Exploring Habitats

Marin Art and Garden Center, in collaboration with Marin Master Gardeners, offers Exploring Habitats field trips for second grade classes.

2020-21 School Year Information

Registration for the upcoming school year typically takes place in early August. However, the process may be delayed in 2020 as we await further information from the Marin County Office of Education regarding field trips.

Please check back for updates.

Designed to augment and enrich the public and private second grade science curriculum, this outdoor program explores the needs of living creatures in four distinct habitats and exposes children to aspects of nature and the environment they might not otherwise see. Only one class comes on each day of the field trip to allow work in small groups of 5-6 children per habitat station. With the guidance of Master Gardener docents who are trained to conduct hands on learning activities, students explore the following four habitats:

Compost and Worm Bins

How do we compost and what do we do with it? Each student examines compost from the worm bin with spoons and loupes to see the worms and other creatures (pill bugs, millipedes, centipedes, beetles, spiders, etc.) that break down compost ingredients (leaves, newspaper, vegetable and fruit scraps) and turn it into rich soil. This lesson teaches the value of these bugs and their importance in composting.

Woodland Understory

Docents lead a lesson about woodland trees, understory plants and wildlife. Students look at skulls and pelts of Marin county deer, skunk, coyote, bobcat and other mammals. They discuss concepts of predator versus prey, camouflage, night animals and the animals that are in your back yard.

Birds and Pollinators

Students explore bird nests and discuss the size of the birds, materials used to make nests and bird habitats. Students are asked to flap their wings (arms) as fast as they can in 10 seconds and compare that to what different birds can do. What are pollinators (butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bees)? How do they pollinate plants? Why is that important?


Students learn how a pond is different from a lake, river or ocean. What would you find in a fresh water pond versus the ocean? Each student gets to go fishing in the pond for water animals with pans and fishing nets. They explore damselfly nymphs, water snails, worms, scuds and more with magnifying glasses.

The Exploring Habitats Field Trip project is co-sponsored by the Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Art and Garden Center. Field trips take place on Tuesday mornings in the Habitat Garden from September to early November and late March through May. Teachers can get more information about the application process for the next school year by contacting the Marin Art and Garden Center office at info@maringarden.org in mid August.