Field Trip: Ojai Meadows Preserve

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This week, Room 8 went on a fantastic field trip to the Ojai Meadows Preserve as part of the Once Upon a Watershed program that the school is participating in this year. I have to admit, I wasn’t certain what to expect, but the outcome was a complete success.

Ojai Meadow Preserve--Beautiful and Fun!

Ojai Meadow Preserve–Beautiful and Fun!

The entire class met up at the with our two tour guides, Heather and CJ, for a brief powwow before splitting up. My group went left with Heather while the other group went right with CJ. We headed immediately for the “Owl Trees,” where the students experienced the Seventh Heaven of searching for owl pellets. And even better–the small rodent bones they found!

Looking for Owl Pellets

Looking for Owl Pellets

Next up was planting acorns. An important part of our field trip was learning about the restoration of the Meadows. The Ojai Land Conservancy has been busy returning the meadow to its natural state, through the use of native plants, re-digging a culvert and educating the public about the land. Hence the acorns! Each of us got to plant two and many of the students are excited about checking on their possible Live Oaks in 2-4 (and 30!) years.

Planting Acorns

Planting Live Oaks

There was also plenty of time for exploration and observation:

Exploring Nature

A few highlights:

  • Heather invited the students to make their own herbal smelling “teas” using the plants surrounding the culvert that led to the vernal pond. Students gathered plenty of their bits and put them in cups to share with the rest of the group. They also named their concoctions. The only disappointment here was that they didn’t get to take the cups home!
  • We learned about a plant, which is not only edible, but helps to relieve the pain of bee stings. Heather taught us to recognize it by counting the number of veins that run vertically along the leaves. I’m not sure my students needed another plant they felt comfortable stuffing into their mouths, but oh, well.
  • We each spent a few minutes getting to know a Tree Friend. At the end, we parted by sharing a hug.

The owl pellets were and extremely popular part of the field trip, but nothing–nothing–could compare with the next part. To finish things off, Heather led us up into an oak forest and started turning logs over. Hel-lo creepy crawlies! This is when the field trip really reached its peak. Among the wildlife spotted:

  • Salamanders
  • Stink beetles
  • Hibernating Blue-bellied lizards
  • Centipedes
  • Millipedes
  • Termites

Looking for Creepy Crawlies

My students could not have imagined a better field trip. Except, maybe, if the logs had been bigger. Or the bugs. Yeah, if the bugs had been bigger, they would have liked that a whole lot…

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