OCH NATURE CLASSROOM
PROGRAMS & FIELD TRIPS
OC Habitats (OCH) provides environmentally driven educational programs for students ages 7 to 17 years. Our program is designed to have students experience nature directly by visiting a variety of local habitats within Orange County and giving an in-depth and hands-on lesson. Student participation is of the utmost importance to fully engage each student. “A growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods) and OCH programs develop curriculum with free play and unstructured exploration as an integral part of our habitat programs. The students to chaperone ratio is 5:1. Our programs are themed by local Orange County habitats and we fully explore all aspects of the habitat from its history, the plant and animal species, human impacts, and conservation.
OCH programs cover topics from intertidal ecosystems to chaparral and everything in between. We book all of our programs directly with each interested group or school to accommodate the group or school's schedule and curriculum as well as OCH's volunteer and staff availability. We offer single courses or a series of courses depending on the need and interest of the group or school. OCH will send information about field trips prior to event that will include some questions and resources for the student to review before scheduled events. We do not provide any physical materials to students as our courses are intended to be supplemental to their classroom and academic studies in the schools (public, private, or home).
None of our programs are drop-off programs; all classes are mandatory to have adult chaperones at a ratio of at least 5:1.
Areas of Study:
Habitat Exploration and Ecosystem Overview
Estuaries and Wetlands
Tidepool, Intertidal Zone, and Marine Protected Areas
Coastal Sage Scrub & Chaparral
Species Identification (plant and animal)
Animal Tracking and Animal Awareness
Native v. Non-native species
Edible and Poisonous Plants
Species Anatomy and Adaptations
Navigation Skills and Outdoor Adventure Tools
Nature Journaling/Field Notes
Cultural History and Native Americans
Citizen Science Opportunities
Required Materials and Parking Fees:
All students will need to have a notebook, pen, and pencils for our programs. We meet at a variety of locations throughout the county and some may not provide free parking and charge a parking fee. OCH does their best to find alternatives but in some cases it isn't possible and parking fees may be required to enter a field trip location. We will do our best to notify participants of these additional fees in our program confirmation.
SINGLE DAY PROGRAMS (TO BE SET UP WITH GROUPS DIRECTLY)
Depending on the type of program you choose, virtual, hybrid, or in-person, we will determine topic, length of program, location of program, and date/time of program. Some programs may be one hour while others could be up to three.
SEMESTER-LONG PROGRAMS (TO BE SET UP WITH GROUPS DIRECTLY) - OC Habitats provides monthly programs or may even consider alternating week programs depending on the group size, average age, and OCH availability. We do not offer weekly programs for beyond a 2-event program.
Before each lesson, students will be given an assignment in preparation for the upcoming exploration. This assignment will be sent via email to you and/or your student directly. Although these assignments are not graded, we do ask that every student attempt to complete the assignment so that the instructors can give feedback to each student and help them connect to the concepts. Your child can contact us anytime they have questions.
For semester long programs, we generally add assignments and a project for students to present at the end of the course. The project will help your student connect all the pieces of their OCH learning experience as well as help them to see the "bigger" picture in the world and nature.
Required Materials and Parking Fees:
All students will need to have a notebook, pen, and pencils for our program. Each student will be asked to use their notebook at each class so they need to have it on the first day and bring it to all classes thereafter. We meet at a variety of locations throughout the county and some may not provide free parking and charge a parking fee. OCH does their best to find alternatives but in some cases it isn't possible and parking fees may be required to enter a field trip location. These fees will be included in the emails sent from OCH with each class assignment.
OCH Program Schedule
Programs are scheduled with each individual group.
OC Habitat's Hours for programs are:
Tuesdays - Thursdays from 9 am - 3 pm
Friday - Saturday based on Staff Availability and Program
Min: 5 Students, Max: 25 Students
Ages 7-17 years
Classes happen RAIN or SHINE. Weather can allow an opportunity for a different type of exploration.
GIRL SCOUTS OF ORANGE COUNTY (GSOC)
We ask that students and chaperones follow CDC guidelines. Currently, outdoor events do not require masks or taking temperatures. We do ask that everyone is carrying a mask with them.