Dexter the Oppossum (ITO Program Animal)
Following guidance from the California Department of Public Health, all Southern California school districts closed in March to support state stay-at-home orders and slow the spread of COVID-19. This sent teachers scrambling to provide continued education in the midst of a pandemic. In response to the new normal of distance learning for students, Inside the Outdoors (ITO) quickly adapted our in-person field trip and Traveling Scientist programs to virtual programming that will accommodate at-home learning for the foreseeable future.
Inside the Outdoors is working with district personnel, teachers and parent leaders to ensure lessons and activities are available to all students and their families for distance learning. When students do return to the classroom the virtual and distance learning resources developed will remain available to teachers and will extend the impact of in-person field trip and Traveling Scientist programs.
Distance learning lessons use the same curriculum and activities K-12th grade students experience in our in-person programs and include virtual field trips at one of Inside the Outdoors’ outdoor education sites, web-based Traveling Scientist programs, animal studies, student activities such as nearby nature investigations (what can students do right outside their door), professional learning webinars for teachers, providers, and parents, civic engagement activities, and a photography journal.
An example of virtual programming is The Choice Is Yours: 5 R’s. ITO Program Naturalists livestream lessons, activities and present live animals that educate students on the 5 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Rot, Repurpose and Recycle. Additional experiences may include helping students examine the water cycle and environmental issues related to water with distance learning activities that teach about the importance of conservation, and virtually exploring the pristine environment at Inside the Outdoors’ Rancho Sonado site in Silverado Canyon to identify significant features and patterns in the diverse ecosystem.
All Inside the Outdoors programs support the Next Generation Science Standards and the California Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&C’s), which allows students to learn classroom content through the lens of human impact on natural systems. Students do not merely memorize facts, they learn academic concepts and processes that can be applied to solve environmental priorities and real-life problems in their local communities.
We deeply value our community and corporate partners as they continue to support Inside the Outdoors programming during this unprecedented time and make distance learning a priority for Southern California students.
Catching wildlife on the trail camAttachments: