Environ­mental Living Program

Giving Students the Experience of a Lifetime

Over the last 45+ years, the Environmental Living Program (ELP) at Sutter’s Fort has influenced the lives of tens of thousands of students. Through first-hand interaction and hands-on experiences, what they read in their history books comes to life.

During ELP, students spend a full 24-hour day at Sutter’s Fort. Students arrive in the morning and stay overnight, cooking and eating all of their meals on site.

ELP is highly flexible, giving teachers the ability to create their own unique experience by customizing the various activities through the 24-hour stay to meet the needs of their students.

California State Parks has announced the return of ELP in Spring, 2022. Register to secure your date.

The program will return with modifications that incorporate the interpretive changes underway at Sutter’s Fort. Participants will still participate in hands-on stations led by parent-volunteers. However, costumes will no longer be used.

As the nonprofit cooperating association for Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, Friends of Sutter’s Fort is proud of our long-standing support for this program. In prior years we have helped with administration and have funded staff, supplies and volunteer efforts that have made this program possible.

ELP is managed by California State Parks. For more information about ELP, please contact State Park Program Coordinator Jared Jones at Jared.Jones@parks.ca.govNot interested or able to participate in the overnight program? Please refer to the Environmental Studies Program.

ELP Grant Scholarship Program

Friends of Sutter’s Fort provides an annual grant program for schools participating in the Environmental Living Program to help break down the financial barriers that may prevent students from being able to participate in these outstanding educational experiences. Our grant program is 100% funded through donations. If you would like to support our ELP Grant Scholarship Program, please make an online donation.

California Social-Science Standards

The Environmental Living Program covers many components of 3rd-5th grade Social Science curriculum. Below are just some of the standards ELP covers:

  • 3.2 Students describe the American Indian nations in their local region long ago and in the recent past.
  • 3.3 Students draw from historical and community resources to organize the sequence of local historical events and describe how each period of settlement left its mark on the land.
  • 4.2 Students describe the social, political, cultural, and economic life and interactions among people of California from the pre-Columbian societies to the Spanish mission and Mexican rancho periods.
  • 4.3 Students explain the economic, social, and political life in California from the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War, the Gold Rush, and the granting of statehood.
  • 5.8 Students trace the colonization, immigration, and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to the mid-1800s, with emphasis on the role of economic incentives, effects of the physical and political geography, and transportation systems.