Left: CCBER Interns Mia Chamberlin and Natalie Nguyen sharing insects.
Right: So focused on finding bugs! Photos by Andy Lanes
We are excited to resume educational visits this summer after over a year of restrictions that prevented organized field trips to North Campus Open Space. Currently ongoing is a collaboration with Orfalea Family Children’s Center (OFCC) funded by UCSB’s Coastal Fund. NCOS’s proximity to OFCC makes it an ideal destination for these 2- to 5-year-olds to explore, learn, and connect with nature. For some of the students, NCOS is like their backyard. For others it is a new experience, but all are just as excited as they trek from school to the wetland. A few of the older students even remember back to 2019 when they got to plant wetland plants with CCBER staff that are still thriving on the estuary edge.
Getting a different perspective of the wetland from off trail. Photo by Malia Cashel.
Led by CCBER staff member Andy Lanes and CCBER interns Malia Cashel, Natalie Nguyen, and Mia Chamberlin, pre-k classrooms from OFCC are taking walking trips from their school to the wetland as well as doing some related in-class activities. The themed walks focus on plants, bugs, birds, and wetland ecology while the kids are getting hands-on making leaf collections, observing insects, and looking and listening for birds and other wildlife. Utilizing specimens from CCBER’s teaching collection allows them to get an up-close look at some of the animals they might find at NCOS along the way. By the end of this summer, 10 classrooms will have gone on 4 trips each for a total of 40 unique experiences. Highlights so far have been butterflies, hummingbirds, baby lizards, and even a mid-morning coyote sighting from the Venoco Bridge!
Left: This young entomologist came prepared and was teaching us about the butterfly life cycle when we got a surprise visit from a freshly emerged monarch.
Right: How else can you get this close to a California scrub jay? Photos by Andy Lanes.
This article was written by CCBER Restoration Coordinator Andy Lanes and edited and formatted for the web by Jeremiah Bender. Photographs are by Andy Lanes and Malia Cashel.