Seaside, CA, United States
Living and teaching on Fort Ord National Monument means nature is at our fingertips. From bobcats and foxes to turkeys and hawks flying above, we get a front row seat to see our natural environment playing out right before our eyes.
Every spring, I take my fourth grade class on a field trip to the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. According to the Point Lobos Foundation, the Reserve has long been considered the “crown jewel” of the California State Park system due to its breathtaking beauty and fascinating wildlife. Given its location along the coast, I explicitly build in lessons about the marine ecosystem into the trip. Parts of those lessons include the observation and documentation of the birds they see in the area. The students get so excited when they spot Brandt’s Cormorants as we are hiking. We have even seen nests, but have never been able to get a close enough look to see what’s inside. Finding quail running across the path is a special delight for fourth grade students learning about California, being that it is our native bird. Gulls, pelicans, Scrub Jays, occasional Turkey Vultures, and Red-tailed Hawks are also highlights of this trip. Using a field journal, we track how many of each animal we see and discuss its behavior.