In-Person Field Trips

IN-PERSON FIELD TRIPS

Enjoy a fun learning experience out in nature with your classroom, home-school group, club, or family! Choose from a variety of topics for ages ECE through 12th. In addition to leading your group during the trip itself, our environmental educator will also give a short outreach visit at your location in the days leading up to the trip. This is a great way for students and leaders to get the information they need to be prepared and excited for their visit. FREE for Title I Schools.

*Select programs have worksheets available in English and Spanish. Programas seleccionados tienen hojas de trabajo disponibles en inglés y español.

Review trip themes and calendar of unavailable dates below, then REGISTER HERE. Contact maggie@blufflake.org with any questions.

Education Program Calendar —Orange Dates = Not Available

Field Trip Themes

  • Sensory Discovery (ECE – 1st)
  • Healthy Habitats (K – 2nd)*
  • Outdoor Survival (3rd – 6th)
  • Water Mission (3rd – 6th)*
  • Ecosystems Mission (3rd – 6th)*
  • Prairie Dog Mission (3rd – 6th)*
  • Leaf Mission (3rd – 6th)
  • Problem-based Learning (K – 12th)*
  • Custom Program (ECE – 12th)

*Worksheets in English and Spanish. Hojas de trabajo en inglés y español.

Sensory Discovery (ECE – 1st, 1 to 1.5 hours)

Students will use their senses to explore Bluff Lake as an animal does, through sight, sounds, smell, and touch! Expert environmental educators and interactive games will help the natural world come alive. Students will be introduced to some of the many animals, plants, and habitats of Bluff Lake.
NGSS: K-LS1-1.; K-2-ETS1-2.

*Healthy Habitats (1st – 2nd, 1.5 to 2 hours)

Students will discover what makes a good habitat, the different habitats of Bluff Lake, and the many types of living things in each. Our environmental educators will guide students in making their own observations of the plants and animals in each habitat, and students will look for ways these species can find what they need to survive. Worksheets available in English and Spanish. Hojas de trabajo disponibles en inglés y español.
NGSS: K-LS1-1; K-ESS2-2; K-ESS3-1; K-ESS3-3; 1-LS1-1; 1-LS3-1; 2-LS4-1; K-2-ETS1-2.

Outdoor Survival (ECE – 6th, 1.5 to 2.5 hours)

In addition to enjoying a hike around the many beautiful areas of Bluff Lake, students will also learn and practice some skills they can use to enjoy nature more responsibly. We will provide field equipment such as maps, compasses, and binoculars for students to practice with, and will also discuss what to do if you are lost or encounter a wild animal. Students will also have the chance to practice building their own emergency shelter.

Nature Exploration Teams Missions (NETS) 3rd – 6th

The four “Mission” programs described below are all structured  for students to take the lead in the discovery process. Designed to encourage curiosity and critical thinking, these missions ask students to practice using the scientific method as well as various tools of a field scientist. We provide tools such as binoculars, maps, compasses, thermometers, field guides, magnifying glasses, and water-quality testing kits for students to use during the trip.
NGSS: 3-LS1; 3-LS2; 3-LS3; 3-LS4; 3-ESS3; 3-5-ETS1; 4-LS1; 4-ESS3; 4-ESS2; 5-PS3; 5-LS1; 5-PS1; 5-LS2; 5-ESS3; MS-PS3; MS-LS1; MS-LS2; MS-ESS2; MS-ESS3; MS-ETS1

*NETS Water Mission (3rd – 6th, 2 to 2.5 hours)

Students will investigate the question, “Which water source at Bluff Lake is the healthiest for aquatic animals?”  They will look for signs of wildlife and human influence at Bluff Lake, Sand Creek, and our storm-water outfalls, then use a water monitoring kit to run their own tests of pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. After the exploration hike, they will draw their own conclusions and discuss the different ways that people can protect the health of water systems. Worksheets available in English and Spanish. Hojas de trabajo disponibles en inglés y español.

*NETS Ecosystems Mission (3rd – 6th, 2 to 2.5 hours)

Students will investigate the question, “Which ecosystem at Bluff Lake has the most biodiversity (different species of plants and animals)?”  They will use binoculars and magnifying glasses to examine different species in the prairie, wetland, and riparian habitats, then record their observations and use field guides to identify the species. After the exploration hike, they will draw their own conclusions and discuss the different ways that people can protect the biodiversity of natural ecosystems. Worksheets available in English and Spanish. Hojas de trabajo disponibles en inglés y español.

*NETS Prairie Dog Mission (3rd – 6th, 2 to 2.5 hours)

Students will investigate the question, “Which of the prairie dog colonies at Bluff Lake has the healthiest population?” They will visit the colonies and take their own census, looking for clues such as sightings of adult and young prairie dogs, number and placement of holes, amount of scat, nearby food sources, other animals in the area, and human influences. After the exploration hike, students will draw their own conclusions and discuss the different ways that people and prairie dogs can coexist. Worksheets available in English and Spanish. Hojas de trabajo disponibles en inglés y español.

NETS Leaf Mission (3rd – 6th, 2 to 2.5 hours)

Students will investigate the question, “Which part of the leaves’ appearance (size, shape, or edges) changes the most between different habitats?” They will use a map to guide them to different habitats around Bluff Lake, then find leaves to examine, measure, draw, and label with the help of flora field guides. After the exploration hike, they will draw their own conclusions and discuss the different ways that people can create the best conditions for a variety of plant life.

*Problem-Based Learning (K – 12th, 1.5 – 2.5 hours)

Bluff Lake’s unique location as a wildlife refuge surrounded by urban development makes it a great place to study how humans and the natural world interact, either successfully or unsuccessfully.  In this program students will  record their observations about human/environment interactions, identify potential areas of improvement, choose a problem, and start the process of developing a solution (to be continued back at the classroom). Students gain ownership over the problem and a chance to take action on an environmental issue they care about. Worksheets available in English and Spanish. Hojas de trabajo disponibles en inglés y español.

Custom Field Trip (ECE – 12th)

Bluff Lake Staff can work with you to design a program that targets your desired learning outcomes and the needs of your students, such as a more specific topic, multiple-visit series, service project, or field work. Please contact heidi@blufflake.org to discuss what you are looking for.