Each school year, Laguna Canyon Foundation works with eleven partner schools in Orange County to schedule more than 75 field trips that bring 4,500 second through fifth grade students to the South Coast Wilderness at no charge to the schools or students. During each grade-specific, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)-based trip, students enjoy an outdoor adventure that encourages a scientific mindset while developing an appreciation for nature and a sense of stewardship of the open space.
Mother Nature is a Wonderful Artist
Diversity in Nature is not only Beautiful, but Absolutely Necessary. How do wind, water, sunlight and other elements affect the plants, animals and land? Students will examine plants to understand what it take for them to grow and thrive; pollination will be review. Through a variety of games and activities, students will observe the shape and stability of structures found in nature and learn how their “design” is related to their function, lo, their very existence. Why would a covey of quail pick this area to live? Why is this flower yellow and that flower red? During the hike, students will be asked to take a “memory photo” that reminds them of change and/or structure. The hike will conclude with an opportunity for students to draw their memory photo on a special “fun fact” card that they can take with them to remind them of the beauty of the open space.
I’m A Survivor!
Adaptation of our Local Flora and Fauna. Students experience the natural habitat through the lens of adaptations. As they hike through the canyon, they will observe native flora and fauna and discuss how these organisms’ structures and behaviors might help them survive in this unique habitat. Through hands-on learning and fun activities, our field instructors will guide the students to experience survival through the “eyes” of a coyote, bobcat and deer. They will learn how to identify scat and characterize animal skulls as those of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores. Students will closely inspect our native plants; they will smell and feel the soil. Ultimately, the students will depart with knowledge of how our native plants and animals survive in this local protected wilderness and why preserving this land is so important.
Together, We Can Build A Habitat.
A Spirit of Inquiry and Investigation. Students may get caught up in wanting to see the “charismatic megafauna” on the hike, but often the most inspiring finds are those we can readily see. This program broadens the students’ world to the small-scale aspect of nature and habitat building. The students learn about the “building blocks” of a habitat and what is necessary to preserve the delicate natural balance for the plants and animals we love so much. By discovering the little things – fallen leaves, animal material, different types of soil and sand, gopher holes, beetles, evidence of erosion – students find that the little things make a BIG impact!
The Power of Observation. Along a three mile hike, students take control of their experience to connect with nature. A field journal is provided to each student to sketch and record their observations, inquiries and ideas. Field Educators carry a portable white board to share terms with the students. Journaling as field scientists and naturalists can help students maximize their learning and engagement with nature through creativity and participation, strengthening their ability to observe, ponder and remember, while leaving Laguna Canyon with a deeper connection to our local wilderness.