You’ve registered for your field trip, WOOHOO! No, what are you going to do?! It’s time to think about preparing your students, chaperones, and yourself for the trip ahead.
What to Wear
TRK’s motto is “clean rivers, DIRTY KIDS” after all. Everyone participating in these field trips needs to be dressed for the Oregon weather—our programs run rain or shine. In the event of severe weather on the tour day (a tornado watch, unusually heavy rain, a severe thunderstorm, ice storm or snow), we may have to reschedule. Otherwise your tour will still take place. Please ask students to be prepared for the weather. Remember dirt + rain = mud.
If possible, a combination of some of the following will make the field trip enjoyable for students and adults alike:
- Sturdy, water-resistant closed-toe shoes (NO OPEN TOED SHOES)
- Rain boots
- Long pants
- A warm water-resistant coat or a sweater with a raincoat
- Layers of clothing for added warmth
- Water bottle
- Hand sanitizer (teachers may want to carry this with them)
- First Aid kit
- Medications (for students with allergies or asthma)
We closely monitor weather during all tours. In the rare event of severe weather approaching during a tour, we will stop the field trip early and quickly and safely get the students back to the buses. If this happens, and the school has spent less than 60-minutes on the field trip, the class will be given credit for a future field trip of equivalent size at no charge. If severe weather is forecast, please call the TRK office at 503-218-2580 the day before to discuss the situation.
Before arriving on site for your field trip, your students should already be divided into groups. The number of groups may vary and the Education Coordinator will clarify this before your visit. Generally speaking, your students will be divided into 4 groups: Crawdad, Beaver, Cougar, and Owl. Please make sure your chaperones know who is in their group. If at all possible, make sure each student is wearing a nametag with both their name and their group. Please be sure this is visible!
Part of having a successful field trip is the configuration of student groups. Please group students in a way that will help all students be success and have fun. If you have concerns about specific student’s ability to participate in the field trip, please don’t hesitate to contact the Environmental Educator prior to your trip to better help us accommodate your student and their learning.
There should be at least one adult chaperone per group, but having two is preferable. Groups in need of extra support may have additional chaperones assigned as necessary. We will email information describing the role of a chaperone for you to distribute before your trip, or you can click the link to access that information now.
Volunteer Naturalists will be equipped with basic first aid supplies to distribute to students and chaperones as needed. Adult volunteers and students are responsible for taking care of minor medical issues. If you have students with relevant medical issues (severe allergies, seizure disorders, mobility differences, etc.) please let the Education Coordinator know before you arrive so we can help to ensure their health and safety throughout the day.
Two restrooms are available in the Education Center. There is also a portable restroom available in the old baseball field. Ask students to use restrooms before getting on the bus and if there is a need as soon as they unload from the bus, although, of course, let those in urgent need use the portable restroom in the baseball field. There are no restrooms along the trails.
Lunch and Snacks
Lunch, if it happens on site, is often scheduled after students would normally eat at school. If your students are hungry it may be wise to either have a quick snack in class before hand or plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early so students can eat before the field trip. For K-2 classes, if you have more you need to have another snack you can have the lead chaperone carry a large Ziplock bag of either graham crackers or Goldfish so there is no trash left on the trails. Please not that handing out and consuming snacks during the program can be distracting to the students’ ability to learn successfully. If you have questions or concerns about this policy, feel free to contact the Environmental Educator.
If you will be joining us for lunch there are 3 picnic tables available on site, but when the weather is nice, the grass is also a nice place to sit and eat. There is a fridge at Dirksen if you need to store your students’ lunches during the program.
Where Are You Going?
Now that you’ve prepped your class, you need to get to site.
Dirksen Nature Park
Dirksen Nature Park is a beautiful park that can be somewhat difficult to find. Please click on the following links to download directions to Dirksen and a map of the park. These documents will also be emailed to you in your Field Trip Packet approximately 2 weeks before your trip.
Starting on Time
Be prepared to unload students from buses immediately when you arrive. Some schools lose as much as 15 or 20 minutes of tour time because they are not ready to unload students upon arrival. Please conduct all headcounts at school as you depart or while on your way to the center. As soon as you arrive and park, immediately begin unloading students from the buses and leading them towards the Weeping Willow Tree. As soon as all of the students are near the Willow, make sure that they get into their groups with their chaperones so they can begin the nature walk.
Unfortunately, we are not able to extend your program times if you are running late. Please allow yourself up to 15 minutes of extra time to deal with traffic and hiccups at school.
We will begin each field trip at the Weeping Willow Tree, located in the front of the parking lot. If you arrive early, please feel free to gather in that space until your scheduled start-time, otherwise the Environmental Educator will meet you in the parking lot to welcome your class and give some instructions before you unload.