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Field Trip Activities

Samples of activities include:
•Three Cheers for Trees (fall) – Explore the world of Michigan’s great forest resources. Learn about trees as factories and the process of photosynthesis, count annual rings or whorls, and use an increment borer to age a tree. Identify some of the 90 native tree species while you gain greater appreciation of their benefits and their obvious and not so-obvious products that we depend on and as a renewable energy resource. Key concepts: identification keys, photosynthesis, ecosystem, renewable energy resource, measurement.

•Building A Team (fall) – Willingness to be a team player is an important life skill for all ages. Outdoor group cooperative games and small group problem solving activities are used to build individual self-esteem, leadership and fellowship skills to help the team be successful. Key concepts: cooperation, communication, teamwork, group problem solving, leadership.

•Nature Detective: Tracking Winter Wildlife (winter) – Explore and discover the forest, wetland, and field ecosystems of northern Michigan in the winter. Be a nature detective and observe, identify and interpret signs of wildlife using tracks, chew marks, droppings, homes and other discoveries. Key concepts: adaptations, habitat, mammals, field guides, living and nonliving components.

•Outdoor Recreation for Physical Fitness (winter) – Learn basic skills and enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the outdoor trails. Learn the basic skills of ice fishing on Center Lake. Supervised outdoor sledding can also be an activity choice. Key concepts: safety, physical fitness, outdoor preparedness.

•Spring Wings (spring/summer) – Many species of birds are returning during the spring months from their winter migration. Enjoy an outdoor hike through hardwood forests and open fields to learn about the local species and their identifying calls, what they eat, their preferred habitat, nesting habits, physical adaptations and unique behaviors. Learn how to use binoculars, field guides and a bird life-list as simple tools for outdoor observation and data collection. Discuss reasons for the results of your observations. Key concepts: observation, identification keys, adaptations.

•Bogs, Frogs and Pollywogs (spring/summer) – Discover how wetlands are like a sponge, a baby cradle, a box of cereal, a strainer and other unique metaphors. Conduct an investigation of wildlife and plants that inhabit a wetland ecosystem (woodland swamp or marsh) through collection, observation, using simple tools and recording data. Find and identify aquatic insects at different stages of growth and other wildlife species using a dipping net, pencil, hand lens, data sheet, identification keys and field guides. Encourage questions and reasons for the results of the investigation and the effect humans and other organisms may have on the balance of a wetland ecosystem. Key concepts: habitat, water, invertebrates, identification key, metamorphosis.