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Through hands-on activities and outdoor exploration, students will observe and identify adaptations of common animals and identify how local wildlife use physical characteristics and behaviors to meet some of their needs.

Students will explore the concept of adaptation through analogy; examine animal specimens, play an adaptation game, and look for adaptations in a schoolyard exploration or sanctuary trail walk.

 

Also available and recommended: schedule a classroom visit before your field trip. A naturalist will introduce the concept of adaptation through hands-on animal specimens and then guide students as they explore adaptations through the creation of "hybrid animals."

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

2, 3, 4

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

2-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how plant/animals depend on surroundings
2-LS4-1 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - observe/compare living things diff. env.
3-LS3-1 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - plant/animal inhereted traits evidence
3-LS4-2 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - individual variation relates to survival
4-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal/plant, internal/external structures

The program will combine biology and technology to empower students to think of how to create a more sustainable human world.

Using a wide variety of local specimens, Mass Audubon educators will introduce students to local, native plants and animals through hands-on observation and investigation. Students may, for example, examine tent caterpillar egg cases on cherry twigs; scales on the wings of our native giant silk moths;  the movement of a coyote's lower jaw bone; or the reaction of a pine cone to moisture. Students will see, up close, the biological strategies their local plants and animals use to survive.

Students will then transition from learning about the natural world to learning from the natural world. Biomimicry, the emerging discipline of emulating nature’s best ideas to solve human problems, turns biological strategies into design principles. Famous examples include Velcro inspired by burdock burrs, solar cells inspired by plant leaves, and self-cleaning exterior paint inspired by the lotus flower plant. After a short power point presentation on biomimicry, students will pick a human problem and brainstorm ways their nature object may provide solutions.

Rather than doom and gloom, this positive approach connects students to their local nature, teaches them how nature solves problems, and then empowers young people to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

6, 7, 8

Price:

  • At Sanctuary $4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Students will learn how birds are adapted to survive in their habitat through learning exercises, pictures, models and observing birds in the wild.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

3, 4, 5

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

3-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - life cycles
3-LS3-1 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - plant/animal inhereted traits evidence
3-LS3-2 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - inhereted/env. influnced characteristics
3-LS4-2 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - individual variation relates to survival
3-LS4-3 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - env. constraints on organisms survival
3-LS4-4 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - changes in habitat affect reproduction
3-LS4-5 (MA) - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - pop. survival depends on reproduction
4-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal/plant, internal/external structures
5-LS2-1 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - movement of matter through food web

Students will learn how birds meet their basic needs in order to survive through learning exercises, pictures, models and observing them in the wild.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

Pre K, K, 1, 2

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

PreK-ESS2-1 (MA) - Earth's Systems - how different local env. provide homes
PreK-LS2-2 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how familiar plant/animals meet needs
PreK-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - local plants/animals interdependence
K-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - where animals and plants get food
K-LS1-2 (MA) - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - plants/animals, grow/change over time
1-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - function of plant/animal body parts
1-LS1-2 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal behavior effects survival
1-LS3-1 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - sim./diff. among indiv. plant/animal
2-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how plant/animals depend on surroundings
2-LS4-1 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - observe/compare living things diff. env.

Students will learn to measure a tree, calculate how much carbon it holds, and then calculate the carbon storage capacity of Wachusett Meadow's forests or schoolyard trees. Students will determine how many sanctuary or schoolyard trees are needed to offset their carbon footprint, as well as national and international footprints. If time, students can discuss the pros and cons of formal carbon offset programs. This program is very hands-on and involves problem-solving, the acquisition of some real-world forestry skills, a bit of tree identification, and lots of math calculations.

2.5 to 3 hours is the ideal length of time for this program. This program pairs well with the Climate Change Hike program.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

8, 9, 10, 11

Price:

  • At sanctuary $4 per student per hour. This program may be done at your site if there is an outdoor space. At school $4.50 per student per hour. Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes. Adult teachers and chaperones are free.

