Since 1977, as part of the magnet program, the Houston Independent School District has operated the Outdoor Education Center (OEC) program at Olympia. The OEC program allows our urban students to discover and explore nature away from the lights and noise of their big city environment. 


Our Mission

To facilitate a unique and meaningful educational experience for Houston ISD students utilizing our natural setting.  Interdisciplinary activities will guide discovery and exploration that stimulate an appreciation and understanding of interdependence: one person to another; one culture to another; people with nature; and things within nature.

ThE Program

We utilize the lake, the forest, the stream, the farm, and the quiet East Texas nights to provide hands-on, experiential, multidisciplinary activities.  Each week three to five different HISD schools send their fifth-graders to the OEC.  Students are able to learn about themselves and others as they interact with new friends, experience new things and ultimately build up their own self-esteem.    

Each year about 8,000 fifth-graders go through the four-day, three-night outdoor education experience.  Students enjoy inquiry-based science lessons and language arts, math and social studies concepts that support HISD’s fifth grade curriculum and state standards.  The OEC program extends the reach of classroom learning and creates awareness that leaves students with a new environmental consciousness.  

Keep close to Nature’s heart... and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
— John Muir