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Environmental Living Program


John Muir National Historic Site

The Site, located in Martinez, California, preserves John Muir's beautiful 1882 Victorian home; the 1849 Martinez Adobe; nine acres of various grapes, fruit, and nut trees; and the Mount Wanda area, where Muir "sauntered" with his daughters.

The Site is a great place to learn the history of a man, his family, and why the continued struggle for conservation is just as important today as it was in Muir's time.

About the Environmental Living Program

The National Park Service operates an Environmental Living Program at the John Muir National Historic Site. The program is offered to classrooms in grades 3-5.

Environmental Living is an actual educational living experience that takes place at an historic or prehistoric site where the interaction and interdependency of humanity and its environment are present.

Looking into the past, students gather information on how a particular culture related to its environment. They use this information to prepare for their own day, recreating the culture or era they have studied. Through roles they have chosen to play, the students relate the past to themselves in the present, and finally, through their complete involvement in the roles and activities, they consider what might be here tomorrow.

Teachers prepare to help their students plan the live-in by attending an all day workshop. The workshop closely parallels the proposed experience for the students.

At John Muir National Historic Site, 25-30 students in the third through fifth grades become the human element of an 1880 California fruit ranch operated by John Muir and his work-force. They must be able to provide a day's work, food, and recreation all within the context of 1889 rural California. Activities that relate to Muir's conservation philosophy and the study of nature are important parts of the program.

How to Make A Reservation for your Classroom

Applications for the Environmental Living Program at the John Muir National Historic Site for the next school year are accepted from June 1 to August 31. Groups are selected by lottery, with acceptance letters going out by the end of the first week in September.

The mandatory teacher's workshop is scheduled for a Saturday in October. Dates for the Environmental Living Program are chosen at the workshop.

Teachers will need to send their name, the school name and address, the grade of class, and a school telephone number.

Contact Information

John Muir National Historic Site
4202 Alhambra Avenue
Martinez, CA 94553
(925) 228-8860


Muir Ranger Fact Sheet - For children ages 8 - 12.

Return to John Muir National Historic Site page


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Updated: October 5, 1997

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