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Field Trips: The Good, Bad and the Ugly

P1010131

Originally appears in the Spring 2006 issue

I awoke in twisted sheets, a reminder of the tossing and turning I had done throughout the night in eager anticipation of the coming day. It was the day I was taking my seventh grade class to a city park to begin a long-term field project. Since attending a teacher workshop in place-based education three months earlier, I had been crafting a way to apply the new teaching philosophy discussed — to help my students connect to the place where they live through using the environment as an integrating context for learning. I had met with an educator at the park to design a project that would be both an application of Grade 7 content standards and a means of meeting a current need of the park to enhance native habitat. It was a perfect match and I could hardly wait to get started.

Within five minutes of leaving the school parking lot, my dreams met reality:

“Julia, please sit down and look forward in your seat. Justin, please keep your head inside the window — the bus driver sometimes cuts the corners pretty close,” I said, attempting to inject a bit of humor.

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Laura Woolf is on the graduate faculty at Teton Science Schools in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, where she serves as the coordinator of the Outreach Journeys Training Program.