The Outdoor Campus
Preparing for your Trip
Preparation for your trip will often determine how successful your trip will be.
- Give students a clear objective for their time at TOC.
- Talking with your class about the trip objectives and expectations will help keep them focused, and will enhance TOC programs or your own activities.
- It is natural for children to run around and be kids when they are in the outdoors.
- Our job and yours, is to have them learning while on the move.
Pre-trip Activities and Ideas
- Before the trip, inform students of the purpose of the field trip and what is expected of them in regard to participation and behavior.
- Locate on a map the location of The Outdoor Campus and plan the best route.
- Introduce vocabulary terms to the students that are related to the program they will be studying.
- Introduce terms like ecology, habitat, insects, mammals, environment, and conservation.
- Research ideas like endangered species, outdoor activities, and the global environment.
- Research on common animals that they would likely see at The Outdoor Campus.
- Make an Outdoor Journal. Use it to record observations at TOC, the schoolyard, and their backyards.
Post-Trip Activities and Ideas
- Many teachers find it useful to conduct their own "debriefing" at school through discussions, or written or oral presentations.
- Develop a newspaper article about the field trip experience or about South Dakota's natural environment and outdoor activities.
- Use journals to reflect on what they learned.
- Keep observations of wildlife they see, or dates of when different migrating birds return, dates the leaves emerge, the weather and so on.
- Draw a picture of their most vivid memory of the trip to TOC.
Call ahead and find out if there are scheduled programs being held on the day you plan to make your trip.
- If there are scheduled programs, you may not be able to use certain portions of the Campus. This is to avoid overlapping of groups. The scheduled programs will have preference for areas of the Campus needed for their activities. If there is no conflict, you are free to use any parts of the campus you wish.
We have had many requests to use The Outdoor Campus' equipment. It is our policy not to let groups use TOC's equipment.
Site use guidelines
- Collection of natural materials is allowed only under the direct supervision or with prior approval of TOC staff.
- Unless involved in a guided hike with TOC staff, please limit hiking and exploration of the Campus to existing marked trails. This is important because The Outdoor Campus is habitat for a number of plant and animal species that should not be disrupted and because of possible safety hazards that exist in off-trail areas.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Take care that any trash is disposed of in a trash receptacle and not thrown on the ground. The Outdoor Campus would greatly appreciate visitor assistance in picking up and disposing of any litter seen on site, or reporting the location of larger problem sites to TOC prior to leaving.