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Sly Park Teachers Take Students on Virtual Outdoor Field Trips

SCOE-Produced Environmental Science Lessons Available

Teacher on hiking trail using binoculars to look into the treetops

Sly Park Teacher Todd Gillihan hikes through the Eldorado National Forest, taking students on one of several virtual field trips.

The impact of school closures in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has kept many students indoors and unable to explore nature. To help, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is bringing nature to students with a series of virtual outdoor science field trips.

SCOE operates the Sly Park Environmental Education Center, an outdoor school campus that brings almost 8,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students into the forest each year to learn about the outdoors and science in a residential school setting. At Sly Park, students normally learn about the forest ecosystem and how important conservation is for our future. Even though Sly Park is temporarily closed, teachers are providing science-based video lessons.

  • Creek Ecology—Understanding how the health of a watershed can be determined by examining the macroinvertebrates that exist in the water.
    (Also airs on Comcast Channel 15/Consolidated 21/U-Verse 14—May 2 at 9 a.m. and May 6 at 12:30 p.m.)
  • Forest Ecology—Learn to identify decomposers, understand their function, and how they contribute to the forest.
    (Also airs on Comcast Channel 15/Consolidated 21/U-Verse 14—May 2 at 9:12 a.m. and May 7 at 12:30 p.m.)
  • Survival by Design (Thermal Dynamics)—Gain an understanding of the different kinds of heat transfer, and learn what attributes aid in heat retention if you ever get stuck in the forest and need to build a shelter.
    (Also airs on Comcast Channel 15/Consolidated 21/U-Verse 14—May 2 at 9:28 a.m. and May 8 at 12:30 p.m.)

During these virtual field trips, veteran Sly Park teachers actively engage students, encouraging them to make their own observations in their own backyards.

Due to the school closures related to COVID-19, SCOE is providing a collection of resources as a public service for students, families, and school districts. The collection includes remote learning resources by subject and a growing catalog of SCOE-produced supplemental enrichment videos. New videos are being added regularly, and many are also being broadcast on cable television by SCOE’s partner, the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC).