The Outdoor Campus - West teacher info

Want to take a field trip to the Outdoor Campus?

The Outdoor Campus-West has a lot of educational opportunities for school groups, both naturalist-led and self-guided. For more information, contact Nico Red Horse at (605) 394-2528.


Preparing for your trip to the The Outdoor Campus
Preparation for your trip to The Outdoor Campus 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.
  • Have students 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.
  • Have students research ideas like endangered species, outdoor activities, and the global environment.
  • Have students do research on common animals that they would likely see at The Outdoor Campus.
  • Have students 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.
  • Have students develop a newspaper article about the field trip experience or about South Dakota's natural environment and outdoor activities.
  • Have students use their journals to reflect on what they learned.
  • Have them keep observations of wildlife they see, or dates of when different migrating birds return, dates the leaves emerge, the weather and so on.
  • Have students draw a picture of their most vivid memory of the trip to TOC.