Curriculum Frameworks:

8-MS-ESS3-5 - Earth and Human Activity - human activities and global temperatures
HS-ESS2-4 - Earth's Systems - energy flow over time influences climate
HS-ESS2-6 - Earth's Systems - carbon cycle
HS-LS2-5 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - carbon cycle
HS-LS2-7 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - human activities affect on ecosystems

Guided by a Teacher-Naturalist, students will visit key areas on the sanctuary that are being, or will be, affected by climate change.  Examples include: the invasion of southern butterflies in our meadows, the decline in moose numbers, the loss of cool hemlock groves, the spread of invasive plants and more. This walk will take a hard look at the effects of climate change, but the message will not be doom and gloom. Students will also experience the positive steps the sanctuary is taking to reduce its carbon emissions and the ways we strive to monitor and mitigate stressors on our wildlife.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

8, 9, 10

Price:

  • At sanctuary $4 per student per hour.
    This program may be done at your site if there is an outdoor space.
    At school $4.50 per student per hour.
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes.
    Adult teachers and chaperones are free.

Curriculum Frameworks:

8-MS-ESS3-5 - Earth and Human Activity - human activities and global temperatures
HS-ESS3-5 - Earth and Human Activity - global or regional climate change
HS-LS2-7 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - human activities affect on ecosystems

In this hands-on, high-interest program, students will scoop and examine the many small creatures that live in a wetland habitat. Through close observation, students will explore how these creatures move, breathe, find food, and defend themselves, as well as how this watery habitat provides for an animal's needs.

Program may be done at your site if there is an accessible pond.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

1, 2

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/guided hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

1-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - function of plant/animal body parts
1-LS3-1 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - sim./diff. among indiv. plant/animal
2-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how plant/animals depend on surroundings

Students will get to know a wetland habitat in this hands-on, high-interest program. Using nets and bug boxes, students will conduct an in-depth survey of the pond with a focus on populations and species identification. While classifying the animals that live in the pond students will investigate the adaptations needed for survival in this watery habitat.

Third graders will focus on the unique and diverse life cycles of the pond creatures they identify.

Fourth graders will focus on the internal and external structures that allow animals and plants to survive in the wetland habitat.

Fifth graders will focus on the movement of matter among producers, consumers, and decomposers in a wetland habitat.

Additional foci, such as comparing species composition in different wetland habitats or determining water quality based on species composition, are available upon request.

Program may be done at your site if there is an accessible pond.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

3, 4, 5

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/guided hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

3-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - life cycles
4-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal/plant, internal/external structures
5-LS2-1 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - movement of matter through food web

Wachusett Meadow has an active Ecological Management plan that is critical to our ability to maintain and enhance natural communities, inventory biological diversity, and evaluate changes over time. 

In this real-world, hands-on program you will work alongside a sanctuary staff member to observe, record, and manage for certain species. In the process you will learn about the plants and animals of the sanctuary, use the tools of science, and weigh management choices and conflicts. 

All classes will be outdoors (except in extreme weather) and will require physical activity. Some classes may require respectful handling of sanctuary creatures.

This class is designed for single classes, science clubs, and smaller groups. 15 students is ideal for this program; 30 students is the maximum number. 2 hours is the ideal time for this program, but shorter or longer programs are possible.

Teachers and groups may request topics from the seasonal list below, or call to discuss program possibilities:

Amphibian Migration & Vernal Pools – Apr/May
Nest Box Monitoring (eastern bluebirds and tree swallows) – May /June
Terrestrial Amphibian Monitoring – May/June or Sept/Oct
Grassland Birds/Bobolink Monitoring – late May/June
Monarch Tagging – Sept
Beavers -- Sept thru Nov
Habitat Management/Invasive Species – year-round
Birding by Ear – June/July
Reptiles and/or Snakes – May/June, early July, early fall
Fungi – spring and fall
Mammal Tracking - winter

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton

Grades:

6, 7, 8

Price:

  • $4/student/guided hour on sanctuary; adults chaperones free

Wachusett Meadow has an active Ecological Management plan that is critical to our ability to maintain and enhance natural communities, inventory biological diversity, and evaluate changes over time. 

