It is not a secret that outdoor field trips are slow during the cold, winter months. However, we usually stay busy writing grants, planning for future events, etc (check out Nancy’s last blog post about how we keep busy in winter).

Our latest project has been taking field trip lessons into the classroom for classes who plan on visiting Friends of the Rappahannock for an actual field trip in the Spring. The lessons we teach in the classroom are 45 minute interactive lessons that correspond with the field trip program.

Students benefit from these in class lessons as they will become familiar with our educators, style of teaching, and subject matter prior to visiting us by the river. Nancy Stalik, a FOR educator, says “Students and teachers value our new in class pre-field trip visits. Teachers experience a preview of our style of presentation and our scope of subject matter. Kids get primed for their field trip.  Both enjoy an enrichment activity right in their classrooms!”

Our first trip was to the 3rd grade at Moncure Elementary School. They will be visiting FOR in the spring for a field trip about animal habitats, the water cycle, and wetlands. The FOR education team did a lesson about the food web to each of the 5 classes. First, we let them know that they would be visiting us by the Rappahannock River and that we are in the classroom to introduce them to topics they will be exploring during their field trip. They were able to ask us questions and let us know of any concerns they had about the upcoming field trip.

Since this lesson was based on the food web, we reviewed concepts and vocabulary of this topic that will also be brought up during the field trip lessons. We hope that these in class lessons help to encourage participation and enthusiasm from students when they come on the field trip. This way, they have an even better experience on the field trip since they are open to concepts and ideas that we bring up in the pre-lesson.

Now that winter is coming to an end, and spring is approaching, we are moving on to outdoor field trips. Next winter we will continue this in-class, pre-lesson program to schools that have, or plan to visit us by the river on an outdoor field trip.

Meredith Palumbo

Field Trip Coordinator

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