Instead of field trips, our students go on field work because they are learning and studying in the field. Each class averages 15 off-site fieldwork experiences a year. Fieldwork complements each classroom’s curriculum by providing physical experiences that enhance classroom learning. Fieldwork opportunities for our students are often close to home like testing water quality in Jackson Bottom Wetlands or touring bridges in downtown Portland. They can also be as far away as studying rock formations in Bend or studying wolf populations near Olympic National Forest. Our students have followed part of Lewis and Clark’s route in canoes, taken a boat into the Pacific Ocean to examine plankton, created and delivered blankets to Randall Children's Hospital, and even raised and released salmon into a local stream. Experts that can build students’ background around the Expedition topic or key standards are also invited in to bring the “field” into the classroom.
All students in first-eighth grade go on overnight fieldwork with their class. Overnights are an extremely valuable learning and bonding experience for the class. First graders attend one overnight and as they grow in adventure skills, students work their way up to multi-night camping trips in eighth grade. Parent chaperones are vital to our fieldwork program however certain activities limit our group size so sometimes not all volunteers will be able to attend. We encourage all families to begin building student independence early to prepare for overnight fieldwork. Transportation for fieldwork includes school district bussing or parent carpool, depending on the location and timing.