Outdoor Classroom

The CSU, Chico Outdoor Classroom at our Ecological Reserves provides a hands-on, outdoor classroom opportunity for all students. This program impresses upon the next generations the importance of being wise stewards of these valuable resources and the importance of respect, preservation and enhancement of this native land and the species living among it.

The program is successfully managed collaboratively by BCCER staff, students, and volunteers. Our University interns and graduate students assist with teaching and curriculum development, allowing us to provide a small group educational experience for children, with 10-15 students in a group.

Students participate in California state standards based science activities in which they monitor plant and animal populations. They work with professional scientists, graduate student researchers, and undergraduates from a number of disciplines. These 3rd and 4th grade students see new opportunities for education in these exciting areas of study. A field trip consists of a number of small group activities through which the students rotate.

teaching group

Field trips are based on state standards, including habitat and adaptations, and include:
  • Bird surveys with monoculars and basic localized bird guides
  • Native American themed education
  • Salmon education centered around the fall spawning event at Butte Creek
  • Catching and releasing aquatic insects to determine water quality
  • Field ecology hikes with customized field guides
  • Native plants - uses and functions in a habitat
  • Archeology Explorers (simulated archaeology dig)
  • Educational games incorporating movement for kinesthetic learners

Student participation:

Over 1300 elementary school students from Chico, Paradise, and Oroville participated in the program in the 2015-2016 school year. The program is in such demand by local educators that it currently cannot accommodate all the requests from area teachers.

Approximately one half of the students served by this program are classified as under-represented. Some bus scholarships are available.

To inquire about reservations for a field trip, or to donate to the program contact Education Coordinator Jon Aull at aulljon@csuchico.edu.