Whether a field trip is organized to occur once or it becomes an
ongoing event, it can accomplish a great deal by bringing attention
to a resource and an area. Field trips, whether a hike, historic
tour, or a canoe trip, should include three basic elements: physical,
educational and service. Physical refers to actually participating
in an activity like walking or paddling versus watching a slideshow
or hearing a lecture. The educational element is the planned activities
that will help people grow in awareness about the resource and their
community. This can happen through stories, games and talks. The
service component suggests that while the group is enjoying the
resource they also participate in actions that help conserve it.
This can be as simple as picking up trash to water testing to bringing
school children or senior citizens on the outing. When planning
field trips, keep in mind the following:
- The more
specific the mission for a trip, the more successful at achieving
the desired goals and generating enthusiasm.
- Get experienced
people to help lead and help prepare promotional materials.
- Limit the
number of participants based on safety and resource capacity.
- Get maximum
1. Form an
event planning committee
This group will
develop a mission statement (or statement of purpose), write goals
and objectives for the event and, if appropriate, select a theme.
Then determine the target audience for whom is the trip designed?
will incur costs such as transportation, food, printing for invitations
and flyers, equipment (e.g., boat rentals if canoeing) and event
mementos. Some local businesses may be interested in donating products
or their services. It may also be possible to secure funding through
3. Set a
schedule conflicts including holidays, school calendars and peak
seasons. Also factor in the weather and time of year. Once the date
is set, announce it, even before invitations or flyers are ready.
where to go and for how long (i.e., overnight, day-trip): The
location should be easily accessible and fit with the mission
statement. Select start and ending points.
- If necessary,
make reservations and secure any necessary permits.
- Arrange for
transportation to the site and return.
- Scope out
and test the itinerary to make cure it can easily accommodate
the scheduled time period.
- Plan conservation
and educational activities that will occur during trip: Purchase
any necessary supplies.
- Design and
order activity souvenirs or mementos.
- Plan snacks
and meals. Take into consideration dietary restrictions (allergies
- Prepare publicity
materials that may include: brochures, advertisements, press releases
and media kits. Invite media contacts and key elected officials.
- Decide course
of action for inclement weather: Will the trip be held rain or
shine? Is there an alternate date? Is there a phone number that
can be called with a recording if the weather is questionable?
- Contact emergency
services to be available during the field trip. The type of event
will determine who they should be.
- Be creative!
a brochure that explains the purpose of the trip, where the group
is going, background about current or past conservation efforts,
trip itinerary and any other relevant information to help prepare
fees, if any.
- Prepare maps
and directions to start and end points.
- Create registration
forms that include emergency contacts, medical information and
liability waivers, if appropriate or required.
system for confirming attendance.
6. The Trip
- Gather attendees
before beginning the trip to go over the schedule.
- Provide useful
handouts (e.g., maps with itinerary marked, rest stops, and important
people to take photographs. If a small group, consider providing
a disposable camera for each person. A local camera shop may help
share the cost.
- Use a pace
that is comfortable for everyone.
skilled people among the group to answer questions and handle
- Arrange periodic
stops to regroup and discuss observations.
some activity or challenge for attendees to do, such as, a scavenger
hunt, journal keeping or sketches. These things are fun to share
at the end of the trip and serve as documentation of what occurred.
- Plan a celebratory
ending for everyone involved. Refreshments, awards, or even a
key note speaker can be enjoyable.
- Have fun!