2015 Field Trip Adventures

We have been fortunate to attend many wonderful field trips this year. For the first time, second grade students visited Slide Ranch!


First, we all picked nature names (some were inspired by the plants all around us!)


Then we visited the chickens and fed them treats…

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Next we made bracelets out of sheep wool…


And then we visited the sheep and goats!


We learned from experience that goats are herd animals…


Overall it was a wonderful trip! And, because we ate some sweet berries…


We were sure to brush our teeth at the end of the day with the “toothbrush plant”!


Third grade students also went on several fun field trips this year.  In the fall, we made the short trek from AFY to the San Francisco Botanical Garden.


We visited the Redwood Grove, Children’s Garden and Native Plant Garden.


In the Native Plant Garden, we learned about some of the ways the Ohlone People used California native plants.  We began by examining tule stems, noting the air channels within the stems that make them light and buoyant as well as the the waxy, water resistant outer coating.  Many students correctly guessed that the Ohlone people used tule stems to make boats.

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We then compared the tule to cattail, which has much different properties.  We learned that the thin leaves were stripped and twisted to make rope and other cordage.


Then we visited a ceanothus plant, and learned that the Ohlone people crushed the blue flowers and rubbed them in water to make soaps and shampoos.


Next, we looked at our state flower, the California Poppy. We learned that the roots of this flower contain a pain reliever, and that the Ohlone people mashed the root to apply it to aching teeth.


On the final stop in the Native Plant Garden, we learned one reason tooth aches may have been common…

_DSC0926 Acorns were the staple food for the Ohlone people, and it’s thought that grinding the acorns in a grinding stone caused small pieces of rock to be incorporated in the acorn meal, leading to cracked and decaying teeth.


After learning this, every student had the chance to grind an acorn for him or herself.


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The acorns that the students used for grinding came from an oak tree in Sacramento, CA (pictured left, below).  Many students used their sharp observation skills to find acorns that had dropped from the oak trees in the Botanical Garden (pictured right), and compared the two.  


Finally, we got to taste a piece of acorn bread!

IMG_1018 IMG_1020 IMG_1024The bread was a hit!  As was the park…


We couldn’t wait to return to the Botanical Garden in the spring! For our second trip, the Youth Stewardship Program showed us around the Stow Lake Boathouse.

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Along the way, we learned about some of the plants in the area and did a little weeding to help clean up the park.

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Looking forward to more fun field trips next year!


Thank you to the San Francisco Botanical Garden Youth Education Program for the “Native People, Native Plants” field trip guide, and to Slide Ranch and Youth Stewardship Program for the wonderful trips!

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