Stewardship at Black Butte School

One way that Black Butte School students strive towards sustainability is to positively influence our surrounding community and environment. Our students learn about taking care of each other, the community of people that supports them, and the natural environment through regular classes, as well as, hands-on projects. Black Butte School partners with many local organizations to execute a variety of stewardship projects each year. Many projects are long-term and/or reoccur on an annual basis.

For example, each year in the field studies class students join staff from Trout Unlimited and the US Forest Service in a variety of long-term projects designed to benefit the ecology of the Metolius River. Students and staff plant native plants to restore eroded banks and release smolts into the river to enhance fish populations. Students learn about the science behind their projects in their field studies class and go out in the field to work with their hands. The partnerships with local organizations allow students to meet local science professionals and learn about the important work they do. 

Another annual stewardship project benefits the people in Camp Sherman directly. Students rake the community bike paths in the spring to help people travel safely on the trails. Students also participate in a service day where they help community members in need with their yard work. These projects bring our community members closer to the school, as well as, enable students to get to know some of the key members of our community.

At Black Butte School stewardship is much more than a topic to study in the classroom. It is a value we try to live every day. By giving students opportunities to be stewards of their school, community, and environment we strive to build a generation of future leaders that will continue to care for this place for many years to come. 

A page out of the Metolius Outreach Brochure, created by Black Butte School students in collaboration with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council

A page out of the Metolius Outreach Brochure, created by Black Butte School students in collaboration with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council in 2014



Metolius Basin Clean Up Contest 2020 Success!

Check out the Nugget article about the 2020 contest here.

What was the contest all about?
Due to an unprecedented use of dispersed campsites in the basin this spring, the Black Butte School Parent Teacher Organization is sponsoring a contest to clean up dispersed campsites in and around the basin and to educate the public about Leave No Trace ethics. Even though this years contest is over, we encourage everyone to have a garbage bag handy in their vehicle to pick up trash anytime they are in the forest. Read and watch the video below to learn about how to rehabilitate campsites, which you can do anytime!
What was done?
25 people spent 95 total hours cleaning up 64 dispersed campsites and decommissioning 22 illegal fire rings. This resulted in a whopping 262 total pounds of garbage collected!!
What is a dispersed campsite and where do I find them?
Dispersed campsites are unofficial campsites with out any signs or amenities sprinkled across the national forest. Drive on any forest road and you may find a campfire ring in a pull out--that is a dispersed site! Because these sites are not regularly monitored, garbage piles up. Additionally, people may create a dispersed site in an illegal location requiring the total clean up of the site. See below for more details on what is considered an illegal location. 
What supplies do I need to participate?
Heavy duty and kitchen sized trash bags, as well as gloves. Shovels and buckets are recommended, but not required to rehabilitate campfire rings. Hammers (to remove nails in trees) and wire cutters can also be helpful.
What's an illegal campsite and how do I rehabilitate one? 
An illegal campsite contains a fire ring which has any of the following characteristics:
     - less than 200' from water source
     - not in a hard pack or durable surface
     - under overhanging branches
Campsites with multiple rings should be left with only one legal ring.
DO NOT remove any “trash” that appears to be greater than 50 years old, as it is considered to be an archaeological artifact. 

Still have questions? Email Jennie Sharp at

Watch the following video showing how to rehabilitate a campsite.

How To Rehabilitate a Campsite from Black Butte School on Vimeo.

Thanks to Pete Blau of the Metolius Basin Institute for his contribution to the making of the video.