Virtual Visits … the New Field Trip!

The five islands that comprise Channel Islands National Park lie within 60 miles of over 18 million people, but trips to this American Galapagos aren’t always possible for the thousands of school ages children in Ventura County and beyond.

That’s where virtual travel comes in!  Channel Islands National Park, working with the Ventura County Office of Education, sponsors Channel Islands Live a program that lets students take a virtual hike on Anacapa or talk to divers exploring the kelp forests.

This high tech approach to the classroom field trip of yore, can open up a world of exploration helping make a first connection for many students who otherwise might never get to experience the natural world.  

Technology can be tricky though and communication systems can fail when you least expect so sometimes its just more efficient and maybe fun too, to bring the field to the classroom!

Pat Meyer, President of Channel Islands Park Foundation and founder of Friends of the Island Fox, regularly visits classrooms in Ventura County and in Los Angeles, introducing students to the small endangered fox.  At Pacifica High School recently, Meyer and Keri Dearborn, education director for FIF, talked with a marine biology class before the students went to Santa Rosa Island on a trip paid for by the school.

While there may be no substitute for a real walk in nature, virtual field trips and in-class education like that offered through Friends of the Island Fox, are valuable tools to prepare students for extended education in science and the environment.

Read more about how educators are pulling out the stops to bring the field into the classroom and vice versa!