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Student Field Programs

Marine Science at MLSB

Location:  Malibu Lagoon State Beach, 23400 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Site Facilities:  Port-a-potties, currently no running water, adequate seating, mostly wheelchair accessible.  Good site for after-program picnic lunch.
Time and Season:  10 am to 12:30 pm.  Year-round including summer months.
Type:  Coastal Wetlands and Marine Science.  Aligned with California State science standards.
Learning Levels:  Appropriate for grades 1 to 12.
Fee:  Ranges from $265 to $460 depending on the number of student groups needed.

Program Rotations and Content:  (1) Microscopes – students view and identify lagoon plankton through microscopes, while learning about the energy cycle, food web and the role of FBI in the ecosystem (fungus, bacteria and insects).  (2) Fish Lab – students learn the basics of fish anatomy and the life cycles of local species such as steelhead, halibut and tidewater goby, while getting a close look at our collection of intriguing specimens.  (3) Bird Walk – learning what makes a bird a bird, students use binoculars to identify local and migratory species and observe their feeding habits, while learning interesting facts about our feathered friends.  (4) Beach Ecology – students discover fascinating marine life at the edge of the tidal pools, while considering special features of the sand and surf amid sweeping views of the mountains and bay.  (5) Water Quality – students collect a sample of lagoon water and test it for temperature, pH and salinity, discovering in the process the importance of scientific measurements and methods.

Malibu Lagoon Water Quality Data from RCD Education Programs_2006 to 2010


Native American Culture at TSP

Location:  Topanga State Park, 20829 Entrada Road, Topanga, CA 90290
Site Facilities:  Full-service bathrooms, running water, ample seating, mostly wheelchair accessible.  Excellent site for after-program picnic lunch.
Time and Season:  10 am to 12:30 pm.  September through June.
Type:  Mountain Oak Woodland and Chaparral Habitat with Native American theme.  Aligned with California State history and social science standards.
Learning Levels:  Appropriate for grades K to 8.
Fee:  Ranges from $265 to $460 depending on the number of student groups needed.

Program Rotations and Content:  (1) Chaparral Habitat Hike – students hike along mountain trails, as they learn about the flora and fauna and natural cycles of this beautiful chaparral habitat.  (2) Acorn Grinding – using stone mortar and pestle, students grind fresh acorns from the native Coast Live Oak into acorn flour, imitating one of the traditional steps in the Chumash practice of making acorn meal.  (3) Pictographs – students create their own mysterious rock art on sandpaper using hematite and glue, which they may keep and take back to school.  (4) Artifacts Lab – students compare and contrast ordinary artifacts from Chumash culture with objects of similar function from our own, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of both cultures.  (5) Song Circle – students make music with rattles and clappersticks, and learn one or two simple songs that are still sung at Native American gatherings today.  (6) Stick Dice and Story Time – students play the ancient game of stick dice, or peón with walnut shells, and hear the retelling Chumash legend.


Freshwater Ecology at SBWR

Location:  Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, Woodley Ave Park, Van Nuys, CA 91406
Site Facilities:  Full-service bathrooms, running water, ample seating, fully wheelchair accessible.  Excellent site for after-program picnic lunch.
Time and Season:  10 am to 12 pm.  October through March.
Type:  Valley Freshwater Lake Habitat.  Aligned with California State science standards.
Learning Levels:  Appropriate for grades 3 to 10.
Fee:  Ranges from $265 to $460 depending on the number of student groups needed.

Program Rotations and Content:  (1) Microscopes – students view and identify freshwater plankton, learn about the energy cycle and food web, and gain appreciation for the role of fungus, bacteria and insects in the ecosystem.  (2) Habitat Walk – after basic training in binocular use, students walk the perimeter of the lake habitat to identify local and migratory birds, and to observe their hunting and feeding habits.  Native plants and other types of fauna are also discussed as they appear along the way.  (3) Water Quality – students are introduced to the pH scale, learn the difference between acid and base, and then test the lake water to determine if it’s safe for wildlife.  At the same time, they test also for temperature, odor and turbidity.