Field Trips

Student Phenology for Outdoor Citizens (SPOC)

Overall Rating

Add your review
Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Common Core Standards:
4.L.1, 4.L.3, 4.RF.3, 4.RF.4.a, 4.RF.4.c, 4.RI.1, 4.RI.4, 4.RI.10, 4.SL.1, 4.SL.4, 4.SL.5, 4.W.4, 4.W.10
State Standards:
AZ Science Standards - SC04-S1C1: 1-4, SC04-S1C2;1&4, SC04-S1C3-04; SC04-S1C4-01;1&3, SC04-S2C1-02, SC04-S2C2,SC04-S3C1-01, SC04-S4C1-02, SC04-S4C2, SC04-S6C3-01, SC04-S6C3-03.

See lesson plan document for NM benchmark standards.


This field trip can be conducted for 3rd-5th grade classes, however, 4th grade students must be in attendance to qualify for the National Park Foundation's Open Outdoors for Kids grant funds, which includes free snacks and/or lunches. Please inquire about other travel grant funding that might be available if 4th grade students will not be present.

For the third year in a row, Petrified Forest National Park has received an Open Outdoors for Kids field trip grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the National Park Service. Between April and June of 2018, almost 300 4th grade students participated in the park's Student Phenology for Outdoor Citizens (SPOC) program. We hope to share this wonderful outdoor classroom with many more students between October 2018 and June 2019. 

4th grade classes who are approved for the grant funds will receive a reimbursement of transportation funds for a ranger guided program along the 1-mile Rim Trail overlooking the Painted Desert. Students will record observations of lizards, phenology of plants, and park soundscapes as well as receiving healthy snacks. Pre- and post-visit lessons will be provided and completed before and after the park visit.

This program takes a hands-on approach to learning where students participate in citizen science efforts, making real time observations and collecting data that contributes to the ecological research of the park. As the climate continues to change, it is becoming increasingly important for resource managers to learn how these changes are affecting the plants and animals that live in our national parks. This is important not only for the future of the organisms being studied but for future park planning and visitor experience. Citizen science programs for students encourage the next generation of park stewards to take an active role in preserving their shared heritage while exposing them to the scientific approaches that are being used today. 


To request this program please contact the education program coordinator at least three weeks before your visit. 

Phone: (928) 524-6228 ext.276




This document contains the background information and lesson plans necessary for this field trip.

Download Pre and Post-visit Lessons

This is the application form for 4th Grade classes to request this field trip with the NPF grant.

Download 4th Grade Grant Application

Last updated: October 22, 2018