Virtual School Field Trips

Things are looking different this year, but you can still count on us for quality, engaging science and social-science education!




The Reserve offers live, virtual field trips with a naturalist on the trail engaging with your students from wherever they are. Each live virtual field trip is 45-minutes in length and aligned with the CA Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and CA Social-Science Standards.

For a complete learning experience, each grade level program also includes pre and post-field trip activities and complementary, pre-recorded “Lessons from the Field” videos. Take a look at our Live Virtual Field Trip opportunities below:

The Earth and Its Changes Live Virtual Field Trip, Second Grade

Students become geologists “on the trail” as they investigate how forces, such as erosion and weathering, shape earth’s landforms. Students play a scavenger hunt game to discover how rocks and minerals play an essential role in our everyday lives. Students meet live animals to understand how the earth is important for animals too!


“Lessons from the Field” videos include:

“Let’s Go to Rainbow Mountain!”: Get an up close look at the colorful layers of rock that make up Rainbow Mountain, a former clay mine. Learn how these layers formed, the properties of clay, and how we use this important natural resource.

“Super Soils!”: Investigate soils from majestic oak trees and prickly pear cactus to compare and contrast the soil properties of different types of plants. Visit Mother Oak, a 500 year-old oak tree on the Reserve, to discover the secret soil recipe for this incredible tree.

Second Grade NGSS PEs 2-eSS1-1; 2-ESS2-1 – 3; 2-LS4-1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3, 2.4 & SL.2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6


Adaptations Live Virtual Field Trip, Third Grade

Student learning comes to life as they interact with two live animals and find out how they are adapted to their wild environments. Students get a close look at a coyote specimen as they discover its many physical and behavioral adaptations and the benefits of living in a group. Students investigate native plants on the trail to learn about their adaptations for survival in southern California’s hot and dry climate.

“Lessons from the Field” videos include:

“Skull Studies”: Students study skull and teeth structures of native animals to learn how they are adapted for the foods they eat. Students determine if animals are herbivores, carnivores or omnivores based on clues from the animal’s diet.

 “Interview with Nocturnal Animals”: Students watch a hilarious skit in which animals interview for the prestigious job of “Nighttime Security Officer on the Reserve”. Through this fun and playful scene, students learn about nocturnal animal adaptations such as night vision and silent flight.

Third Grade NGSS 3-LS1.-1, 3-LS4-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4, 3.7 & SL.3.3, 3.6


Native American Life: A Walk Back in Time” Live Virtual Field Trip, Fourth Grade

Students step back in time as they discover the life of the California Native American. Students listen to a legend and explore how native plants and animals were used for survival. Students meet a live animal to learn about its significance in California Indian culture.



“Lessons from the Field” videos include:

“Let’s Make Some Music!”: Students listen to the natural sounds of California Indian musical instruments. Learn how local tribes constructed instruments from native plants and animals and how to make a simpler version at home.

“Get Your Game On!”: Students learn how games of skill and games of chance were important in California Indians’ daily lives.  Students watch demonstrations of traditional games and learn to recreate their own version to play at home.

“Nature Gifts from the Earth”: Students gain an understanding of the most essential natural resources to southern California Indians: shells, acorns and obsidian. As students learn about the collection, usage and traditions of these items, they contemplate today’s most important natural resources and their own commitment to conservation.

Fourth Grade History-Social Science Standard 4.2.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2, 4.4 & SL.4.2, 4.6


EcosySTEM Studies” Live Virtual Field Trip, Fifth Grade

Students discover the important biotic and abiotic factors within an ecosystem as they observe, collect and record data with a naturalist on the trail. Students understand the flow of energy between organisms as they discover the roles of plants and animals within food chains. Students gain knowledge and insight to important science careers as they explore the job of a Wildlife Biologist, including a meeting with a live animal.


“Lessons from the Field” videos include:

“Careers in Science: Ornithology-Let’s Be Bird Scientists!”: Students become ornithologists, or bird scientists, as they focus on a keystone species, the Acorn Woodpecker. They learn about their unique physical characteristics and behaviors as they see these amazing creatures in action.

“Ecosystem Studies: San Juan Creek”: Students become ecologists as they venture to San Juan Creek to investigate this incredible ecosystem. Learn about the animals that call the creek home, such as the endangered arroyo toad, and how humans can have a positive impact on its existence.

Fifth Grade NGSS PEs 5-PS3-1, 5-LS2-1, 5-ESS3-1, 5-ESS2-1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4 & SL.5.6 



Note: Due to COVID-19, in-person field trips for large school groups have been suspended at this time.  We look forward to getting students back on the trail as soon as possible. We hope to meet you on a Live Virtual Field Trip soon!  

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