The official website of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation and Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Elkhorn Slough Education Program

Elkhorn Slough Reserve K-College Field Trips

Enrich your students learning with a visit to the Elkhorn Slough Reserve.  We invite you to bring your students to walk the trails, explore the microscopic wonders in a drop of water, investigate an Elkhorn Slough food chain, and to ask questions about the marvels they encounter.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
We are excited to announce that all of our educational activities and kits have been evaluated through the Next Generation Science Standards lens. We have created an environmental education program that encourages investigation, exploration, analysis, and engagement, and moves students towards environmental literacy.

There are three great ways to bring your students to the Reserve:

  1. Self-Guided Reserve Trail Walk

    The perfect introduction to the Elkhorn Slough Reserve for college classes, and K-12 teachers who just want to bring their students out for a hike.
    Days: Wednesday - Sunday
    Times: Open between 9:00am -5:00pm
    Duration: Up to teacher
    Group size: Less than 100 (dependent upon Reserve capacity on the day of the visit)
    Chaperones: Minimum 1 per 8 students, please inform your chaperones that they are meant to be active participants.
    Grade Level: K-College
    Required: A 15 minute orientation with a naturalist before entering the Reserve.
    This is a self-led visit; a teacher and/or chaperone is required to be with students and to lead them at all times.
    Trail Walk: You can choose from any of the trails as long as conditions permit; educational kits and binoculars are available for check-out. Lunch and snacks can be taken on the Picnic tables.

    >> Reservation Request for Self-guided Reserve Trail Walk

  2. Self-Guided Reserve Explorations

    Combine time in the Visitor Center with a Reserve trail walk. Students will learn about the habitats and wildlife found on the Elkhorn Slough Reserve while they explore exhibits, a touch table, and hands-on interactives in the Visitor Center before or after their trail walk.
    Days: Wednesday - Sunday
    Times: Open between 9:00am -5:00pm
    Duration: Up to teacher
    Group size: Less than 50 (dependent upon Reserve capacity on the day of the visit)
    Chaperones: Minimum 1 per 8 (K-12) students, please inform your chaperones that they are meant to be active participants.
    Grade Level: K-College
    Required: A 15 minute Orientation with a naturalist before entering the Reserve.
    This is a self-led visit; a teacher and/or chaperone is required to be with students and to lead them at all times.
    Trail Walk: You can choose from any of the trails as long as conditions permit; educational kits and binoculars are available for check-out. Lunch and snacks can be taken on the picnic tables.
    Visitor Center: You may bring up to 18 students at a time through the Visitor Center using your own team of teachers and chaperones to guide the students through one of our activities or one of your own.  We encourage you to come with clear goals and a purpose for bringing students into the Visitor Center.

    >> Reservation Request for Self-Guided Reserve Exploration


  3. Estuary Investigations

    Work with the Reserve Education staff to design a Naturalist led visit that complements your teaching goals with hands on activities that provide your students with time to experience and explore the wonders of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve.
    Days: Wednesday-Sunday
    Time: Open between 9:00am-5:00pm
    Duration: Minimum 2 hours
    Group size: Less than 80 students (dependent upon Reserve capacity on the day of the visit.) Students must be split into groups of 24 or less if using the Microscope Learning Lab.
    Chaperones: Minimum 1 per 12 (K-12) students, please inform your chaperones that they are meant to be active participants.
    Grade Level: K-College
    Required:  A 15 minute orientation with a naturalist before entering the Reserve
    Rotations: You can mix and match from choices of naturalist led activities in the Visitor Center, a self-guided trail walk, guided field activities, or a naturalist led Microscope Learning Lab (3rd grade and older). Worksheets, educational kits and binoculars are available for check-out. Lunch and snacks can be taken on the Picnic tables. Trail Walk: You can choose from any of the trails as long as conditions permit.

    Our Estuary Investigations activities are organized in grade bands K-5, 6-8 and 9-12, explained below.

DOWNLOAD THE FIELD TRIP REQUEST FORM, fill out and email to twilson@elkhornslough.org.


Grades K-5 – Slough Sleuthing

Slough Sleuthing is all about observation; what can you see with your eyes and hear with your ears?

Trail Walk
Slough Sleuthing - Trail walk
Ask about available resources to enrich your walk

Visitor Center Activities (Staff Lead)
Slough Sleuthing – Visitor Center Exploration worksheets (Observe organisms in different habitats)
Predators and Prey (Grade 1-4)
Food Chain Investigation (Grade 5)

Microscope Learning Lab (Staff Lead)
Observing adaptations (Grade 3 and up)
  
Kits
For Use on Reserve only:
One Hundred Inch Hike
Insect Shake
Water Quality Monitoring (Grades 4 & 5)
Tide sticks and current meter stick
Quadrats

For use on Reserve or in Classroom:
Beaks and Feet
What Beaks Eat
Wetlands Metaphor

Grades 6-8 – Wetland Wonders

Through the exploration of Wetland Wonders middle schoolers learn to ask questions and investigate the world around them.

Trail Walk
Wetland Wonders - Trail walk
Ask about available resources to enrich your walk

Visitor Center Activities (Staff Lead)
Wetland Wonders – Visitor Center Exploration worksheets (Wetland and watershed benefits)
Food Chain Investigation (Grade 5 and up)

Microscope Learning Lab (Staff Lead)
Observing Adaptations
Form and Function Investigation
Plankton

Kits
On the Reserve:
Insect Shake
Water Quality Monitoring
Plankton Tow
Quadrats

For use on Reserve or in Classroom:
What Beaks Eat
Beaks and Feet
Build a Wetland

 

Grades 9-12 – The Slough and You

The Slough and You activities encourageHigh School students to pause and consider the human impacts they are observing around them and to discuss solutions and alternative scenarios.

Trail Walk
Human Impacts – Trail walk
Ask about available resources to enrich your walk

Visitor Center Activities (Staff Lead)
Visitor Center Exploration worksheets (critical thinking around environmental restoration challenges)

Microscope Learning Lab (Staff Lead)
Observing Adaptations
Form and Function Investigation
Plankton

Kits
For use on the Reserve:
Insect Shake
Water Quality Monitoring
Plankton Tow
Quadrats

For use in Classroom:
What Beaks Eat (Data Analysis)
Build a Wetland

 

RESERVATIONS
Please consider making your reservations early as school field trips to the Elkhorn Slough Reserve are very popular and dates book up months in advance. The spring is the busiest time of the year so consider fall dates as an alternative.  Fall is a wonderful time to see migrating birds and observe the subtle changes occurring at the Reserve.

The education staff is available to answer any questions and to assist you in creating the perfect field trip, please call with any questions: (831)728-2822.

 



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This site is maintained by the Elkhorn Slough Foundation in partnership with the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
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