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Science-Based Education Programs for Grades K-5

Explore Human and Wildlife Connections at Bolsa Chica!


The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is an excellent place for young students to get outdoors and experience wetland science and history first hand! The Bolsa Chica Conservancy offers a full spectrum of educational opportunities and activities for students in grades K-5. Our programs align with California State Standards and are tailored to suit the age, grade and maturity level of our participants. We cover all aspects of wetland ecology, watershed protection, biology and history, with an emphasis on conservation and restoration. Through our It’s All Connected programs, we provide visitors with an understanding of the importance of the unique wetland habitat as well as the role it plays within the larger water cycle. We encourage our learners to consider the role they play in maintaining the health of our watersheds, wetlands, and oceans, and how ultimately, It’s All Connected!


Program Activities

Programs listed below can be combined to create a tailor-made experience for your students!


*The Bolsa Chica Conservancy is committed to providing access to all, and the suggested donation is in no way required.


Suggested Donation: $5.00 per student for guided hike | $3.00 per student for field activity/craft*
each additional hour after the first three: $1.50 per Student


Guided Hike of the Wetlands - All Grade levels

Description: Explore the many wonders of the wetlands! Visitors get to experience the wetlands first hand during a guided nature hike and tour of our interpretive center. Coyotes, reptiles, and birds, oh my! There is always something exciting on our trails, and participants will get to see some of the diverse wildlife living at Bolsa Chica while learning about wetlands and their importance worldwide. Issues specific to Bolsa Chica are covered. Topics include, but are not limited to, wetland ecology, plants and animals, adaptations, watersheds, and importance of wetland habitats for migration and flyways, flood control, pollution control, and endangered species. Total Time: Varies from 1-3 hours
CA Science Standards:

K- 1a, 2a, 2c, 3a, 3c, 4a, 4b

1st - 2a-e, 3b, 3c

2nd - 2a, 2c-f, 3b, 3c, 3e, 4f

3rd - 1a, 1c, 3b-e

4th - 2a-c, 3a-d, 5c

5th - 1i, 2f, 3a, 3d, 3e

CA History Standards:

K - 4-1, 4-2, 6-3

1st - 4-3, 5-2

3rd - 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, 2-2, 2-4

4th - 2-1, 2-5, 2-8, 4-7, 4-4

5th -1-1

Next Generation Science Standards:

K - ESS2-(1-2), ESS3-1,  

2nd - LS2-(1-2), LS4-1. ESS2-(2-3),

3rd - LS2-1, LS4-(3-4),

4th - ESS2-1,

5th - LS2-1, ESS3-1 

Field Activities & Crafts


Birds and Adaptations - Grades 3-5

Suggested Donation: $3.00 per student

Description: Investigate the changing features of the wetlands and discover some of the birds that call the wetlands home! Students will learn how tides change the wetlands every day, and how low-tides help create a “marsh market” for the birds. Using binoculars, students will have the opportunity to count birds, record the numbers throughout their visit, and learn to identify some of the birds they see. Students will also participate in a “Bird Beaks” game to discover how different beaks have adapted and why.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Wetland Food Webs - Grades K-5

Suggested Donation: $3.00 per student

Description: Explore the intricacies of the food webs here at the Wetlands! Students will get to know some of the plants and animals who call Bolsa Chica their home and discover why these connections are so vital to a functioning ecosystem.

Total Time: 30 minutes

What’s In the Mud? – Grades 3-5


Suggested Donation: $3.00 per student

Description: This lab is designed to give students the chance to identify and learn about many different tidal marsh invertebrates at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in a fun and interactive way. Students will be able to go out in the field to search for tidal invertebrates and view microscopic mud-dwelling animals in the classroom as well. Topics discussed include adaptations, feeding habits, life cycles, and food webs.

Total Time: 60 minutes

Create-A-Critter – Grades K-5


Suggested Donation: $3.00 per student

Description: Create your own unique animal in this craft activity! Designed to complement any of our lectures and presentations, students will use sculpting clay in order to design a new species and give it important adaptations for survival. Plus, they will have a great keepsake to bring home from their visit to the Wetlands!

Total time: 30 minutes

Making Tracks – Grades 3-5


Suggested Donation: $3.00 per student

Description: Make a memorable impression at the wetlands! Students learn all about the types of tracks animals make at the wetlands and then make some of their own! Kids will be able to bring home these plaster impressions of tracks from animals at the wetlands and show off their tracking skills.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Fish Prints – Grades K-5


Suggested Donation: $3.00 per student

Description: Get creative and learn about the marine food web! Students will learn about the different types of marine organisms living in the wetlands and how they are connected through the food web. Students will then bring out their artistic creativity by making paint prints of the fish predators and prey.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Bill Nye the Science Guy! – Grades K-5


Description: Get your students laughing and learning with Bill Nye the Science Guy and his fun-filled educational video about wetlands! This engaging movie uses exciting demonstrations and humorous images to help kids learn about wetlands. It is a sure way to get your students excited about wetland science!

Total Time: 10-25 minutes

To schedule a visit, please visit:

BCC Program Interest Form

*Use the download link below for a complete PDF version of our programs:

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