In this real-world, hands-on program you will work alongside a sanctuary staff member to observe, record, and manage for certain species. In the process you will learn about the plants and animals of the sanctuary, use the tools of science, and weigh management choices and conflicts. 

All classes will be outdoors (except in extreme weather) and will require physical activity. Some classes may require respectful handling of sanctuary creatures.

This class is designed for single classes, science clubs, and smaller groups. 15 students is ideal for this program; 30 students is the maximum number. 2 hours is the ideal time for this program, but shorter or longer programs are possible.

Teachers and groups may request topics from the seasonal list below, or call to discuss program possibilities:

Amphibian Migration & Vernal Pools – Apr/May
Nest Box Monitoring (eastern bluebirds and tree swallows) – May /June
Terrestrial Amphibian Monitoring – May/June or Sept/Oct
Grassland Birds/Bobolink Monitoring – late May/June
Monarch Tagging – Sept
Beavers -- Sept thru Nov
Habitat Management/Invasive Species – year-round
Birding by Ear – June/July
Reptiles and/or Snakes – May/June, early July, early fall
Fungi – spring and fall
Mammal Tracking - winter

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton

Grades:

9, 10, 11, 12

Price:

  • $4/student/guided hour on sanctuary; adults chaperones free

Students will visit a forest to observe, collect, and study organisms in their natural environment. They will explore how the parts of a forest are interconnected.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

3, 4, 5

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

3-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - life cycles
3-LS3-2 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - inhereted/env. influnced characteristics
3-LS4-2 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - individual variation relates to survival
3-LS4-3 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - env. constraints on organisms survival
3-LS4-4 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - changes in habitat affect reproduction
4-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal/plant, internal/external structures
5-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - plants use of air, water, energy
5-LS2-1 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - movement of matter through food web

Explore the forest and investigate the plants and animals of that habitat.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

Pre K, K, 1, 2

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

PreK-ESS2-1 (MA) - Earth's Systems - how different local env. provide homes
PreK-LS2-2 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how familiar plant/animals meet needs
K-ESS2-2 - Earth's Systems - organisms change env.
K-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - where animals and plants get food
K-LS1-2 (MA) - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - plants/animals, grow/change over time
1-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - function of plant/animal body parts
1-LS3-1 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - sim./diff. among indiv. plant/animal
2-LS4-1 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - observe/compare living things diff. env.

Students will survey several habitats - woodland, wetland, meadow, and edge habitats - to explore how each habitat meets the needs of the animals that live there, why some animals may thrive in one habitat and not survive in another, and how changes to a habitat can affect who lives there.

Also available and recommended: schedule a classroom visit before your field trip.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton

Grades:

3, 4, 5

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

3-LS4-2 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - individual variation relates to survival
3-LS4-3 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - env. constraints on organisms survival
3-LS4-4 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - changes in habitat affect reproduction
4-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal/plant, internal/external structures
5-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - plants use of air, water, energy
5-LS2-1 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - movement of matter through food web

Students will explore woodland, wetland, meadow, and edge areas to discover how animals find food, water, shelter, and space in those habitats. Through the clues animals leave behind, we can also uncover the interrelationships between species and the diversity of species within and across habitats.

Also available and recommended: schedule a classroom visit before your field trip. A naturalist will introduce your students to the concept of habitat and guide them in building an ideal habitat for a favorite species.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

Pre K, K, 1, 2

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

PreK-ESS2-1 (MA) - Earth's Systems - how different local env. provide homes
PreK-LS2-2 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how familiar plant/animals meet needs
PreK-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - local plants/animals interdependence
K-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - where animals and plants get food
1-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - function of plant/animal body parts
2-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how plant/animals depend on surroundings
2-LS4-1 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - observe/compare living things diff. env.

