1. Look for a site/program that reinforces or complements what you are teaching. If it doesn’t, provide a classroom introduction to the concepts and key vocabulary that will be covered during the field trip.
2. Plan way ahead! Consider the time of year and time of day. Plan outdoor trips when it’s not predicted to be extremely hot, cold, or rainy. Are there buildings, structures and activities for back-up in the event of unpleasant weather?
3. If possible, pre-visit the site to ensure it is appropriate for your age group, and that it has the capacity to handle your numbers. Are water, restrooms, shade, and handicap accessibility available? For large numbers, you may need to divide into smaller groups. You will have a smoother experience if you setup groups in advance and ensure that all groups have a chaperone.
4. When communicating with site staff, provide at least three alternative dates and times, student ages or grade level, approximate numbers, and any particular learning objectives that you desire. Take into consideration travel time, especially if you will be traveling on busy routes during high traffic.
5. Verify that transportation and additional chaperones are available for the scheduled date and time.
6. Discuss with students safety considerations and appropriate outdoor clothing, such as hats, closed-toed shoes for hiking, and long sleeves and/or sunscreen.
7. Name tags! And for chaperones too.
8. Most importantly: Have fun!
P.S.: Please plan to provide feedback such as post trip surveys, reviews, and/or student thank you letters or artwork.
For additional learning opportunities and sites in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, see the Environmental Education Collaborative Environmental Learning Resources guide.