Environmentally conscious parents often seek low cost, eco-friendly field trips for the family. Field trips and family outings are excellent ways to teach children about environmental issues, animal habitats, ecology or even conservation and waste minimization. Kids love hands-on activities and learning experiences. Many environmental related venues are open year around to share the changing seasons as well. What are 5 environmentally friendly family field trip options worth considering?
Visit a local park or nature preserve. Make a trip to a local, state or national park or nature preserve. When visiting a nearby park, consider walking or bicycling to the park site instead of driving. Take the time to schedule a tour with a park naturalist or ranger. Naturalists share a wealth of information about the park’s natural habitats'”and risks to area’s ecosystem'”often free of charge for visitors.
Take a trip to the farmer’s market. Plan to prepare a meal with fresh locally grown ingredients from a farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are terrific ways to support local economies and cut down the environmental impact of food preservation and transportation. Farmer’s markets also provide a chance to talk with local, food producers and learn some of the challenges faced by food suppliers.
Schedule a tour of an organic or sustainable farm. Many local farms already present group or individual tours – but, if there is not a tour-giving, organic or sustainable farming operation near you – take the time to contact a local farm directly and ask if the owners would be willing to share a small tour of the process. Seeing and understanding where foods originate encourages children to make more informed food choices. Hands-on farm visits also teach them a great deal about the environment, its impact on crops and the impact food production activities on the environment.
Visit a landfill or recycling center. Many community landfills or recycling and waste centers offer community facility tours. Seeing the many recyclable items that ultimately end up in local dumps and landfills often inspire families to change or strengthen personal recycling efforts. Both facilities often also offer tips and ideas to help families reduce personal waste and environmental impact.
Tour a local zoo or aquarium. While many question the animal rights interests of some zoos and aquariums, both facilities offer excellent eco-friendly field trip style insights into animal habitats, lifestyles and hazards faced in the animal’s natural environment. Of course, there are a number of non eco-friendly items present in commercial zoos and aquariums'”so families should use caution to avoid less environmentally friendly snack and gift shop purchases.
There are lots of eco-friendly field trips available to both support environmental awareness – and boost science skills for families. Kids especially learn well from hands-on interaction and activities. Taking advantage of local environmental and ecology learning opportunities helps establish or strengthen a family’s conservation efforts and goals.
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