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Students and Families

Our priority is caring for your child

Children participate in many first time learning experiences that are remembered for years. Most students excel in the hands-on learning environment. For many children it is the first time dipping their feet into a cool mountain stream, listening to the wind in the trees or watching a squirrel leap from branch to branch. Our Naturalist staff create a safe environment for students to learn about science outdoors as it happens. For example students learn about the food chain while watching a deer browsing and while exploring for signs of animals and digging in the dirt. On 4 and 5 day programs, classes will visit Calaveras Big Trees State Park and Moaning Caverns. In addition to learning science, students learn that they can depend on  their classmates and face challenges. These social and personal achievements lead our families to comment on how mature their child has become during a week at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School.

Foothill Horizons entrance sign

Contact Us

21925 Lyons Bald Mountain
Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 532-6673



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Skills for life! - Your child will be engaging in conversation, learning how to ask questions and make observations, working with others, sharing thoughts about the day over a meal, and overcome challenges.

Social and Emotional Growth! - Your child will make new friends, find a bit of independence by managing their time and decisions, and will get to try new things. 

Science knowledge! - Your child will get hands-on experience being a scientist by making observations, developing an argument based on evidence, and will begin to see the ways all things are connected.

Self Confidence! - Your child will discover that they are a strong and capable learner.

Memories that last a lifetime! - Climbing through the boulder caves, visiting the creek, hiking to the top of the Sky Tower to see the stars, singing together at Campfire... just to name a few.

Experienced staff! - Many of our Naturalists have been part of the Foothill Family for decades, so we know how to make your child's week the best ever. 

... and of course... Over 60 years of tradition!  

Need more information?

Join us for our monthly Overnight Family Informational Sessions over Zoom!

We will discuss COVID protocols, safety procedures, and how to prepare your child for their week of outdoor education.  Check our Facebook page or ask your child's school for more details.  Our open house is free, there is no registration required, and you can come and go any time we are open.

Next Open House: March 23, 2024
Hours: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Parents will want to know

Students, let's get ready!

Outdoor Education isn't over once your child gets home.

Stay Connected to Foothill!

Foothill Events

Foothill Horizons

Where: Foothill Horizons Outdoor School from

Who should attend?: This course is designed for high school Juniors and Seniors who are interested in learning about leadership and who want to volunteer for a week as a counselor at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School.

Why should I attend?: Once you successfully complete the workshop, you will be better prepared to sign up for a week as a counselor at Foothill Horizons. 
Transportation provided: Foothill Horizons Meet at Ceres River Bluff Park
More questions?  
Email Diann Rastetter at
Read More about Counselor Leadership Training

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Key Contacts

Administration Team

Jessica Hewitt

Titles: Director III, Outdoor Education
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-532-6673
Email questions:
  • Schedule a class for Outdoor Ed
  • Students with Special Needs
  • Busing & Transportation
  • Hiring

Clare Olson

Titles: Senior Administrative Assistant
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-532-6673
Email questions:
  • Foothill Merchandise
  • Billing & Contracts
  • Outdoor Ed Paperwork
  • Site Rentals

Diann Rastetter

Titles: Assistant Director, Outdoor Education
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-532-6673
Email questions:
  • The Counselor Program
  • Naturalist Internship
  • Website & Social Media

Alexander Frierson

Titles: Naturalist Coordinator
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-238-1328
Email questions:
  • Weekly schedules
  • Evening Program
  • Technology Support

Lucas Smith

Titles: Health Clerk
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-532-6673
Email questions:
  • Medication Administration
  • Health Concerns

Shannon Perez

Titles: Food Services Supervisor
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-532-6673
Email questions:
  • Menus
  • Food Allergies
  • Special Diets

Patrick Hanson

Titles: Facilities Lead, Outdoor Education
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-209-499-0733
Email questions:
  • Grounds & Maintenance
  • Vehicles

David Josephson

Titles: Lead Custodian
Phone Numbers:
Work: 209-532-6673