Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
RefugeAttractsSchools for Field Trip Visits
Southwest Region, March 19, 2009
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Local schools are increasingly asking for field trips at Buenos Aires NWR, using the innovative and interactive program that the refuged launched in 2008. The field trip curriculum is designed for use at Arivaca Cienega, a rare wetland that attracts an abundance of birds and birders. Designed by a volunteer and the refuge Outdoor Recreatio Planner , the teacher's manual and trip strategy channel students among four stations along the Arivaca Cienega Trail. Each station focuses on an aspect of nature, such as mammals, birds, insects, and geology. Microscopes, nature artifacts, live insects, lizards, and hands-on activities hold student interest. The teacher's manual prepares teachers and students for their field trip, including pre-trip and post-trip activities. Refuge employees and volunteers staff the stations.

Elementary and high school trips to the refuge have been infrequent, due to distance for most schools. Word has spread about the cienega field trips, and schools are signing up. Last October, the NWR Week event centered on a visit to the cienega by Sopori School's fifth grade class. In February PPEP Technical School had their cienega visit. An inner city school from Tucson, City High School, enjoyed a similar trip in March. April 1 is the date for Sopori School's first graders, brought by the same teacher that debuted the new program last year.

These field trips take place in the refuge's riparian zone, an inspiring outdoor classroom. This program will expand in the future, bringing more students to the outdoors to learn about our natural heritage.

Contact Info: Bonnie Swarbrick, (520) 823-4251 x 108, bonnie_swarbrick@fws.gov
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