Friday, May 15, 2015

The School Trips Have Begun...

The last three weeks of May were some of our busiest last year, as area schools schedule field trips during that period of time. We got a little burned out last year as some schools show up with huge groups (like 150 2nd graders) and no matter how you divide them up that is just too many.

We worked with our Ranger (Errin) last year to draw up guidelines for more manageable group sizes, and we'll see how that works this year.

We had our first school group of this year on Thursday. There were 75 second-graders and things went better than any of the trips last year. They divided into two smaller groups, and the teachers handled one group with activities while we led the other on a nature hike.

Starting the Hike
Our hike is about a mile long, and follows a trail that runs along the edge of the lake. We cover topics like the trees in the park, the lake itself, some park history, and animals that live in the forest. With second graders we don't get into much detail on any of this, but they are very enthusiastic to share all they know about everything!!
Talking About Trees
One neat prop that we have this year is a thin section of an 85-year old pine tree. We use it to talk about tree rings, factors that affect growth, etc. But an odd thing happened. After our first hike we left the section next to the trail to be used on the second hike. But someone came across it and moved it up to the parking lot. we think with the idea of taking it home. We found it in this different spot at the beginning of the second hike. I thought Teri had moved it, and she had no idea what had happened. It wasn't until after the hike that we compared notes and figured out what had happened.

We have six school group coming in the next two weeks, and our "normal" interpretive programs will start next Friday as well. So we hope to get to the end of May with our sanity intact and then transition into our regular routine.



  1. I can't imagine keeping the attention of 75 second graders for an hour... even half that many seems like a lot. The last school group we had in Louisiana (kindergartners) had an adult for every kid (maybe a few had 2 kids) and even that group of 18 kids was hard to keep focused. Of course the good thing is that you know you only have a couple weeks of those field trips and school's out. Good Luck!

  2. Definitely hard to handle those numbers if there are only a couple of you to do it.

  3. Sounds like you have your hands full. But knowing you, you can handle it.

  4. Large group but I know you guys keep them engaged! How many little Nate's have you found? LOL!