Create Your Own Field Study
Field studies coupled with classroom activities are an integral part of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences. One approach to providing your students with a field study is to create your own experience, blending it within your current curriculum. You may want to take your students to a local park or just get them outside on school grounds.
Find a Place to Explore
Field studies often occur at locations away from school grounds. Finding the right location that relates to the topic you're teaching is critical to the success of a field study. These locations are often state parks, museums, or nature centers. The Chesapeake Bay Program's map of public access points throughout the region is a great way to find a study location near you.
Chesapeake Gateways Network
The Chesapeake Gateways Network is another great resource for field studies. The Network spans six states and Washington, DC to connect you and your students with the Bay's special places. Sites include parks, refuges, water trails, and historic museums and vessels that allow your students to experience first-hand Chesapeake life and culture.
Another great place to take your students for a hands-on outdoor experience is a state park. These parks are often staffed with an environmental educator or interpreter who can take your class on a nature hike or conduct a stream study. Find a state park close to your school by clicking on your state below.
Simply finding a site may be only part of creating your own field study. There is often still the question of paying for transportation and program fees. Visit the funding page to learn about programs that finance field experiences for students.
Create a Field Study on Your School Grounds
You don't always have to travel far to have a meaningful watershed educational experience with your students. Field studies can also happen on your very own school grounds. Schoolyards offer many of opportunities to teach your students about environmental issues and the Chesapeake Bay such as stormwater runoff and impervious surface. Utilizing your own school grounds as a field study site can lead to more opportunities for outdoor learning and show students how they're connected to world around them.
One great way to get your students outside and engaged is through a schoolyard habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Service's Schoolyard Habitat program helps teachers and students create wildlife habitat on school grounds. Once constructed, schoolyard habitats have a lasting impact; serving as outdoor classrooms that facilitate student action projects, and long-term monitoring.
Your local stream or river is a great place to conduct a field study with your class. Students can use nets to catch critters in the stream or water testing equipment to determine the health your local stream. Students record data in the field and then take their data sheets back to the classroom to analyze and graph. Find out other ways to incorporate stream studies into your classroom using our resources.
After you determine how to utilize your school grounds as a living classroom, you may wonder how you will pay for stream study equipment or schoolyard habitat supplies. Visit the funding page for ways to finance these experiences for your students.