The NBC High School Outrigger Canoe Program is a remarkable outdoor learning experience that helps students truly know all of the Ecology components of the California State Science Content Standards for high school biology, and provides the added bonus of learning to paddle 12-person canoes as a team. The all-day program is conducted from the Newport Aquatic Center which sits at the dividing line between the waterfront homes and yachts of Lower Newport Bay and the natural beauty of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, and includes a roughly two-hour paddle into the reserve with stops along the way to discuss the ecology of the Bay.
When we ask students at the start of a program, most indicate that they have never seen a wetland! Many have never even been to the beach. A field trip here allows the students to see things that most have only heard the teacher talk about in class. They see egrets wading in the water, pelicans diving for fish and mullet jumping out of the water. They see migrating birds feeding in the mud and they understand why vanishing wetlands have a global impact. What they are learning in the classroom suddenly comes alive.
With a group of up to 30 students, the entire group spends the morning out on the water and does the land portion of the program in the afternoon. With a group of up to 60 students, half the students will go out on the water in the morning, leaving the other half on land. They will swap over in the afternoon.
The land portion of the program can be either of the following:
- An investigation of the mudflat, saltmarsh, riparian and other habitats conducted by trained docents from the Naturalists and Friends. “Investigation and Experimentation” principles from the state standards are applied in this activity.
- One of the field activities from the California Coastal Commission “Our Wetland Our World” manual selected and conducted by the teacher. These activities are aligned with state standards. Activity kits are available for loan to teachers for the Explore a Wetland, Wetland Soil, Space for Species, Seed Experiments, and Plant Monitoring activities. Teachers with their own water quality test kits may also wish to consider the Water Quality activity.
The fee for the program is only $15 per student, which includes all equipment use costs.
For more information, contact Patrick McCaffrey (NBC Volunteer andProgram Coordinator) at Patrick.McCaffrey@ocparks.com or (949)923-2296.