Notes From the Field

Notes From the Field

On this page you will see some of the magic and adventure from some recent programs, as well as some feedback from teachers and students.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve / Montara Lighthouse

Thirty 5th graders from Taft Elementary in Redwood City spent an exicitng day at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve learning about the inter-tidal zone's animals and plant life. For many students, this was the first time they had EVER been to the beach, walked on the sand and touched the ocean. Before the trip, Field Trip Foundation arranged an in-class presentation by a local naturalist, so the children knew what to expect and were prepared for a day at the beach tide pooling.

On this very special trip, the students also spent the night at the nearby Montara Lighthouse Youth Hostel, chaperoned by teachers and FTF volunteers.

Three friends having a good time among the redwoods.
My favorite part of the day was when we went to the tide pools because there were cool animals. - Kevin
My favorite part of the day was when I got the crab. - Henderson
My favorite part of the day was watching the sunset. It was amazing.
- Christina
Thank you for an amazing experience - both for us as teachers and for our students. Thank you for helping them on their way to be lifelong learners.
- Ms. Roper, 5th grade teacher
Exploring the tidepools.

Año Nuevo, Elephant Seal Colony on San Mateo Coast

It was a perfect day for the trip, as a light cloud cover kept the seals cool and active, but didn't threaten rain. Streaming off the bus into smaller groups, 100 fourth-grade students were excited to investigate up close the 2000-plus pound elephant seals in their habitat, led by trained Año Nuevo docents.Walking among the sand dunes, armed with loaned binoculars and home-made field notebooks, the children eagerly watched over twelve-hundred seals go about their rituals of birthing, nursing and defending their territories.

"Look, look!" pointed one student. "There are the seagulls circling around. There's going to be a baby over there!" Sure enough, a few moments later one of the many pregnant female seals slipped out a small dark, cigar-shaped baby seal. The students were awestruck. "Wow. This is way cooler than videos!" commented another student.

The students knew to look for the sign of circling seagulls because prior to the trip, Field Trip provided teacher guides on Año Nuevo and arranged an in-class presentation by Bill Jardine. Mr. Jardine, who recently retired from a ten-year stint as an Año Nuevo docent, is the author of Ana of Año Nuevo, an educational children's story about the life of an elephant seal, seen through a young seal's eyes. More information about the trip is in an article in the Almanac News.

"Knowing we were going to be able to take this trip was so exciting for us. It allowed all of our fourth grade teachers to plan fantastic Science and Language Arts units. We were able to spend weeks before the trip studying Elephant Seals, the California coastal community, habitats and food webs. It was enormously important to our lessons that the students would be able to go and actually see, touch and completely experience everything we had learned.

Thank you also for the donation of the books Ana of Año Nuevo...the students really enjoyed the visit by author Bill Jardine...and they spent many lessons improving their questioning strategies so they would be prepared to ask Mr. Jardine factual information about Elephant Seals. Your foundation has made a real difference in the quality of instruction in our classrooms this year."

- Ms. Dugoni, Ms. Perez, Ms. Daly, Mr. Glover & Ms. Ramirez
4th grade teachers

Comparing teeth with a Northern Elephant Seal skull.
Watching for seagulls - the sure sign of a pregnant female seal.

Hidden Villa Farm & Wilderness Preserve

Knowing where the food on the dinner table comes from is often a mystery to children. Our trip to Hidden Villa, a local leader in environmental education, was filled with tasting garden treats, touching the bristles on a pig's back and the soft skin of a cow's belly. Over 3 days, one-hundred-twenty second graders used all five senses to learn about the nature's cycles of life in the garden, and how important animals are to our lives. Read more about the trip in the recent Los Altos Town Crier article.
"Thank you for taking us to Hidden Villa. I liked the farm. My favorite thing about the trip was the food in the garden. I learned that when chickens stop sitting on one egg it's good to eat." - Dalaney
Showing off a freshly picked carrot.
"Thank you for sending me to Hidden Villa. I liked the farm. I liked the animals the best. The best animals are the cows because that was the first time I seen a BIG cow. I did not know they were so BIG." - Laura
"Thank you for sending us to Hidden Villa. I liked the farm. My favorite animal was the chicken. I loved the flowers. And I love the smell of the leaf." - Jeffrey
From the teachers on the trip:
"My students found it very interesting that we get so many products from animals. I think this experience was invaluable to them because they could actually touch the animals. I was amazed by their excitement and enthusiasm. Many of them would not have seen these animals had it not been for the field trip."
Literal hands-on experience with the animals.
"Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. My kids are still talking about the trip - a month later!"
"Most of my 2nd grade students are English Language Learners (ELL), they learned how to say the names of different farm animals in English. They also were able to see first hand waht a chicken, pig, sheep (etc.) pen look like; and composting, gardening, WOW! - all new to them"