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Register for 2023–24 American River STEM Field Trips

Outdoor Education Program Offers Activities for 4th–7th Grade Classes

River Bend Outdoor Environmental Education Program

Lakes, streams, and rivers play a crucial role in the Sacramento area, and it’s important for students to learn what makes Sacramento “The River City.” Local waterways are critical to everything from supporting wildlife and agriculture to providing recreation opportunities, drinking water, and flood protection.

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) gives 4th–7th-grade classes an exciting opportunity for outdoor education field trips along the American River through its River Bend Outdoor Environmental Education Program. The program offers engaging, half-day lessons focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Hands-on lessons are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the California Environmental Principles and Concepts.

SCOE’s K–12 Curriculum and Instruction department has operated the outdoor education program since 2015, helping teachers advance environmental literacy. The program is offered in partnership with the American River Parkway Foundation (ARPF), which manages the 10-acre River Bend Outdoor Educational Site along the south bank of the American River in Rancho Cordova. The County of Sacramento owns the property.

“It’s so rewarding to see students explore the River Bend site and experience the hands-on lessons,” said SCOE Science Curriculum Specialist Amy Kraft. “We restarted in-person field trips last year as COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed, and we hope even more classes can enjoy the site this year.”

2023–24 Program Details

This school year, SCOE is offering field trips from September through May. Trips run from 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m., rain or shine. (Rain slickers are provided on wet days.) Visits cost $600 per camp for up to 66 students, which includes instruction, materials, bottled water, and snacks for each student.

Students are encouraged to bring lunches to eat in the beautiful outdoor setting at the conclusion of the program. Schools must provide chaperones and transportation.

Thanks to ongoing fundraising by the American River Parkway Association, fees can be waived for Title I schools and in other special circumstances. This helps ensure that all students can participate.

Field Trip Activities

Depending on seasonal considerations and teacher needs, expert instructors discuss the history of the American River Parkway, human impact on the area, engineering design, and open grassland environments.


Space is limited, so submit field trip requests soon. For questions or additional details, please call (916) 228-2275.

Students in amphitheater listening to instructor
Covered picnic tables
American River
Students learning science lessons