Explore our Current Field Trip Programs (Pre-K to Grade 12)

Listed alphabetically. Year-round unless otherwise noted. 

Balancing Act

Students examine real predator-prey relationships in the local, natural world by observing how food webs work. We will play games and host activities that explore the interrelationships among plants, animals, and their environment. Recommended for Grades 3-8.

Exploring Ecosystems

This program introduces students to a variety of ecosystems at the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Students will learn about animal adaptations, forest layers, pond life, and much more through a variety of games and hands-on activities. Choose three diverse ecosystems out of the four: Field, forest pond, or ridge. Recommended for Grades 1-8.

Freshwater Ecology

Students will learn about the ecology of ponds, streams, and vernal pools. They will also have the opportunity to use nets and other collecting tools. We’ll sample for macroinvertebrates, amphibians, and other species while investigating the physical and chemical properties of these important habitats. Recommended for Grades 6-12 (Late March – Early October).

Geology Rocks

Explore the geologic history of Aquidneck Island as we take a challenging hike along the beautiful Sachuest ridges. This interactive program discusses the rock cycle, glaciation, erosion, and soil formation. Recommended for Grades 3-12.

Go Wild for Herptiles

Your students will go wild for reptiles and amphibians, a group collectively known as “herptiles”. Discover how these creatures live by inspecting biofacts and learning about herptile adaptations. This class also features hands-on activities and a hike out to visit the habitats where wild herptiles may be found. Recommended for Grades 3-8 (Late March – Early October).

Into the Woods

Study Rhode Island’s forests from the soil to the canopy in this interactive field program. Students will study invasive and native plant species, learn about forest health, and use dichotomous keys to identify forest floor invertebrates. Recommended for Grades 3-8.

Nature Discovery Walk

Take part in a hands-on discovery of the Norman Bird Sanctuary trails and habitats. An educator will lead interpretive activities along the way. Animal signs, seasonal changes in plants, and other stories of the landscape will be highlighted. You never know what we might find en route! Recommended for all ages.

Oceans and Tides: Where Sea Creatures Reside

In this marine science program, students can expect to explore our Coastal Education Center at Third Beach; waterproof gear is recommended but not required. This field trip involves catching marine life, lessons in oceanography and learning about the ecosystems that form on the edge of our ocean! Recommended for all ages (May-June AND September-October). 

Rotten to the Core

Join us as we venture into the forest in search of nature’s garbage collectors – decomposers! We’ll investigate fungi, lichens, insects, and other organisms through hands-on activities with compost, biofacts, and decomposer experiments. Recommended for Grades 1-5.

Salt Marsh Sparrow Adventure

Learn about sea level rise, Salt Marsh Sparrow biology and salt marsh ecosystems. This excursion takes place in and around our Coastal Education Center down at Third Beach, where we can look for this threatened bird and enjoy the beach. Learn about how a Salt Marsh Sparrow builds its specially designed nest and why it is threatened by climate change with educational activities! Recommended for all ages (May-June).

The Pond and Beyond

Dive into pond and stream ecology as we splash around in search of macroinvertebrates, amphibians, fish, aquatic plants, and more! Students will use dip nests, magnifying glasses, and sorting charts to investigate the living things that we find. Recommended for Grades 1-5 (Late March – Early October).

What’s Bugging You?

An introduction to insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. Students will look under logs and explore a variety of field habitats in search of these spineless species. We’ll discover how invertebrates are adapted to function and survive in local environments. Recommended for Grades Pre-K-5 (Late March – Early October). 

What’s Growing in the Garden

Students will explore our unique gardens using a variety of senses – smell, touch & taste – in this introductory lesson to gardening! Students can expect to get their hands dirty as we explore what plants need to survive, ideas of growing our own food, and the importance of pollinators. Recommended for all ages (May-June AND September-October).

What in the World is a Watershed?

This program introduces the idea that watershed systems are all around us, and what we put into the water really matters! Students will go out and trace part of the local watershed on foot and then build their own mini-watershed models. Recommended for Grades 3-8 (Mid-June – Early October). 

Which Niche?

Explore how each living and non-living element, or niche, plays a valuable role in maintaining an ecosystem’s balance. Together, we’ll investigate how interactions between producers, consumers, and decomposers make up a food chain … it’s eat or be eaten! For this program, students will learn all about predator and prey relationships in the wild with an NBS animal ambassador, the Red-tailed Hawk. Recommended for all ages.