1. Why are schools interested in coming to our garden for field trips?
Teachers are always looking for a way to enhance their science curriculum. At the Earth-Kind® WaterWiseDemonstrationGarden we offer an outdoor, hands-on learning environment taught by gardening experts. This has proven to be a fun (& free) way to get students excited about their world as they learn to become more aware of their environment.
2. What is the experience like and how do the children generally react to coming to our garden on a field trip?
We have repeat visitors from a variety of schools – home school, public, & private. I’ll let the teachers speak for themselves in this sampling of their comments. A home school group teacher wrote, “The children absolutely loved the field trip…volunteers were so excited about what they were sharing…and that excitement was contagious.”
From an email response regarding a follow-up after a field trip last spring: “You went above and beyond to make this event such a treat…I couldn’t recommend one thing to change or do better…wonderful…the day was so great.”
This email arrived after a Kindergarten teacher toured the garden last summer with a friend: “You spent quite a bit of time with me concerning the education program…I was very impressed. We would love to bring our students there for a field trip this fall.” This same group has requested another field trip for October.
After their 3rd visit to the garden for a themed end of school field trip, the first grade teacher wrote, “Thank you so very much for a delightful and memorable visit. How can I ever thank you and your staff? The adults and children had a wonderful time. They will never forget it!”
3. What subjects are offered?
We can address all subjects from Art to Literature to Math to Science. Our curriculum is aligned with TEKs, and we use components from the Junior Master Gardener program developed by Texas A&M and taught by gardening experts, our Master Gardeners, trained by Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
For example, 2 of my favorite resources from JMG are Math in the Garden and Literature in the Garden. I’ve also used wonderful children’s literature, 7 books from which lessons were created by Literature in the Garden and trade books such as There’s a Hair in my Dirt by Gary Larson and Worms Eat my Garbage by Jean Apfelt when working vermi-culture with older students.
Our usual program consists of Raised beds with vegetable & herb gardening, Composting, Vermi-composting (w/ red wiggler worms), & City Chickens. We also offer w/ advance notice classes in Plant identification, Attracting Wildlife to the garden (Wildlife habitats), Water conservation issues such as Rainwater harvesting, Rain barrels, Rain garden & storm water abatement techniques, & Drip irrigation. An orchard is currently in the development stage, & we have a wonderful wild blackberry patch adjacent to it. Teachers can request age-appropriate classes tailored to their specific units of study, or we can create a themed-unit
4. How long do the field trips last?
We usually offer classes Tuesday &/or Thursday mornings. They last approximately 2 hours, anywhere between 9 am – 11 am, 9:30 am. – 11:30 am, 10:00 am – noon. Depending upon the size of the group visiting, we usually divide into 4 smaller groups and rotate through 4 activity stations in 20 minute increments. That way everyone gets a chance to complete the activities & have more personal attention than they would get in one large group. It is also a more efficient use of everyone’s time.
Think outside the classroom. Think, outside, in the garden. Come visit us. We’ll leave the garden gate open for you.
“To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” Gandhi
More Information about our free field trips here: Demonstration Garden Field Trips