Experiential Learning

UrbanTrekkers' experiential learning programs expose inner-city youth to the diversity of people, places, and natural landscapes outside the environment of their everyday lives. Our programming follows the philosophy that education is a lifelong journey that, when nurtured, leads to an endless childlike curiosity and a continual quest to know “why.” Each Trekker component is designed to complement the academic rigors in place within the UrbanPromise classroom. Since 2004 UrbanTrekkers has aided in the leadership and character development of countless middle and high school youth, encouraging them to become motivated, disciplined, goal-oriented, and successful members of society.

Over the course of a year, a combined 230 children and teens travel, learn, and develop character through UrbanTrekkers' experiential activities.

UrbanTrekkers' experiential programs are designed to complement what students are learning in the classroom. All told, youth participate in a total of 40 engaging and educational projects throughout the year.

From watershed and urban planners to city councilman and parks directors, local experts hold discussions with students about the ecology and history of Camden.


Monarch butterfly on net

Monarch Butterfly Release

Each fall students at UrbanPromise's schools celebrate the monarch butterfly and its journey of migration from the Northeast United States and Canada to the trans-volcanic mountains of Michoacán, Mexico. Students raise the butterflies in the classroom from egg to full-fledged monarch and then release them in UrbanPromise's butterfly garden.


In partnership with the American Littoral Society, UrbanTrekkers offers a marine biology after-school program to our middle school students. In addition to visiting Camden's Adventure Aquarium, students learn about local marine habitats through field trips to the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware and Cooper Rivers.

Monarch butterfly on net

Urban Rivers Advocacy

Camden was born on the water, yet few residents have any connection to the city's waterways. Our students are becoming the exception to that rule, however. UrbanPromise students are paddling on their city's rivers, testing its waters and learning about its watershed through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, and speaking at conferences with stakeholders who are making a difference in the river's health. 


Baltimore, MD and its inner harbor community is an ideal model for urban waterfront development. UrbanPromise high school students have met with Baltimore's planners and developers to learn more about the city's history, the renewal of an old industrial-era city, and how Camden can learn from the experience.


Led by Wilderness Inquiry, the Canoemobile is a collaboration of partners connecting urban youth to the natural world through hands-on, outdoor learning in cities across America.  Each year, Camden Forward School students in grades 4th-8th paddle in local waterways recieving paddle instruction and safety talks while also learning about the local ecology and environmental issues.