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Field Trips


The ENC presents field trip programs to preschool – 12th grade classes throughout the school year.View our High School programs HERE.

We are currently scheduling field trip programs for the 2017-18 school year at the Environmental Nature Center. There is a 10% Discount for booking a program to occur in September 2017.

Next Generation Science Standards

Program curricula are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California Public Schools.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to fill out our School Program Interest Form, or call 949-645-8489 to schedule. Click “Teacher Resources” (below) to download study guides, assessments, etc!

Teacher Resources

Learning in the Rain


Science Field Trips

History at the ENC


Children ages 3 to 5 learn that everything in nature changes. As they hike through the Center they learn about the life cycle of frogs and touch a real, live toad. They learn about the life cycle of butterflies and visit the butterfly house (seasonal). Children learn that snakes shed their skin to grow, examine snakeskin with a magnifying lens, and get to meet a real, live snake! They learn that mammals have fur to keep them warm when it’s cold, and gently touch the fur of several local animals. Along the trail children enjoy story time under the dappled shade of oak trees. 1 hour, $6/student, minimum 10/maximum 80.


Students will observe patterns between what plants, animals, and humans need to survive. As they hike through our trails they will examine evidence as well as consider how plants, animals, and humans change the environment to meet their needs. Along with participating in interactive activities, students strategize ways to reduce the impact humans have on the local environment and ways in which they can be more environmentally conscious. 1.5 hours, $7/student, minimum 10/maximum 120. NGSS covered: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3-3


Grade Eco-Explorers. On a hike through the Center, students participate in hands-on activities to learn the role of seeds, roots, and green leaves in the life of plants. Along the trail, they observe the skulls and teeth of various animals to determine what the animals eat. Students dress up for an animal “fashion show” to learn that animals have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places. They visit the ENC’s green building to view the solar panels, and to see how the sun provides energy to power our lights and computers. Students make observations and experiment with mini solar powered cars. If desired, teachers may request that classes visit our Butterfly House (seasonal) so that students can observe animals using native plants for food and shelter. 1.5 hours, $7/student, minimum 10/maximum 120. (Science Standards: 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 2e).


2nd Grade Eco-Explorers. Students hike the trails and learn about the life cycle of an animal and meet one of our educational animals, or visit our Butterfly House (seasonal). They  use microscopes to observe small butterfly parts, and draw what they see. Students observe animal scat to learn the difference between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. They search for decomposers, and get an up-close look at a real, live decomposer! During their field trip, second grade students visit the ENC’s green building to learn about the natural resources that went into the building materials, and the ways that the building saves water and energy. 1.5 hours, $7/student, minimum 10/maximum 120.(Science Standards: 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, 3c, 3e, 4a, 4d, 4f)


3rd Grade Cougar Connections. Students travel through the Nature Center and explore different environments, including the desert, forest, grassland, and wetlands. They play a game to learn about the different space requirements for various local animals. Students each take on a role in a local food chain to learn about biomagnification. They become deer in a game to learn that animals need food, water, shelter and space to survive, and play a game of Jeopardy to learn about the adaptations of Mountain Lions. Students participate in a giant human sized board game, “Cougarland” and encounter the dangers a mountain lion would face in her search for food. During a visit to the ENC’s green building, students view the solar panels to see how the sun provides energy to power our lights and computers. Student teams experiment with mini solar panels to power small cars in a solar race! 2 hours, $8.50/student,minimum 20/maximum 120. (Science Standards: 1a, 1b, 1c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d)

3rd Grade Tongva Trail. Students travel back in time to learn about the tools, trade, and customs of the Tongva (Gabrielino) and Acjachemen (Juaneño) people of Orange County. Along the trail students see, touch, and smell the plants used centuries ago by Native Americans. They make string out of plants, use “rabbit sticks” to “hunt,” perform music using authentic Tongva instruments, make “money” using pump drills, and play authentic Native American games. 2 hours, $8.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 120.(Standards: 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.4)


4th Grade Natureology. Students explore science careers while participating in hands-on activities and experiments. They become botanists to study plant adaptations and wildlife biologists to study the adaptations of animals. As geologists they differentiate between igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Students act as entomologists to examine the differences and similarities of preserved butterflies, moths, and beetles. As microbiologists they observe decomposing materials under a microscope to see the work of beneficial microorganisms. Students visit the ENC’s green building, to see how the staff recycles organic materials in our Composting Learning Lab! 2 hours, $8.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 120. (Science Standards: 2a, 2b, 2c, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4a, 5a, 6f ).

