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School Nature Programs

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The Livermore Area Recreation and Park District provides exciting opportunities for hands-on, multidisciplinary learning both in the classroom and in the field. Programs are conducted by LARPD Park Rangers, trained in effective and engaging interpretation for all grade levels, and designed to assist teachers in meeting the California State Board of Education’s Common Core History and Social Science (CC - HSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

For more information or to schedule programs, call the LARPD Ranger Office at (925) 960-2400. Include the program(s) you are interested in, your school, grade level, number of students, and a few potential dates and times.

Programs Overview

Fun & Learning in the Field

Fees for field programs are based on class sizes of 20 - 34 students. Reduced rates may be available for smaller groups. (Offered March - November)

ProgramGradesClassRate in LARPD Service AreaOutside LARPD Area Rate
Walk in the WildK - 5th1.5 hours$205 $225
Life in the PondK - 5th1.5 hours$205$225
The Wonderful World of PlantsK - 5th1.5 hours$205$225
California Indians3rd - 5th2 hours$265$290
Ravenswood Day (class min / max applies)3rd - 4th4 hours$385$385
NEW Sycamore Sleuths3rd - 5th3 hours$330$365

Fun & Learning in the Classroom

Discounts on classroom programs are available when multiple teachers at the same school book programs for the same day!

ProgramGradesLengthRate in LARPD Service AreaOutside LARPD Area Rate
Mammalian Madness vk - 5th1 hour$95$105
California AnimalsPre-k, tk, k1 hour$95$105
Creepy Crawlersk - 5th1 hour$95$105
In the Dark v3rd - 5th1 hour$95$105
California Indians v3rd - 4th1 hour$95$105
NEW Nature Nearby: Walking Field TripK - 5th1.5 hours$150$165

Water Education

Classes are offered free of charge (thanks to a grant from the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program) for 4th and 5th-grade classes within the Tri-Valley.

Water Flows: What's a Watershed? v4th - 5th2, 1 hour in class programs and 1, 1.5 hour field tripFree
Stream Life I: What can You Learn From a Water Bug?4th - 5th2, 1 hour in class programs and 1, 1.5 hour field tripFree
Stream Life II: Scientist's Look at a Stream4th - 5th2, 1 hour in class programs and 1, 1.5 hour field tripFree

Fun and Learning in the Field

There is no better way for students to learn about nature and wildlife than to explore the great outdoors with a ranger!

A Walk in the Wild 

You don’t have to go far to have an adventure in the outdoors! Bring your class to Sycamore Grove Park for a short walk and lots of exploration and fun. Through exploration, demonstration and fun, students will learn about local wildlife and use all their senses to experience Sycamore Grove Park. This field trip may well be the one your students remember years from now.

NGSS/CC: Standards met vary based on teacher request.

Life in the Pond 

Who lives in the pond? Your students will find out on this field trip! They will learn about the great variety of aquatic creatures to be found as members of the class are transformed to illustrate the amazing adaptations used to survive. Students will then be armed with nets to capture and examine some of the critters they learned about.

NGSS Standards Met: K-LS1-1; K- ESS3.A; 1-LS1.A; 1-LS1.D; 2-LS4-1; 3-LS1-1; 3- LS4.C

California Indians 

The world of the pre-contact California Indians becomes real as students explore the park imagining how they would live without supermarkets, hardware stores, and video games. Learn about the plants and animals that provided native peoples with food, shelter and entertainment and gain insight into their traditional society and culture. Students will examine artifacts and replicas, try their hand at traditional skills and Indian games.

Common Core History and Social Science Standards met: 3.2 HSS; 4.2 HSS

The Wonderful World of Plants 

Why do plants make flowers? What are the different ways seeds can travel? Which plants are native and which have been introduced? These questions and more will be answered as students take a short hike to explore a variety of habitats. They will learn how the plants of each habitat provide food and shelter for various animals, even humans. Activities may include using tree keys and making leaf rubbings depending on the season and grade level. 

NEW! Sycamore Sleuths 

This longer form field trip is ideal for older elementary grades. In every season, there's always something to investigate at Sycamore Grove Park. Students will explore the park and learn about the larger systems and patterns at play, including ecosystems, habitats, and adaptations. A 2-hour hike will be followed by a closer examination of the smaller critters around us; from macroinvertebrates to microorganisms. 

*This program is a 2 hour hike combined with 1 hour of activities with the rangers. Depending on the time of day scheduled, we can build in a 30 minute lunch break for your staff. 

Victorian Life in Livermore at Ravenswood Historic Site 

This day of fun and learning is designed to complement your 3rd grade local history curriculum. At Ravenswood Historic Estate students will step back in time as they do household chores, play old-time games, make cider and dress-up in Victorian clothing. Students will leave Ravenswood with a greater understanding and appreciation for life in the valley during the late 1800s. Due to staffing requirements, minimum and maximum numbers of students / classes may apply. Due to high demand, payment is required before a date will be held for your school. Non-refundable except in cases of inclement weather or if we are able to re-book the date.

