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!


To request a Virtual Field Trip, please email Education Coordinator, Bonnie McQuiston, at
Please include your district, school, grade level, number of students, program you’re interested in, preferred months, and technology platform.


The Reserve offers live, virtual field trips with our certified interpretive naturalists on the trail, engaging with your students from wherever they are.

For a complete learning experience, each grade-level program includes: 

  • 45-Minute Live, Virtual Field Trip aligned with CA NGSS and Social-Science Standards
  • 4 Pre- and Post-Field Trip Activity Pages
  • 2 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 discover how rocks and minerals play an essential role in our everyday lives. Students meet a live animal 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 about 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.

Second Grade NGSS PEs 2-ESS1-1; 2-ESS2-2; 2-LS4-1; EP&C Principle 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 a live animal to find out how it is adapted to its wild environment. 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 a native plant on the trail to learn about its 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-LS2-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4; 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 explore how native plants and animals were used for survival. Students listen to an animal legend to learn how storytelling communicated significant beliefs and knowledge. 



“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.

“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.

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:

“Ecosystem Studies: San Juan Creek”: Students become ecologists, biologists and entomologists 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 scientists study this species to have a positive impact on its survival.

“Save the Desert Tortoise!”: Students meet a California Desert Tortoise, a threatened species of the desert ecosystem. Students learn about what is impacting their survival and specific actions they can take to help this special species.

Fifth Grade NGSS PEs 5-PS3-1, 5-LS2-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-ESS3-1, 5-ESS2-1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4 & SL.5.6 



Each Virtual Field Trip program includes a 45-minute live virtual field trip with two certified interpretive naturalists. Also included are printable pre and post field trip activities and two pre-recorded video lessons correlated to the virtual field trip. The cost is $100 per class of approximately 30 students.

Capistrano Unified School District Title One Schools:

Through a generous donation from Cox Communications this program is FREE to your classes! Please register soon as spaces are limited for this grant opportunity. Free programs will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis to qualifying CUSD Title One schools.


Note: Due to COVID-19, in-person field trips 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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