“Thank you Katie and Jon for teaching about the marsh and for keeping it clean. You are so cool we named two chameleons after you.”
- BVSD 4th Grader
BVSD 4th Grade Field Trip Program Overview
Since 1999, Thorne has partnered with the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Department and the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) to offer a day-long Field Trip Program to BVSD fourth graders at the 45-acre Sombrero Marsh Environmental Education Center. While on the Field Trip, students experience the Marsh through aquatic investigations, bird watching, and hands-on, educational activities. The field trips are correlated to District and State Science Standards and are free for all BVSD 4th Grade classrooms. The field trips include four learning stations, which students rotate through. Two are outdoors (Birds and Wetland Ecology) and two are indoors (Water Pollution and Plants/Seed Dispersal). The Marsh is also home to a 30 ft. wind turbine, organic gardens, and a photovoltaic solar system which are used as educational tools to demonstrate the concept of conserving natural resources as a means of protecting the environment. In addition to serving 4th grade BVSD students at Sombrero Marsh, Thorne also offers customizable Nature Experience Field Trips to other BVSD grade levels and non-BVSD schools and youth-serving organizations at both its Boulder and Littleton locations.
For more information or to schedule a BVSD 4th Grade Field Trip Program, complete the Field Trip Program application available below or contact Thorne’s Program Coordinator at email@example.com or 303.499.3647 ext. 103.
CLICK HERE to download Thorne’s BVSD 4th Grad Field Trip Program Application Form
CLICK HERE to view Thorne’s most recent BVSD 4th Grade Field Trip Program evaluation results.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Nature Experience Field Trips for other BVSD grade levels and non-BVSD schools and youth-serving organizations at both its Boulder and Littleton locations.
BVSD 4th Grade Field Trip Program FAQ
We know that teachers need answers to lots of questions before they decide to take their class on a field trip. We have compiled answers to a list of the most popular questions teachers ask Thorne each year and encourage you to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303.499.3647×103 if you would like to speak directly to a staff member about any questions you have regarding Thorne’s fun and educational BVSD 4th Grade Field Trip Program.
What will students do during the field trip?
Participants will split into up to four groups of 10 to 15 students (usually one half of their classroom), and each group will rotate between four hands-on learning stations. Two learning stations are outdoors (Birds and Wetland Ecology) and involve a short hike on a crusher-fine trail and boardwalk and two are indoors (Water Pollution and Plants/Seed Dispersal). There will be a 30 minute lunch break between the second and third stations, and students need to bring their own healthy lunch. Zero waste is encouraged!
Where is Sombrero Marsh, and what will we do when we arrive?
Sombrero Marsh is a City of Boulder Open Space Area located behind BVSD district offices in East Boulder near the intersection of 63rd and Arapahoe Streets.
Upon arrival at the Marsh, Thorne Instructors will be waiting outside and will lead students to an outdoor amphitheater, where they will receive a safety talk and agenda for their day of fun, hands-on learning.
When are Field Trips offered?
Thorne typically offers field trips to BVSD 4th graders on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from mid-September to late-October and mid-March to mid-May. Each field trip is 4 hours and 15 minutes long, including lunch, and can begin at either 9:00 or 9:30. Dates fill quickly, so please contact Thorne as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on a day that works for your school.
What do my students need to bring for the Field Trip?
Each student needs to bring the following:
1. Back pack
2. Snack (for the bus)
3. Water bottle
4. Rain Gear
7. Hat or visor
8. Comfortable shoes for hiking
9. Appropriate clothing for weather conditions
10. Lunch *
*Thorne’s goal is to become a Zero Waste Facility. To that end, please ask students and parents to plan low-waste lunches with little to no disposable materials, by using reusable Tupperware and reusable lunch bags, metal utensils, and no disposable packaging. While at the Marsh, students will use our Zero Waste Station to dispose of trash, recyclables, and compostables. Thanks for helping Thorne protect the environment and teach your students about minimizing waste.
How many students can you accommodate on a field trip?
We can only accommodate 60 students per day at Sombrero Marsh. Generally speaking, if your school has more than two 4th grade classrooms, you will need to reserve two days to ensure that each of your students is able to participate in a field trip.
What do classroom teachers do during the field trip?
Classroom teachers are responsible for assisting Thorne Instructors (Interns or Staff) during the field trip by attending to students with special needs, helping to ensure smooth transitions between the learning stations and lunch, and providing first aid in case of emergency. Classroom teachers are sometimes asked to teach the indoor stations if: 1., your field trip is scheduled during the first week of either the spring or fall season (in this case, you will act as a mentor to new Thorne interns); or 2., an emergency arises and one of our interns or teachers is absent and we are unable to find a substitute for the field trip.
I know the field trip is free, but can you help with expenses for busing?
BVSD provides each 4th grade classroom with free bus transportation to and from your Thorne Field Trip. Once you have scheduled your field trip, Thorne staff will provide you with a confirmation e-mail that includes a phone number to call and instructions for reserving a free bus for the field trip.
What happens in the event of inclement weather?
Thorne has adequate indoor learning space for large groups of students during adverse weather conditions. In the event of heavy rain, lightning, or snow, some or all of the outdoor activities will be replaced with indoor activities that convey the same educational material. If your district/school is on a one-hour weather delay or greater, then it is likely that your field trip will need to be rescheduled.