Monday, May 24, 2010

Chip’s First Field Trip – Lunchables “Field Trips for All”

Lunchables Today was Chip’s first field trip.  More on that in a bit.  Field trips are some of my favorite memories from childhood.  I recall the scenarios vividly: the teacher would talk about the upcoming field trip, you needed your permission slip signed by your parents, that day you would need a “partner” for the trip for lining up and sitting on the bus, a packed lunch with a drink and maybe some money for a souvenir.  Oh, yay!  My first breaths of busting out of a routine and a little taste of independence.  Getting the chance to see something new.  How I love field trips.  When my friends at Lunchables contacted me about their new campaign, “Field Trips for All”, I was interested in hearing all about it.  Here is a sad statistic: According to a 2009 report from The American Association of School Administrators, it’s estimated that over the course of the current school year, the number of school districts eliminating field trips will increase by 56%. That’s more than 30,000 schools.  Lunchables lunch combinations wants to help deserving kids all over the country go on inspiring educational experiences to help empower kids to realize their full potential.

To help spread the word about the field trip campaign, Lunchables offered to sponsor a local field trip for my family to go on with another family.  But, I had a different idea: How about sponsoring a field trip for several of Chip’s friends?  Lunchables loved the idea and so I was off creating a plan!  Let me stop here for a moment and say that I, Elizabeth, love opportunities like this when big companies step in locally and see how they can make a difference in the community.  If more big companies reached out to the parent groups at schools and found out what needed to be funded, that could be a great way to solve some of our budget problems and keep government out of it.  But anyway, I digress.  So, I remembered I had met “The Animal Guys” from The Wildlife Learning Center at an event about a year ago.  The guys had some native California snakes and I though I remembered a Bobcat.WLC-logo   So I put a call into Paul, one of the “guys”.  Paul said he’d be happy to get onboard with the Lunchables “Field Trips for All” program and give us a deal that would cover his costs only and allow me to invite a lot more of Chip's friends to participate!  The Wildlife Learning Center provides outreach and onsite education in wildlife biology.  The Center is located in Lake View Terrace, CA (Northern Los Angeles) nestled in an old olive grove where more than 70 different species of rescued and zoo-born wild animals call this shady, natural environment home.  With support from the Wildlife Learning Foundation, the Center reaches out to Los Angeles area communities to teach California State Science Standards for the natural sciences through the use of rescued and zoo-born wild animals.  The Wildlife Learning Center works to educate youth of all socioeconomic levels about the wildlife we share the planet with.  If you are in the Los Angeles area you can visit their facility or have them come to your school.  They even have a summer camp program.

The Fieldtrip
This morning, once Lulu’s babysitter arrived, I headed over to the appointed meeting area and met up with Christine our “Animal Gal” from The Wildlife Learning Center.  I already knew from my knowledge of the center that all their classes are taught by friendly and knowledgeable teachers, each of whom has a Bachelor’s degree in biology and is trained to teach the California State Science Standards for the life sciences utilizing wildlife as living visual aids.  Christine was getting set up and one of Chip's Nursery School directors had volunteered to help and was setting up the area for the kids to sit.  I quickly chugged down the rest of my coffee in my commuter cup and got the camera, courtesy of Lunchables, ready to take some pictures.  The kids started filing in and taking their spots in front of the presentation area.  They had all been prepped a bit that they would be meeting some animals so there was some preschooler buzz in the audience.  Then Christine stepped up and led us all on a magical lesson with some typical Southern California animals.  She started by saying we might very well find these animals in our own yards!  We met a porcupine, walking stick, red fox, gray fox, gopher snake, king snake and a prairie dog.  My favorite was the porcupine, it was so cute.  I also love foxes.  We learned that there is a big difference between the red and gray fox, the gray one can climb trees while the red one spends its time on the ground.  The king snake is a good snake to know about as well because it is totally harmless to humans but they kill rattlesnakes and keep the rodent population down.  Surfer Guy just told me tonight he has seen king snakes in the canyon near Chip’s nursery school.  Any of the kids who wanted to was allowed to touch the king snake and almost all of the kids did.  Then we were off for the actual “Field Trip Portion” of the event.  The kids headed out into the canyon to look for the animals they just saw in the presentation.

What a fun day!  I’d like to thank Lunchables for sponsoring the field trip for Chip and his pals today and “The Animal Guys” from The Wildlife Learning Center for giving us such a fabulous presentation.  It was so great to hear the little preschoolers chatting about the animals even after the presentation was over.  I heard one little kid say to another little kid, “Do you see a red fox?  Do you see a gray fox?”  I love field trips. We sure had an inspiring, educational experience today.  Do you know a classroom that could use one too?

Through June 1, 2010, to nominate a deserving classroom, go to Lunchables and submit a nomination. From all nominations received, 50 deserving classrooms will be selected to go on an inspiring, educational experience.

1 comment:

Rockin' Mama said... fun was that?!?! We're doing Sea World over the weekend for our field trip... : )