Students at Piney Point

High atop the Cumberland Plateau, our wooded 550-acre campus provides numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure and environmental education. Whether you're new to the woods or already an avid outdoors enthusiast we'll get you wilderness ready through Adventure Education and our afternoon Outdoor Adventure program. Join the mountain biking team or the climbing club.

Weekend activities often include hikes, camping trips, climbing, and caving expeditions. The campus location on the Cumberland Plateau provides numerous places to hike, mountain bike, rock climb, kayak, and rappel. Caves in the area offer a seemingly never-ending opportunity to go spelunking. A Bouldering Cave on campus (with hundreds of holds) provides avid rock climbers the chance to practice climbing skills indoors before they tackle the bluffs of the Sewanee area.

Adventure Education

Adventure Education is an opportunity for Middle School students to learn to safely explore and enjoy our natural world. The school's 550-acre campus is the setting for activities that include hiking, games, construction projects, map reading, orienteering, farming, and more. Students use their imaginations and hone their sense of adventure as we work on team building, communication conflict resolution, and problem solving skills. As the students progress through Middle School, they move from exploratory activities to more advanced wilderness and farming skills.

See more information about the Adventure Education curriculum.

Outdoor Adventure

Students may choose to take Outdoor Adventure as an Afternoon Program.

Fall: Intro to Outdoor Adventure

Students gain special wilderness skills and important experience in trip planning, leadership, and equipment maintenance with this introduction to hiking, caving, and wilderness camping.

  • Learn basic wilderness first aid and survival skills
  • Build a campsite and campfire and learn to cook a camp meal
  • Fish and swim in area lakes, waterfalls, and cascade pools
  • Hike all campus trails
  • Construct a home base and rainy day shelter
  • Explore nearby points of interest, including Fiery Gizzard, Foster Falls, and Buggytop, Buckets of Blood, and Solomon's Temple I & II caves
  • Complete an introduction to topographical maps and map drawing

Winter: Climbing

Students learn basic climbing techniques and safety practices and build on those skills to push themselves to try ever more challenging routes. Although it is not a required part of the afternoon programs, students are invited to participate in the Climbing Club's evening practices and weekend competitions.  

  • Learn to climb with an emphasis on safety, community, and lifelong skills
  • Improve technical skills
  • Discover a new climbing area near campus and night-bouldering with lanterns
  • Explore campus cliffs
  • Set and work toward goals for strength and fitness
  • Expand comfort zone
  • Enjoy winter climbing
  • Participate in optional weekend competitions

Spring: Adventure Cycling

Recognizing that not all bikers are interested in the competition involved in our fall interscholastic Mountain Biking program, this afternoon program offers an introduction to adventure cycling, a lifetime sport that promotes fitness and an appreciation of the outdoors. 

  • Learn to keep a bike in top working order
  • Gain skills for trail riding
  • Participate in trail maintenance
  • Bike to archaeological sites, geologic points of interest, and other destinations for place-based learning opportunities
  • Participate in an optional bike-packing trip

Outdoors Facilities

Numbers refer to location on Campus Map.

Climbing Shed

The Bouldering Cave offers students opportunities to safely practice their climbing skills no matter the weather. The Mountain Biking Shed is home to our Varsity Mountain Biking Team and houses a shop for repairing and maintaining bikes.

Gunn Lake, snow, canoe,

The smaller of the campus's two lakes (the other being The "Res,") Gunn Lake provides opportunities for outdoor science labs and fishing. Trails surrounding the lake are popular for hiking and mountain biking.

Res with Class

The campus lake used, enjoyed, and studied by the entire SAS community.

Place-Based Education

Many courses at SAS take advantage of the school’s 550-acre campus, including Field Geology, Archaeology, Environmental Science, and a course in Horticulture which will debut in 2020.

These courses, as well as courses in American Studies and Environmental Literature, reflect emphasis at SAS on immersive experiences that make use of local history, culture, and landscapes to initiate the study of increasingly complex histories and systems.

Winterim and the Outdoors

Recent outdoor-themed Winterim courses include:

  • Winter Camping
  • Caving
  • Splitting Firewood
  • Snorkeling and SCUBA
  • A Hike of Sewanee's 20+-mile Perimeter Trail 
  • Farming
  • Cooking with Fire
  • Fly Fishing

Our Campus Lab

Science students at Res

In addition to opportunities for recreation and adventure, our campus is used extensively as an outdoor lab. Students participate in ongoing watershed studies and take courses in Geology, Environmental Science, and Archaeology.

Outdoor Education Faculty

Michael Short

Michael Short

Titles: Outdoor Education & Place-Based Learning Coordinator, Humanities 6, English, Adventure Education, Outdoor Adventure, Mountain Biking (Co-Head), Residential Faculty, 6th Grade Level Program Lead, Residential Faculty
Degrees: B.A. English and Environmental Studies, Furman University
M.Ed. English Language Arts, Wake Forest University
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.5651 ext. 1019
Doug Burns

Doug Burns

Titles: Mathematics, Outdoor Adventure, Residential Faculty, Honor Council, Game Administrator
Degrees: B.A., Colorado College
M.A., University of Denver
Marion Knoll

Marion Knoll

Titles: Science, Swimming (Head), 8th Grade Level Program Lead, Faculty Representative to the Board of Trustees
Degrees: B.S., Sewanee: The University of the South
M.Ed., The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Thomas Simerville

Thomas Simerville

Class of 2016
Titles: Father Flye Fellow, History, Art, Adventure Education, Humanities
Degrees: B.A., History, The University of the South
Amanda Skrzeczkoski

Amanda Skrzeczkoski

Titles: Athletic Trainer, Adventure Education, Physical Education, Substitute Teacher, Residential Faculty
Degrees: B.A., Athletic Training, University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.5651 ext. 3328
Margaret Wilson

Margaret Wilson

Class of 2016
Titles: Farm Educator, Functional Pottery, Art, Residential Faculty
Degrees: B.A., Psychology, Warren Wilson College
Rob Zeitler

Rob Zeitler

Titles: Director of Athletics, Health and Fitness, Physical Education, Varsity Volleyball (Head), Varsity Boys' Basketball (Head), Residential Faculty
Degrees: B.S. Physical Education and English, University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse
M.S. Sports Administration, Georgia State University
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.463.2147

Get a taste of SAS Outdoors

SAS Summer

Outdoors News