Common Core History and Social Science Standards met: 3.3 HSS; 4.7 HSS

Custom Programs Available! 

Rangers can customize a field trip or in-class program to complement almost anything your class is studying! Plants, mammals, birds, bugs, evolution and adaptations, astronomy, geology, local history, changing of the seasons... what ever interests your class. Costs depend on length of program, materials and amount of preparation needed. Call or email for an estimate at least a month before you would like to have the program. Let us know the grade level, number of students and what you have in mind.
NGSS/CC: Standards met vary based on teacher request.


Fun and Learning in the Classroom

Have a ranger bring the wild into your classroom! Here is an opportunity for you to meet California State Board of Education Content Standards for Science and other subjects while providing an exciting learning experience for your students. Easier to coordinate than a field trip, these programs are perfect for busy teachers. Each program is an hour long. The fee is $95 ($105 out of district) for each program. 

Mammalian Madness! 

What makes a mammal a mammal? Students will learn the characteristics of mammals as they feel furs, examine skulls, and discuss interesting animals. Children will learn about adaptations and strategies mammals have developed to help them survive in a “mammal eat mammal world.”

NGSS Standards Met: K-LS1-1; K-ESS3-1; K-2-ETS1-2 CC; 1- LS1.A

NEW! Nature Nearby: Walking Field Trip 

We are part of the natural world... so nature is never far away if you know where to look!  Walking Field Trips connect students to the environment in their own backyard, helping them develop a sense of place and become more environmentally literate.  Your class will be guided by interpretive staff during a 1 ½ hour exploration of a local park, open space area, or a green space at your school.  There’s always something amazing to see if slow down and look! 

*Interpretive staff will coordinate with teachers to choose a location, whether a green space at your school, or a nearby park or open space area that is within walking distance of the school.   

Creepy Crawlers! 

What does a snake feel like? What does a spider look like up close? People often fear what they don’t understand. By meeting and learning about some of our more common “creepy” critters your class will gain a better understanding of why these animals look and behave the way they do. Students will learn why these creatures are important so they can appreciate them safely, while giving them the respect they deserve.

NGSS Standards Met: K-LS1-1; K-ESS3-1; LS1.A

In The Dark 

Who begins their day when the sun goes down? As your students become bats, owls and other creatures of the night, they will learn about the adaptations that allow these animals to thrive in the dark. They will get up close and personal with wings, talons and taxidermied animals. Your class will learn about the huge diversity of bats and the important roles they play in our lives. You and your students will have a hoot!

NGSS Standards Met: K-LS1-1; K-ESS3-1; LS1.A

California Indians 

If your group can’t make it to the park they can still have the hands- on experience of examining artifacts and replicas with a ranger in your classroom. Your class will step back in time to learn about the traditional day-to-day life of the people that have populated the bay area for thousands of years. Demonstrations, role-play, and other activities will make your California Indians unit more meaningful and memorable.

Common Core History and Social Science Standards met: 3.2 HSS; 4.2 HSS


Fun and Learning in the Water

A water education series for 4th and 5th grades. Thanks to a grant from the Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program, the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District is able to provide this series free of charge to 4th and 5th grade classes in the tri-valley. The series is presented by LARPD rangers and consists of two in class programs (one hour each) and a field trip (1 ½ hours long) to a local creek where students will put into action what they have learned.

Download the Fun and Learning in the Water Teacher's Guide

Water Flows: What's a Watershed? 

The concept of a watershed becomes clear as students actively explore how water moves through mountains, valleys and towns, and affects the health of the people and animals that live there. After this program, students will understand how litter contributes to storm water pollution and can affect our creeks and bay. They will be able to identify potential sources of pollution in their neighborhoods and at school, and find ways to help prevent our watershed from being negatively impacted.

Standards met: 4-ESS2.CC; 5-ESS3.C

Stream Life I: What Can You Learn From a Water Bug? 

The second program in this series will build on what students have learned so far to prepare them for their field trip to a stream. They will learn about aquatic insects and other water-loving creatures and how they can be indicators of stream health. Students will discuss the aquatic food web, and see how easy it is to disrupt. They will test the pH of several liquids and brainstorm other ways to evaluate stream health. After this program, students will be ready to visit the stream as scientists.

Standards met:4-LS1.A; 5-LS2.A

Stream Life II: A Scientist's Look at a Stream 

Now that students have an understanding of ways to examine stream health, it’s time to put what they have learned into action. Students will visit a local creek, perform aquatic insect sampling, record data, measure pH, take measurements and examine the stream for signs of pollution and human influence. They will analyze their data and discuss their findings in the context of what their research indicates about the health of the local watershed.
4-ESS2-1.SEP / 4-PS3-2.SEP; 4-ESS2-2; 5-PS1.CC; 5-PS1.SEP


For more information or to schedule programs, call the LARPD Ranger Office at (925) 960-2400. Include the program(s) you are interested in, your school, grade level, number of students, and a few potential dates and times.