Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along the grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature. - Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
ACR’s School Program puts children directly in contact with nature, allowing them to explore with their senses and imaginations.
Elementary school classes can visit either the Martin Griffin Preserve on the Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County (3rd, 4th and 5th grades) or the Bouverie Preserve in Sonoma County’s Valley of the Moon (3rd and 4th grades). Students investigate a variety of habitats, including oak woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, riparian woodlands, aquatic environments, grasslands, and coastal scrub, while learning about ecology and biological diversity, Native American folklore, and the natural history of local plants and animals.
Small, docent-led hiking groups (1:6 docent to student ratio) emphasize discovery and actively engage children in learning. Docents encourage children to see, hear and touch the natural world, while asking and proposing answers to their own questions about what they observe.
When: Tuesdays through Fridays during the spring and fall.
Cost: In keeping with ACR's commitment to making nature education accessible to all Bay Area schoolchildren, field trips are free of charge and transportation scholarships are available.
Prior to the scheduled field trip, ACR docents visit classrooms to prepare the children for their visit to the preserve. A slideshow and hands-on activities teach ecological concepts and natural history, and include opportunities to connect science with art and observation. Audubon Canyon Ranch also provides teachers with information packets (both in hardcopy and online) that include lesson plans, classroom activities, and resources to reinforce or extend learning, and a matrix showing how our program links to California Academic Content Standards.