Environmental Education Field Trip Program

Each year, The Wetlands Institute hosts more than 6,000 students for hands-on, feet-wet environmental education field trips!  All of our field trips emphasize hands-on learning and the scientific method.  We offer a broad range of programs including:  Marsh Critter Discovery Walk, Cycles of Life, Beach Exploration, Turtle Talk, Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds, Wetlands Ecology, Barrier Beach Ecology, and special Seasonal Programs.  All environmental education field trip programs are aligned to New Jersey Academic Standards and the North American Association for Environmental Education K-12 Guidelines for Learning, and are tailored to the needs of our visiting teachers and schools.


Fall 2014!
 Seasonal Environmental Education Field Trip Program (Grades K-12)
Theme:  Migration and Winter Survival Strategies!

Time to Sleep (PreK – K)
60 minutes
$7.50/student
The days are getting colder, something is in the air. It’s time for a change and the animals are aware. Who’s going to sleep and who’s going to fly? Students help tell an interactive story about animals getting ready for winter. Then we’ll take a walk outside to see what the animals are doing. 

 

Monarchs on the Move (K – 3 grade)
6
0 minutes
$7.50/student
This is the time of year to study the marvelous butterflies. We’ll learn about their life cycle and find out what kinds of habitat they need as they migrate from one place to the next. Live monarch butterfly tagging if available!

Get Ready, Get Set, Go… Winter! (1 – 3 grade)
90 minutes
$8.50/ student
As the seasons from change summer to autumn and autumn to winter the animals are getting ready for the on-coming cold and changes in their food. We’ll search the marsh for signs of change and learn about the different ways animals spend the winter. Students will role play migration, hibernation, staying active and being dormant as they learn which animals do what!

Marvelous Migrations (4 – 12 grade)
120 minutes
$9.50/ student
(combine with Visit to Roosting and Staging Sites program and a lunch break: 5 hours, $17/student)
Autumn is the time for migrating! Butterflies, birds, fish and whales are on the move, heading south for warmer climes and a more constant food source for the winter months. Through interactive games, discussion and, role play students learn about the “who, why, when, and hows” of migration for the monarch butterflies and birds like osprey and shorebirds. Live monarch butterfly tagging if available!

Visit to Roosting and Staging Sites (4 – 12 grade)
120 minutes
$9.50/ student
(combine with an Marvelous Migrations program and a lunch break: 5 hours, $17/student)
Extend the study of migrations by visiting a roosting site for Monarchs and staging sites for birds as they rest along their migration route. 
 


Year-Round Environmental Education Field Trip Program Opportunities

Marsh Critter Discovery Walk (PreK – 2nd grade)
60 minutes
$7.50/student
Introduce your students to nature and show them that there’s more out there than sharks and poison ivy. Start with a walk down our Salt Marsh Trail, surrounded by waving grasses and shallow water. Be on the lookout for tall egrets, ferocious ospreys, migrating geese, and noisy gulls as we head out onto the boardwalk over the marsh. There might even be baby turtles hatching! Then we’ll head into the aquarium to meet many of the local animals: fish, sea stars, urchins, crabs, horseshoe crabs, diamondback terrapins, and an octopus. The teaching tank will be open, and kids will be able to touch many of the animals.

Cycles of Life (3rd – 4th grade)
90 minutes
$8.50/ student
(combine with any other 90 minute program and a lunch break: 4 hours, $15/student)
Nature’s repetition is all around us. Take a walk down the Salt Marsh Trail to look at the tides, life cycles of turtles and birds, and signs of the seasons. Students become drops of water as they play the water cycle game, using precipitation and evaporation to move from ocean to clouds. Finally, they’ll take on the roles of marsh flora and fauna to build food webs, and learn how pollution moves through food chains.

Beach Exploration (3rd – 4th grade)
90 minutes
$8.50/ student
(combine with any other 90 minute program and a lunch break: 4 hours, $15/student)
Too many kids think the New Jersey Shore is just like they see on “Jersey Shore.” Walk behind the dunes at Stone Harbor Point to see how plants and animals survive this harsh environment. Then climb to the top of the observation platform with binoculars for a look at everything from ships at sea to migrating birds to Wildwood’s rollercoasters. Finally, pick up a pail for some beachcombing. We’ll show your students all of a beach’s P.A.R.T.S. (Plants Animals Rocks Trash Shells) as we learn what belongs on a beach and what doesn’t.

Turtle Talk (3rd – 4th grade)
90 minutes
$8.50/ student
(combine with any other 90 minute program and a lunch break: 4 hours, $15/student)
In all of New Jersey’s salt marshes, from Cape May to Sandy Hook, there’s only one reptile: the northern diamondback terrapin. Meet some terrapins (as well as several other species of turtles) up close, and find out how cars and crab traps endanger them.

Horseshoe Crabs & Shorebirds (4th – 12th grade)
90 minutes
$8.50/ student
(combine with any other 90 minute program and a lunch break: 4 hours, $15/student)
An animal that’s been around for 450 million years is the basis for a $32 million ecotourism business in South Jersey.  Students learn about the interconnectedness of life forms in the Delaware Bay area with emphasis on the relationship between horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds. Then meet live horseshoe crabs, and maybe even give one a kiss for good luck. Finally, play “Reach the Beach” to see the hurdles a horseshoe crab has to overcome before it can lay its eggs.

Wetlands Ecology (5th – 12th grade)
120 minutes
$9.50/ student
(combine with Barrier Beach Ecology and a lunch break: 5 hours, $17/student)
Two full hours of hands-on, feet-wet activities! Students will test water quality from our dock to understand how environmental factors impact wildlife. Then they’ll take soil samples from the marsh and test them to demonstrate the marsh’s flood-preventing powers. Next, look at plants that can grow in the salty environment – including one that everyone gets to taste! – and chase after a few fiddler crabs. Finally, it’s into the creek with seine nets in search of minnows, shrimp, and crabs.

Barrier Beach Ecology (5th – 12th grade)
120 minutes
$9.50/student
(combine with Wetlands Ecology and a lunch break: 5 hours, $17/student)
Two full hours of hands-on, feet-wet activities! Start with a walk through the maritime forest at 48th street in Avalon, one of the last left in America. Students will test water quality on the beach to understand how environmental factors impact wildlife. Next, they’ll venture knee-deep into the ocean to catch a few of the animals that live just below the surface of the sand. Finally, everyone does a little beachcombing, while learning how to classify everything scientifically using simple taxonomy.


Registration Procedure:  Reservations are made by email (preferred) or phone on a first come first served basis.  Please email bknapick@wetlandsinstitute.org to book a program.

 

Do you teach in the northern New Jersey/ New York area? Exploring our coastal environments first hand is a wonderful and thrilling experience for students, but doing so at the Wetlands Institute may be too far for your school to travel. If so, a great alternative is the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium located on Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The NJSGC is a Wetlands Institute environmental education partner and offers hands on field trips that explore the beautiful coastal environment and surrounding wetlands.
Click here for more information on their website.


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