Field trips can be transformative experiences for students: Having the chance to get outside of the classroom, learn from passionate educators, and encounter new places and ideas can broaden the educational horizons for young learners.
At the Environmental Nature Center, learning occurs outdoors where the risk of infectious spread is lower. Part of the appeal for outdoor learning is that transmission of the virus is less likely outside, where air particles can disperse and people can more easily distance themselves from each other. The ENC is available to provide in-person field trips for your students. The ENC is adhering to the same health and safety standards as schools, as determined by state and local health departments. If an actual field trip is not practical, please consider a Traveling Naturalist program or a Virtual Field Trip.
The ENC presents field trip programs to preschool – 12th grade classes throughout the school year. The curricula for each program supports the Next Generation Science Standards for each grade level. Our unique grade-specific programs enable students to return year after year to build on previous learning. Students develop a coherent and scientifically-based view of the world around them as they engage in practices to build, deepen, and apply their knowledge. These core ideas build on each other, and on what they’re learning in their classrooms. We are currently scheduling field trip programs for the 2022-23 school year at the Environmental Nature Center.
Call (949) 645-8489 or email Mindy to schedule a program!
“In my 25 years of teaching, this was the best field trip I had ever attended. My second graders had fun as they actively learned concepts directly tied to NGSS. Hats off to all of you!”
– Linda Krebs, Richard Henry Lee Elementary School
Field Trips at the ENC (Newport Beach)
Field Trips at Tucker (Modjeska Canyon)
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. $8/student. 10min/60max. 1hr
Students will observe, analyze, and interpret patterns between what plants, animals, and humans need to survive. As they hike through our trails they will survey our meadow area to determine different types of food items animals eat in nature, build a model to demonstrate how animals and humans can change the environment, touch, smell, and taste different natural resource items, and enact how they can help reduce the impact humans have on the local environment. NGSS alignment: K-Ls1-1: LS1.C, K-ESS2-2: ESS2.E, ESS3.C, K-ESS3-1: ESS3.A, K-ESS3-3:ESS3.C, EST1.B. 1.25 hours, $9/student.Minimum 10/maximum 120.
Oh no! There’s a mystery at Tucker and our Naturalists need your students’ help! Students will examine clues, such as tracks, and meet a few of our ambassador animals to help solve a mystery. Length: 1 hour and 15 minutes
NGSS alignment: K-Ls1-1: LS1.C, K-ESS2-2: ESS2.E, ESS3.C, K-ESS3-1: ESS3.A, K-ESS3-3:ESS3.C, EST1.B. 1.25 hours, $9/student.Minimum 10/maximum 100.
On a hike through the Center, students participate in hands-on activities to learn how seeds are dispersed and grow into adult plants. Along the trail, they observe the skulls of various animals to determine adaptations of how an animal detects sound and how adaptations of animals influence human problem solving. 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 a toad to talk about how the young look different from adults and must go through metamorphosis. Standards: 1-LS1-1, LS1.A, LS1.D, 1-LS3-1, LS3.A, LS3.B. $9/student. 10min/120max. 1.5hrs
Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary is home to so many different native insects and animals! For this program, students explore Tucker by mapping out all the places that animals could make homes, find food, and survive while meeting a few animal ambassadors along the way. Length: 1.5 hours
Standards: 1-LS1-1, LS1.A, LS1.D, 1-LS3-1, LS3.A, LS3.B. $9/student. 10min/100max. 1.5 hrs
On a hike through the Center, students map out landmarks, as well as where water has changed the shape of the land. In a hands-on experiment students discover that some landforms are created quickly and others develop over a time too long for a human to observe. They play a fun game to discover that most plants depend on animals for pollination and to move seeds around. They discover the importance of biodiversity and learn that there are many different kinds of living things in an area, and they exist in different places. Standards: 2-LS2-2, LS2.A, 2-LS4-1, LS4.D, 2-ESS1-1, ESS1.C, 2-ESS2-1, ESS2.A, 2-ESS2-2, ESS2.B. $10.50/student. 20min/120max. 2hrs
The “green blur” is when plants are seen as one mass instead of as the individuals that make up an ecosystem. In this program, students will learn how to look past the “green blur” to explore what makes plants unique. Students will discover the life cycle of a plant, test out how different seeds disperse, discuss why different plants grow in different areas, and observe pollinators! Length: 2 hours
Standards: 2-LS2-2, LS2.A, 2-LS4-1, LS4.D, 2-ESS1-1, ESS1.C, 2-ESS2-1, ESS2.A, 2-ESS2-2, ESS2.B. $10.50/student. 20min/100max. 2 hrs
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, $10.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 120.(Standards: 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.4)
Students will participate in activities that help them understand that animals have unique characteristics and life cycles. These unique abilities help them interact with and survive in their specific environment. Standards: 3-LS1-1, LS1.B, 3-LS2-1, LS2.D, 3-LS3-2, LS3.B, 3LS4-3, LS4.C, 3LS4-4, LS2.C. $10.50/student. 20min/120max. 2hrs
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, $10.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 100.(Standards: 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.4)
Biology is all about investigating and sometimes getting dirty. Students search for invertebrates in the soil or creek and hypothesize what adaptations help them survive in their habitats. Students also investigate plant adaptations through observations, experimentation, and nature journaling. Length: 3 hours
3 hours, $15/student, minimum 20/maximum 100.(Standards: 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.4)
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, $10.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 120. (Standards: 4.1.5, 4.2.1, 4.2.3, 4.2.5)
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! Standards: 4-LS1-1, LS1.A, 4-ESS1-1, ESS1.C, 4-ESS3-2, ESS3.B. $10.50/student. 20min/120max. 2hrs