Students will explore wetland, woodland, pond, and meadow to investigate plant/animal adaptations in different habitats and in response to climate change.

 

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

7, 8, 9

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

7-MS-LS2-4 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - ecosystem disruptions can shift pop.
8-MS-ESS3-5 - Earth and Human Activity - human activities and global temperatures
HS-ESS3-5 - Earth and Human Activity - global or regional climate change

Students will visit beaver dams on the sanctuary and study beaver engineering skills. Students also will visit a variety of other animal homes (including nests and burrows) and explore ways that animals engineer their environments to meet their needs. Then, using natural materials, students will have the opportunity to build structures while experiencing first-hand the scientific engineering principles of design, materials, shape, strength, and force. In all design challenges, students will be encouraged to create plans, problem solve, ask questions, test materials, and work cooperatively.

All schools that register for this field trip will receive a year-long engineering curriculum, created by Worcester Polytechnic Institute engineering students, that supports and enhances the field trip.

This field trip, and supporting engineering curriculum, were specifically designed for third grade, but other grade levels are also welcome to register.

This program may be done at your school, or other location, if there is a suitable outdoor space.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

3

Price:

  • Children - $ 8.00
  • Adults - $ 0.00
  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/hour; At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour; Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes.

Curriculum Frameworks:

3-ESS3-1 - Earth and Human Activity - design solutions to weather damage

Investigate the plant life cycle from seed to plant. Visit a meadow or the school yard to investigate how seeds travel, the relationship between structure and function, and plant adaptations.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

3, 4, 5

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

3-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - life cycles
3-LS3-1 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - plant/animal inhereted traits evidence
3-LS4-3 - Biological Evolution--Unity and Diversity - env. constraints on organisms survival
4-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal/plant, internal/external structures
5-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - plants use of air, water, energy
5-LS2-1 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - movement of matter through food web

Students will match seeds to the plants they become, go on a seed search, and investigate the relationship between structure and function by observing how seeds travel.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

Pre K, K, 1, 2

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

PreK-LS2-2 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how familiar plant/animals meet needs
PreK-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - local plants/animals interdependence
K-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - where animals and plants get food
K-LS1-2 (MA) - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - plants/animals, grow/change over time
1-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - function of plant/animal body parts
1-LS3-1 - Heredity--Inheritance and Variation of Traits - sim./diff. among indiv. plant/animal
2-LS2-3 (MA) - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - how plant/animals depend on surroundings

Compare mammal skulls and determine the adaptations that have allowed the animal to survive as a predator or prey. Learn how to hypothesize an animal's diet from knowledge of its teeth, read clues to distinguish between herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, and use your observation skills to identify unknown skulls.

Complement this program with a hike or schoolyard exploration while looking for signs left behind by primary and secondary consumers, determine the food chains involved, and link these chains to create the diverse food web of this ecosystem.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

4, 5, 6

Price:

  • At Sanctuary $4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

4-LS1-1 - From Molecules to Organisms--Structures and Processes - animal/plant, internal/external structures
5-LS2-1 - Ecosystems--Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - movement of matter through food web

Go on a gentle exploration of our sanctuary trails or your schoolyard.

We'll use our senses to sniff a smelly plant, find something prickly, contrast colors in nature, and listen to the sound of the wind or birds singing.

Learn to use a magnifier or other introductory observation tool.

Young children will become more familiar and comfortable with nature in this friendly, introductory program.

Program Location(s):

Wachusett Meadow, Princeton
Your school or other location

Grades:

Pre K, K, 1

Price:

  • At Sanctuary(Guided Hike)$4/student/guided hour;
    At School (Classroom Program or Hike)$4.50/student/hour;
    Minimum 12 students for pricing purposes;
    Auditorium Program At School $125/hour; $95/hour for additional programs same day

Curriculum Frameworks:

PreK-ESS2-1 (MA) - Earth's Systems - how different local env. provide homes