About Woolman

Woolman is an educational nonprofit situated on Nisenan land. The rural campus of forest, trails, streams, meadows, ponds, orchard, and an organic farm provides a backdrop for programs and retreats. Woolman strives to be a place where everyone experiences radical acceptance for who they are, is treated with dignity and respect, and is surrounded by the physically, mentally, and spiritually healing power of nature.

Mission and Vision

Woolman seeks to both inspire and to prepare individuals to work for peace, justice, and environmental sustainability, and to deepen their personal and spiritual growth.

At Woolman, we envision a future where engaged communities are stewarding a peaceful world, a more equitable society, and a healthy planet.

Woolman History

In 1963, College Park Friends Educational Association, Woolman’s parent 501(c)3, created John Woolman School, named for an 18th-century Quaker who advocated for the abolition of slavery and peace between white settlers and indigenous tribes.

The founders purchased a 300-acre cattle ranch in the Sierra Foothills, and in 1963, they opened the first Quaker residential high school west of the Mississippi.

John Woolman School emphasized simplicity, equality, community, and nonviolence in a setting where nature’s magnificence informed the educational experience. The school operated from 1963 until its closure in 2001. Subsequently, a semester program offered high school students with environmental and peace-focused programming until 2016.

During the years from 2016 through 2021, Woolman weathered two major crises, the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating 2020 Jones Fire, which burned 19 buildings and 150 acres of forest land on Woolman’s campus. 

After an intensive recovery period, in 2022 Woolman has begun working to achieve its renewed mission, offering these programs and services:

Camp Woolman – inclusive adventures for youth, providing summer camp sessions with backpacking excursions to the High Sierras

Woolman Outdoor School – bridging the classroom with outdoor learning, hosting school groups for immersive outdoor education programming (both residential and day field trips)

Woolman Arts – cultivating creativity in nature, offering youth and adult arts programs

Woolman Center for Activism – supporting change makers through workshops and organizing

Retreats – welcoming spaces to rest, learn, and collaborate, hosting individual and group retreats