Eco-Explorers is a free field trip program designed for fifth grade students in Delaware. Participants visit the Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC), where they experience and explore connections between plants and animals within a tidal salt marsh ecosystem.
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Aquatic Resources Education Center now offers a virtual version of the Eco-Explorers field trip program that school groups can use until it becomes possible to resume traditional, in-person field trips.
Aquatic Resources Education Center
Content and activities are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and linked to the Delaware Ecosystems science unit endorsed by the Delaware Department of Education.
The Eco-Explorers field trip program uses an eco-station approach in which teams of approximately 10 students rotate through a series of outdoor activities, investigating various components and connections in a salt marsh ecosystem. These include investigations of water chemistry, food webs, plant and animal adaptations, and other ecological topics. All activities are hands-on and similar to those that real scientists perform when studying ecosystems.
Field trips can accommodate two classes (up to 60 students) at a time. Each field trip lasts approximately three and a half hours, including a lunch break. There is no charge for a field trip, aside from the transportation costs of getting students to and from the center.
There are two sets of field trips each school year. The fall season runs from mid-September through mid-November. The spring season starts in late March and continues until the end of May. Field trip applications with available dates are provided several months prior to each field trip season. Interested teachers can obtain an application by sending an email to Mary Rivera.
Science teachers who participate in the Eco-Explorers Program are invited to a teacher workshop, where they receive introductory information and resource materials for wetlands education and enrichment to use in the classroom prior to their field trip to the Aquatic Resources Education Center in Smyrna.
Volunteers with the Eco-Explorers Program teach small groups of students about the wonders of the tidal salt marsh ecosystem and guide students as they learn about fish, macro-invertebrates, plants, and water quality. This is a great opportunity to work outdoors in a beautiful salt marsh. Volunteer schedules are flexible. Training is provided.
For more information, contact Mary Rivera at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-735-8666.