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, $10.50/student, minimum 20/maximum 100. (Standards: 4.1.5, 4.2.1, 4.2.3, 4.2.5)
How do we experience the world around us? How does a plant or an insect? In this program students perform a dissection on a cow’s eye to learn how the structure of eyes relate to the function of seeing. Students also hike around Tucker to make observations on how different organisms interpret and interact with the world around them using their senses! Length: 3 hours
$15/student, minimum 20/maximum 100. (Standards: 4.1.5, 4.2.1, 4.2.3, 4.2.5)
Students will perform water quality tests between two aquatic ecosystems. From those ecosystems, they will take water samples and look at them under a microscope. Along the trail, students learn about photosynthesis and transpiration. Students discuss the water cycle and water distribution, and play a game to learn about ways that water is polluted and cleaned. Standards: 5-PS3-1, PS3.D, 5-LS1-1, LS1.C, 5-LS2-1, LS2.A, LS2.B, 5-ESS2-2, ESS2.C. $12/student. 20min/120max. 2.5hrs
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”- John Muir. This idea is the essence of the academic field of ecology. Students will hike in the wilderness exploring our partner site, the Modjeska Wilderness Preserve, discovering how everything in nature is interconnected through abiotic testing, explorations, and nature journaling. Length: 3 hours
Standards: 5-PS3-1, PS3.D, 5-LS1-1, LS1.C, 5-LS2-1, LS2.A, LS2.B, 5-ESS2-2, ESS2.C. $15/student. 20min/100max. 3 hrs
Children & adults of all ages & abilities can join us for a Sensory Journey. As we explore our Nature Center, we journey through our native habitats and provide opportunities to have personal encounters with our Animal Ambassadors: maybe a toad, salamander, snake, or rabbit. The journey is designed to invite the use of our senses to experience our native wildlife. During Springtime, we may also visit our Butterfly House to experience butterflies & native plants up close. This live animal encounter can be customized to meet the cognitive/physical needs of all participants: from hiking our trails, to gathering in a quiet place out in our nature center, to having a circle time presentation in one of our classrooms. Naturalists guide small groups limited to 10 participants & their chaperones, to provide a unique opportunity to engage with nature for all ages & abilities. $8/student. 10min/60max. 1 hr.
Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary was the home of Benjamin and Dorothy Tucker in the early 1930’s. Benjamin Tucker was the inventor of the hummingbird feeder and nectar recipe that is still used today. This class explores the Tuckers’ love of birds by learning about the different characteristics of birds, where they live, and how to be a good bird watcher.
- Grades: Kinder-High School
- Length: 1 hour
California is a biodiversity hot spot with many native plants and animals that can only be found right here in our state. Come explore a few of the native animals that call California home by meeting Tucker’s animal ambassadors. Students will learn about the different animals that live here and what adaptations they have that help them survive.
- Grades: Kinder-High School
- Length: 1 hour
Naturalists are people who continually learn about the world around them. In this in-depth class, students will learn how to be a naturalist and about the ecology of the Santa Ana Mountains by conducting abiotic tests, observing animal adaptations, and going on a chaparral hike.
- Grades: 3rd – High School
- Length: 2.5 hours
Students will conduct field research to assess the abiotic factors in two different California plant communities at the ENC. After conducting research, students will then compare physical features of each ecosystem and present their findings to their fellow classmates. With the newly gained information, students will design their own animal that can survive in that environment. Standards: MS-LS2-1, LS2.A, MS-LS2-2, MS-ETS1-2, MS- ETS1-3, ETS1.B. $12/student. 20min/48max. 2hrs
Students will conduct field research to assess population diversity of plants and animals in two different ecosystems in the Nature Center. They will then organize their data collected to analyze biodiversity of each ecosystem. Standards: HS-LS2-2, LS2.C, HS-LS2-6, LS2.C, HS-LS2-7, LS2.C. $12/student. 20min/48max. 2.5hrs
Frequently Asked Questions:
But what about COVID-19?
Students and adults are NOT required to wear masks indoors or outdoors while visiting the ENC. Our field trips only take place indoors in the event of heavy rain or smoke.
Do you offer any discounts for schools?
There is a 10% Discount for booking a program to occur in September. We also offer scholarships for Title I Schools to attend field trips at the ENC Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary. Please also check out our Teacher Funding Resources page for grant opportunities that may offset the cost of your field trip.
Can we eat our lunch or snack at the ENC?
We do not allow schools to bring food on-site. This is partly due to the fact that an abundance of crumbs on our grounds is not good for our local wildlife. The other reason is that the ENC is committed to diverting 95% or more of its waste from the landfill. Please review our Zero Waste Policy prior to visiting the Center. We recommend you visit Bob Henry Park across the street before or after your field trip – it’s a great place for a picnic!
What is your cancellation policy?
If you need to cancel your program for any reason, please email email@example.com 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 Mindy or Lori. If cancellations occur at least two weeks before the program, no fees apply. If cancellations occur within two weeks of the scheduled program, the minimum fee for the scheduled program will be charged. Fees do not apply if cancellations occur due to inclement weather.
Do you require a deposit?
As deposit is required in order to secure a date on our programs calendar. The deposit amount will be equivalent to the minimum fee* for the program and will be credited towards the final cost of the program. This deposit is refundable in the case of the ENC needing to cancel the program due to unforeseen circumstances. If a school cancels their field trip within two weeks of their scheduled date, the deposit will be used as a penalty fee and a new deposit will be required to reschedule the program. If a school cancels their field trip with at least two weeks’ notice, the original deposit can be applied towards a rescheduled date.
*Minimum fees are:
|MS/HS @ Buck Gully||$220|