Field Trips: The Bluffs as an Outdoor Classroom
This section of our website, a work in progress directed toward teachers and parents interested in the potential of the Carpinteria Bluffs as a natural, outdoor classroom, is available for both formal and informal school field trips.
For further information, please contact us through the home page of this website (carpinteriabluffs.org).
Here’s what several local Carpinteria Schools did at the Carpinteria Bluffs for Earth Day 2006 with a formal field trip sponsored by Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs and coordinated by Katie Roberts.
Students arrive from Canalino, Aliso, and Carpinteria Family schools.
Students learn from Ted Rhodes a little about the oil spill of 1969, the origins of Earth Day, and the history of the grassroots roots effort by the community, including numerous teachers and school children, to save the Carpinteria Bluffs as natural coastal open space.
Then, the students, teachers, and parents break into smaller groups of 10-15 and spread out across the preserve to focus on specific subjects.
Students use binoculars to bird watch at the Bluffs.
John & Linda Callender give a brief lesson on bird watching and how to identify some of the common birds they might spot at the Carpinteria Bluffs, including the White-tailed Kite.
Bob Hansen coaches two students on how to properly adjust their binoculars.
Andrea Adams Morden leads a hands-on workshop on Wildflowers at the Bluffs and Poppy Pressing at the confluence of the Dorothy C. Campbell Trail and the Artists’ Passage.
Students learn more about the California Poppy, our State Flower.
Andrea helps students dissect a flower.
Across from Andrea’s Wildflower station, students learn about the Chumash people that once lived here in abundance.
David Griggs from the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History talks about Chumash crafts and culture.
Students get a feel for grinding acorns.
Phyllis Fenger, a docent for both the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History and the Carpinteria Salt Marsh, talks about the Chumash uses of native plants for healing and other purposes.
Susan Allen reads a story about a harbor seal pup.
Sally Eagle quizzes students about the purpose of blubber.
State Park Interpreter Marie Lindsey gets a volunteer to dress up like a harbor seal…
…and as a California seal lion.
Plein Air artist Whitney Abbott leads a sketching & watercolor workshop along the Artists’ Passage at the Bluffs.
Whitney gives a few tips on sketching and painting with watercolors before the students head out.
One student chooses Plein Air painter Arturo Tello to be her subject. Arturo later encourages her and several other budding young artists to keep at it, to follow their passions for painting. Someday, they might even end up being professional artists like Arturo or Whitney.
Another student finds his inspiration on the ground at Mishopshno Meadow, the area just to the north of the Artists’ Passage that is named for the early local Chumash settlement, long before there was a Carpinteria.
Still other students look across the railroad tracks toward the bluff edge, the ocean beyond, and the Channel Islands in the distance to find their inspiration.
Alas, there is too much to do at the Carpinteria Bluffs and not enough time. The students hurriedly finish their activities…
…and head back along the various trails toward the parking lot, realizing there were more things to learn and do at the Bluffs than they had imagined. Several of them already are planning their next return visit to this special place. Maybe they will bring along their parents the next time–or a sister or brother!
Other subjects (workshops) teachers and parents might consider for their field trips could include:
A visit to the nearby harbor seal rookery:
(separate access via Dump Road)
A short walk down to the ocean at low tide
to some amazing tide pools where one can
study marine life in the inter-tidal zones:
Exploration and just plain old fun:
What to bring on your field trip:
– Sun protection (sunscreen & hat)
– A sketch pad (pencils, pens, watercolors, etc.)
– A magnifying glass
– A compass (to learn about mapping)
– A sweatshirt or jacket
– A bag lunch
– Your imagination & a sense of wonder
Plan to stay all day.
Familiarize yourself with some of the basic Flora & Fauna of the Carpinteria Bluffs.
Print copies of a Bluffs educational “I Spy” styled scavenger hunt created by local teacher Jan Silk to help your students explore, in a fun way, the plants and wildlife of the Carpinteria Bluffs.