4th Grade Native American Adventure. Along the trail, students experience the technologies and lifestyles of indigenous people from throughout California. Using a mortar and pestle, the students grind acorns and “boil water” to leach them. They explore hunting methods and tools, practice making “fire” using fire drills, practice weaving baskets and mats. Students become archeologists, and dig for artifacts in the ENC’s midden. During a visit to the ENC’s green building, students enter a life-size Tongva dwelling and listen to a native California legend. 2 hours, $8.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 120. (Standards: 4.1.5, 4.2.1, 4.2.3, 4.2.5)


5th Grade Earth Connections. Students use the scientific method, and perform experiments to determine the interactions between abiotic and biotic factors in an aquatic ecosystem. Students test the temperature, salinity, clarity, pH, and nitrate levels of the water, and observe aquatic organisms using a microscope. Along the trail, students classify intertidal organisms using a key, and learn about photosynthesis and transpiration. Students discuss the water cycle and water conservation, and play a game to learn about ways that water is polluted and cleaned. They visit the ENC’s green building, where students learn how “green design” helps the ENC conserve water. 2.5 hours, $9.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 120. (Standards: 2e, 2f, 2d, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 6a, 6b, 6c, 6f, 6g, 6h)


6th Grade Earth Connections. Students use the scientific method, and perform experiments to determine the interactions between abiotic and biotic factors in two terrestrial ecosystems. Students observe the temperature, soil moisture level, soil pH, plant adaptations, plant density, and fire potential in two terrestrial ecosystems. They discuss energy exchange within the ecosystem, encounter live producers, consumers, and decomposers, and play games to learn about the energy pyramid and energy transfer in the food chain. Students visit the ENC’s green building to view its renewable energy elements — the solar panels and wind turbine — and discuss how the sun and wind provide energy to power our lights and computers. 2.5 hours, $9.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 120.(Standards: 4a, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 5e, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 7d)

Junior High

Students become junior “crime” scene investigators to solve the mystery of the missing frogs! At “Headquarters,” the students will become familiar with our missing amphibians, their habits, and life cycles. At the “crime” scene, students will make observations and carefully map the area. They will then take samples of the water, and test them for the presence of various chemicals. Students will collect algae and return to the lab, where they will use microscopes to identify their samples. They will interview witnesses, and study the habits of the local suspects. Finally, after examining all their data, the students will prepare their cases and make short presentations for the “District Attorney.” 2.5 hours, $9.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 45.(Standards: 3e, 7a, 7c, 7d, 7e)

Cancellation Policy:

If you need to cancel your program for any reason, please email lori@encenter.org so that we have it in writing. We will respond via email that we received your cancellation. If you do not receive a response to your email, please call 949-645-8489 and speak with Lori or Chhay. If cancellations occur at least two weeks before the program, no fees apply. If cancellations occur within two weeks before the date of the program, the minimum fee for the scheduled program will be charged. Fees do not apply if cancellations occur due to inclement weather.

School Program REQUEST Form

Please complete this form if you are intersted in scheduling a program. If a date you choose is available you WILL be added to the calendar and then receive an email confirming this. If none of your dates is available we will contact you with comperable dates. Do NOT complete this form if you are just inquiring about scheduling a program. If you have questions that are not answered in the text above, feel free to call 949-645-8489 or email lori@encenter.org with your questions prior to scheduling. Thank you!
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