Wetlands Field Trip Program

Students participate in the dip-netting activity during the wetlands field trip program.

Students participate in the dip-netting activity during the wetlands field trip program.

One of our most recognized education programs just completed its 20th year of providing award-winning, environmental education opportunities to Contra Costa County students! Developed and performed as a partnership between MVSD and the Lindsay Wildlife Experience (LWE), the Wetlands Field Trip Program started providing field trips for students in Martinez Elementary schools in 1996. Today, thanks to various grant programs, private donations, and revenues from MVSD’s cell tower and billboard leases, students from schools throughout Contra Costa County can participate in the complimentary field trip experience.

Students watching birds during the wetlands hike in Moorhen Marsh.

Students watching birds during the wetlands hike in Moorhen Marsh.

During the 4-hour program, students explore Moorhen Marsh, dip net for aquatic animals, tour MVSD’s treatment plant, and learn about water pollution prevention and aquatic animal adaptations. While participating in the wetlands hike, students look for mammal signs like tracks and scat from species including river otter, black-tailed deer, grey fox, and even mink! Students also get the opportunity to learn how to find and observe birds like great blue heron, Canada goose, pied-billed grebe, and red-shouldered hawk. Dip-netting activities allow for close up inspection of a variety of fish and invertebrate species including three-spined stickleback, mosquito fish, dragonfly nymph, amphipods, and crayfish. The treatment plant tour gives students a first-hand look at how wastewater is treated so it can safely be returned to the environment and how everyone can participate in keeping our creeks and waterways clean by learning what is safe to pour down the drain and what is not.

We believe that this vital partnership between MVSD and LWE benefits both our community’s school students as well as the county’s fish and wildlife by increasing awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the functions and values of wetland habitats and the wildlife they support.

A southern alligator lizard is shared with students during the Wetlands Field Trip Program in Moorhen Marsh.

A southern alligator lizard is shared with students during the Wetlands Field
Trip Program in Moorhen Marsh.

Do you teach in Contra Costa County and want to sign up for a field trip? Contact MVSD’s Administrative Assistant at sseregin@mvsd.org.

Did you know that you can help to keep this program going for the next 20 years? MVSD’s Board of Directors established the Dorothy M. Sakazaki Environmental Endowment Fund (Fund) specifically to support the District’s environmental programs like the Wetlands Field Trip. The Fund is an Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. For more information on the Fund and the Wetlands Fieldtrip Program, contact the District Biologist at kdavidson@mvsd.org.

Wild about Wetlands (WAW) Classroom Kits

Can’t make it out the wetlands with your class? Don’t worry, we have you covered! The WAW kits provide fun and interactive learning activities to teach 3rd through 6th grade students about wetlands. The kits serve as a complete unit, as a supplement to an existing unit, or as a pre-/post- field trip lesson plan.
Materials in the WAW kit include: videos, puzzles, flash cards, artifacts, wetland models, photographs, animal skulls and feet, and much more. The program consists of 15 activities divided into three sections:

  • “What is a Wetland”
  • “Wetland Organisms Great and Small”
  • “Restoring Wetlands”

The final section includes opportunities for students to become involved in community restoration and education projects. There is no fee for the use of the kits which are loaned out to an individual classroom for a three week period. For more information or to reserve your kit, contact the District Biologist kdavidson@mvsd.org.