers.

All new ELP teachers are required to attend a Teachers Workshop, held in October. The workshop is a hands-on presentation of program possibilities, and includes an overnight stay at the fort. Teachers may not send a substitute to the workshop. If a teacher cannot be at the workshop, s/he will not be able to participate in the program. Returning ELP teachers only need to attend the workshop on the first of their three years. Returning Teachers are not required to stay the night.

Leave of Absence
After three years of participation at Fort Ross, you will be asked to take leave from the program for one year. After that one-year, you are welcome to reapply as a new applicant and start the reservation system process over. However, if our schedule does not fill up you will be able to stay in the program.

There is a fee for those attending the workshop. This fee covers food, training materials and training staff. Two parents or teacher's aides can attend with the teacher for a maximum of three adults.

Program Fees
A $30 per person fee will be required for your program. This fee covers staffing and materials provided for your program.  A $200 commitment deposit is due within two weeks after committing to your assigned date. The commitment fee is non refundable. The remainder of the student fees will be due one month prior to your date unless you make other arrangements with the Interpretive Specialist.

The following is the policy at Fort Ross State Historic Park for cancellation of an Environmental Living Program date.  Your commitment fee of $200 is non refundable.  If the Fort Ross Interpretive Specialist cancels your program we will do everything possible to offer you another date or will refund your commitment fee and any program fees paid. Cancellations by Park Interpretive Specialists occur under these circumstances: when conditions occur that California State Parks considers unsafe, e.g. weather, road conditions or operational issues that will detract from the learning experience. The park Interpretive Specialist follows current weather predictions from the National Weather Service. If the weather is threatening, the Interpretive Specialist will phone you the day before the program to discuss the situation. Final decisions on weather cancellations are generally made over the phone early on the morning of the program.

Please let us know if you have any questions and concerns, or circumstances that we should know about, e.g. team teaching, traveling from a far distance. We welcome communication and look forward to working with you.