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 still available to provide in-person field trips for your students. Our experienced environmental educators safely provided instruction to our Summer Nature Campers from June 1 to August 21. The ENC is adhering to the same health and safety standards as schools, as determined by state and local health departments, to accommodate safe distancing, frequent hand-washing, regular cleaning of high touch surfaces, and other guidelines to protect the health and safety of visitors. 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 2020-21 school year at the Environmental Nature Center.
Call (949) 645-8489 or email Mindy to schedule a program!
What does a field trip look like? Watch this video!
“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
Science Field Trips
History-Social Science Field Trips
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. $6.50/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, $7.50/student.Minimum 10/maximum 120.
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. $7.50/student. 10min/120max. 1.5hrs
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. $9/student. 20min/120max. 2hrs
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. $9/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, $9/student, minimum 20/maximum 120.(Standards: 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.2.4)
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. $9/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, $9/student, minimum 20/maximum 120. (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. $10/student. 20min/120max. 2.5hrs
Special Needs Groups
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. $7.50/student. 10min/60max. 1.25 hr.
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. $10/student. 20min/48max. 2hrs
Located at Buck Gully Nature Reserve, this program provides students with exposure to a variety of environmental science careers in botany, geology, ecology, entomology, and ornithology. Middle School students explore these STEM careers as they hike through the breath-taking trails of the reserve and conduct science-based observations, data collection, hands-on experiments, and field data analysis. Each student will undergo a brief exposure to the 5 listed science careers as well as be immersed in 1 of the 5 careers to grasp a deeper understanding of that career. For their main career, students will be randomly divided to become an ecologist, geologist, or botanist. The geologists will be researching suspended sediment transportation, botanists will use quadrants to assess the biodiversity of native and non-native species, and ecologists will investigate fertilizer concentration in soil. This *2 1/2 hr program is $10.50 per student, minimum 20 students-maximum 45 students. Please advise the student to wear water appropriate shoes (or bring an extra pair along with socks) as some data collecting will be taking place in the stream.
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. $10.50/student. 20min/48max. 2.5hrs
Located at Buck Gully Nature Reserve, this program provides students with exposure to a variety environmental science careers in botany, geology, ecology, entomology, and ornithology. High School students explore these STEM careers as they hike through the breath-taking trails of the reserve and conduct science-based observations, data collection, hands-on experiments, and field data analysis. Each student will undergo a brief exposure to the 5 listed science careers as well as be immersed in 1 of the 5 careers to grasp a deeper understanding of that career. For their main career, students will be randomly divided to become an ecologist, geologist, or botanist. The geologists will be researching suspended sediment transportation, botanists will use quadrants to assess the biodiversity of native and non-native species, and ecologists will investigate fertilizer concentration in soil. This *2 1/2 hr program is $10.50 per student, minimum 20 students-maximum 45 students. Please advise the student to wear water appropriate shoes (or bring an extra pair along with socks) as some data collecting will be taking place in the stream. NGSS alignment: HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-LS4-5, HS-ESS2-5
Frequently Asked Questions:
But what about COVID-19?
Students and adults are required to wear masks at all times while at the ENC. Students will be split into teaching groups of no more than 10 students; no more than 2 chaperones (including teachers) will be permitted per teaching group. Students will be offered hand sanitizer in between activities and teaching supplies will be sanitized in between use. Every adult and child must have their temperature taken before entering onto our grounds.
Do you offer any discounts for schools?
There is a 10% Discount for booking a program to occur in Fall 2021. 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|