Who We Are

H. E. Butt Foundation Outdoor School partners with Title I school communities to provide transformative and educational overnight experiences each set within the rugged beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Through these experiences, we hope to cultivate wholeness in school communities through deeper connections to each other and to the natural world.

What We Do

Time in nature is essential for living our best lives. When that time in nature is coupled with engaging recreational activity and community, data shows vast improvements in holistic health.

Educators, health professionals, and parents are beginning to realize that transformative outdoor experiences address issues from obesity to anxiety and depression. In a 2019 article, Outside Magazine claims “Science’s Newest Miracle Drug is Free”. There are almost 500 published studies that link time in nature to better health, and over 1,200 physicians have written time in nature prescriptions in 2019.

At Outdoor School, we hope to affect real change in our students’ lives. The lessons we teach in the Canyon are specifically designed to give students, their schools, and their communities the tools they need.

Educating Through Experience

By participating in hands-on, highly active activities, we hope students can take what they learn about the outdoors as well as themselves and apply it to their life back home.

Promoting Stewardship

We hope that the awe of nature inspires students to recognize their impact and fulfill their roles as caretakers of their natural spaces through close encounters with our rivers, landscape, and wildlife.

Fostering Wholeness

Social and emotional learning is an essential aspect of what we do with students. By braving new and potentially intimidating activities and practicing healthy decision-making, we hope students gain assurance in who they are and what they are capable of.

Cultivating School Community

Away from the social stresses associated with technology and the business of everyday life, we hope students connect on a unique level and support each other through the vulnerability of trying new things.

Our History

In 1954, the H. E. Butt Foundation acquired 1,900 acres north of Leakey, Texas, to fulfill a long-cherished dream of Howard Butt, Sr., to provide a place where boys and girls could further their knowledge of creation while enjoying the freedom of camp life that had so appealed to him during his youth. For this property, Mary Holdsworth Butt wrote these hopes:

“To open new fields of interests, hobbies, and recreational skills through study, work play and fun in the out- of- doors."

“To develop resourcefulness, self-reliance, initiative, and creativeness through basic experiences."

“To promote good health practices through wholesome environment, supervision, group action, and motivation.”

Today, H. E. Butt Foundation Outdoor School partners with 20+ qualifying Title I schools per year with the hope of continuing the Butt’s vision.

Meet Our Staff

Associate Program

The Outdoor School Associate program is a 2 year paid position that focuses on developing a well-rounded knowledge of outdoor education programming, facilitation, and curriculum development. As a part of this program, associates will have the opportunity to explore their interests in outdoor and nature education while pursuing a deeper level of professional development as a stepping stone for their careers.

Know someone who’d be perfect for the job? Click below to learn more and submit your information to get the process started.

Learn More


Your gift creates scholarships so schools and students can get outdoors and learn together.