Another Field Trip – Padilla Bay Estuamarine Research Center
September 15, 2019
We have been going to Padilla Bay for about a year now. They have an amazing education program – Junior Ecologists for kids ages 6 to 9, and Mini Explorers for the 3 to 5 year olds. We’ve been to both and loved every single class! The instructors are so patient, kind and knowledgable, and the facility is beyond cool. So much to learn for all of us about about our water systems, environment, animals, and how we can help! Definitely something I want my kids to learn EVERYTHING they can about!
We got to the center a little bit before class started so we had a few minutes to explore the center. There’s an aquarium, a play room and an exhibit room. The kids headed straight to the aquarium first.
We were all fascinated by the Sunflower starfish which, in case you wondered, has 19 legs – at least two kids counted them!
Then they had to check out the play room! They have all kinds of games set up to teach about estuaries and the animals and plants that live in them.
There are also puppets, books and magazines, fur of coyotes, skunks, and many other animals, recipes for Estuary Stew, and a big felt board to make your own estuary, and lots more creative, educational and fun games!
Friday’s class was called Art in the Uplands. They have an upland trail that has a beautiful forest with lots to see, including a view of Padilla Bay! We started in the classroom and the kids all made field journals, so that we’d have something to record our observations when we got up to the upland trail.
They worked hard on their journals. Then they all got clipboards and sit-upons for our time in the Uplands. And off we went!
Anna, the instructor, said that they should be making observations while we walk, and if they see something they think we all should see, say “Red Light”. The moms all smiled thinking, hmmm… we’re going to be stopping every two steps… and, yep… first thing was a slug.
One of the kids knew that this is a European Black Slug. They all made observations about its color and shape and the slimy trail it left behind.
Turns out there were slugs about every three feet on the trail and Anna eventually had to say, let’s keep going and we can make more observations when we get to the shelter in the woods. 🙂
They all chose something to observe and then they made a list of observed in their field journals, then a list of questions they have about the thing they’re observing, and then they drew what they observed. Shaleigh picked a nurse log, and Braden picked a beautiful tree that had a limb that seemed to be going through the shelter roof. And then we all got together again under the shelter to talk about what we saw.
They all had such great questions and observations. And Anna was so sweet letting them be curious without answering their questions (like scientists do) and then being available to answer questions that she can answer on the way back to the center.
We always have such a great time and learn so much! I can’t wait for Super Salmon next month!