BUENA PARK, CA – Buena Park School District students experienced learning in a way that captured their minds and imaginations as they interacted with flora and fauna, grasped rigorous scientific concepts and acquired wilderness skills during a weeklong science camp in the woods at the Pali Institute.

The Pali Institute, located in the San Bernardino National Forest, gives students the opportunity to see the wilderness and combine science techniques with first-hand experience. Some 300 sixth-graders from Gordon H. Beatty Middle School and Buena Park Middle School attended the camp from Jan. 18 to 21. Their admission was paid for by the District.

Additionally, students participated in physical fitness rope climbing challenges, squid anatomy lessons and learned about aerodynamics while building water-propelled bottle rockets.

“Our mission is to introduce experiential education to young people by providing progressive learning experiences that extend far beyond classroom walls,” said Emily Bauder Balcome, Pali Institute’s director of outdoor education. “Through our innovative curriculum and professional staff, students experience the thrill of touching, seeing and learning about the world around them. At Pali Institute, we bring textbooks to life.”

Buena Park Middle School student Mia O. said she loved the variety of the camp; being able to do science outdoors, seeing the mountains and the forest and learning about animals and their habitats.

“It’s all great – great activities, great food, great place to hang out,” said Ryan N., Gordon H. Beatty Middle School student. “I liked learning about the squid anatomy the most, it was so cool because biology is interesting.”

The District will send a group of seventh-graders from both middle schools to the Pali Institute in February. These students were unable to attend science camp during the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are so glad to be able to send our students to science camp at the Pali Institute, because it gives them the opportunity to do hands-on learning,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “This camp is yet another excellent way our students are getting excited about science careers – they get to see that science helps them explore the world beyond classrooms.”


CAMP1: Buena Park School District students assist with handling a rope while their classmates in rope-climbing exercise. The District sent more than 300 students to the Pali Institute at the San Bernardino Nation Forest to participate in a weeklong science camp.

CAMP2: A group of Buena Park School District middle schoolers and an instructor ready a water-propelled rocket for launch during a science camp activity where they learned about aerodynamics. The students spent a week learning about forest flora and fauna, physical fitness and other activities at the Pali Institute in the San Bernardino National Forest.

CAMP3: Groups of Buena Park School District sixth-graders gather tree branches to create temporary shelters as part of a wilderness skills activity during science camp. The weeklong camp was hosted through the Pali Institute to teach students about how science can be applied to outdoor activities.