Shangri La’s naturalist-guided programs are curriculum-based and fully aligned to the science objectives for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. These programs are designed by a certified teacher and experienced outdoor educator using the outdoors as a classroom. Each program includes hands-on activities, investigations, or experiments, frequently with kinesthetic games. Total immersion is our goal. If the program is about trees, students will be in the forest. If the program includes a water theme, students might get a little wet as they study our swamp, bayou, or our man-made lake. As we aim to connect students to nature and to empower them to make a difference, each program includes elements of natural history, ecology, and sustainability.
Our education staff is comprised of 10 dedicated and fully qualified educators. Most of our educators are certified teachers who have retired after serving many years in the classroom. They receive more than 90 hours of training and professional development each year to hone their skills as outdoor science educators.
These programs are conducted for school groups and homeschool groups during the academic school year. Orange County teachers may register starting at 7a.m., September 4, 2018. Teachers outside of Orange County may register beginning at 7a.m., September 17, 2018. See below for program descriptions and a link to our online registration form.
For the 2018-2019 field trip calendar, a full listing of programs for the school year and additional registration information, please click to see our Schedule of Classes.
Naturalist Guided Program Descriptions:
Shangri La has an active beehive in our Garden! Please take this into consideration if any of your students have bee allergies. Make sure that these students carry their Epi-pens with them at all times.
Nature’s Senses (Fall/Spring) Grade Level: Pre-K ,K
During this 1½ hour lesson, students will use all five senses to explore our Children’s Garden. Students will plant a seed to take home with them, water the garden, taste some of the wonderful plants growing here, enjoy story time, and take home their very own pet rock! This program does not include a boat tour.
Beneficial Bugs (Fall) Grade Levels: K, 1, 2
This 2 hour lesson, students will discover that humans cannot live without bugs!Students will collect insects in two different habitats, conduct a bee study, release beneficial insects into our Children’s Garden, and more! Students will discuss the pros and cons of camouflage coloring, and play a game to demonstrate insects in a food web. This lesson does not include a boat tour.
Winter Survival Games (Winter) Grade Levels: K, 1, 2, 3, 4
This 2 hour lesson will get students outside to observe changes that happen during winter. Various games and investigations will help students understand where animals go and how they survive the cold weather. This lesson includes a 1-2 mile slow, easy hike but does not include a boat tour. Please make sure students are dressed for the cold!
Birds, Birds, Birds: Adaptations and Art (Spring) Grade Levels: 1, 2, 3, 4
This is a combo field trip with the Stark Museum of Art
Experience the best of the Stark Museum of Art and Shangri La! For 4½ hours, students will embark on an adventure to explore the natural habitats of Shangri La, and how John James Audubon changed the way we see nature. At Shangri La, students will experience meadow and bayou habitats while searching for the animals that live in these places. They will observe birds nesting in our heronry. Students will focus on adaptations that allow birds to thrive in their ecological niche. This program does not include a boat tour. At the Museum, students will go on a birdwatching adventure through the galleries and discover how artists like John James Audubon rendered birds life-size and in their natural habitats. During the studio art experience, students will create an original print of a bird native to Southeast Texas. Students should bring a sack lunch; there will be a ½ hour lunch break at Shangri La. The bus driver should be prepared to shuttle students between Shangri La and the Stark Museum of Art during this lesson
Habitat Hop (Spring) Grade Levels: K, 1, 2
During this 2 hour lesson, students will take a boat ride to an Outpost Pavilion where they will explore three components of a habitat: food, water and shelter. As we venture from swamp, to forest, to meadow, students will discover some plants and animals in these different habitats.
Animal Safari (Spring) Grade Levels: 1, 2, 3
As students explore different areas of our gardens and bayou, we will observe animal behaviors, characteristics, basic needs, and habitats. Using investigations and games, we will sort animals into basic groups (mammals, fish, birds, etc.), and explore how animals compete with each other for resources. This 3 hour lesson includes a bayou excursion.
Paramount Pollinators (Spring) Grade Levels: 2,3,4
In this 2 hour lesson, students will discover how important pollinators are to our survival. Students will investigate the life cycles of different pollinators and look for evidence of them in action. Students will study our working bee hive and sample some sweet honey. We will get them moving with a game to demonstrate how pollinators migrate. This lesson does not include a boat.
Garden Detectives (Fall) Grade Levels: 3, 4, 5
Games, stories, and hands-on techniques will teach students about the nutrient cycle, producers, consumers, decomposers, and a garden food web in this 3 hour lesson. Students may get a little dirty in the children’s garden as they plant seeds and transplant seedlings. They will explore the formal gardens looking for worms, insects, and other exciting garden inhabitants. This lesson does not include a boat tour.
Winter Survival Games (Winter) Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8
This 2 hour lesson will get students outside to observe changes that happen during winter. Students will play games and conduct investigations to learn about predator/prey relationships, competition for resources, and adaptations that help animals survive the winter months. This lesson includes a 1-2 mile slow, easy hike but does not include a boat ride. Please make sure students are dressed for the cold!
Earthworm Dissection (Winter) Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
This 2 hour lesson we will introduce students to the wonders of dissection. Students will learn external and internal anatomy, with a focus on what makes worms unique. Among other things, the students will investigate simple organ systems and learn proper dissection procedures. This is an indoor lesson and does not include a boat tour.
Scat, Skins, and Skulls (Spring) Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6
Students will observe how animals survive within their habitat during this 4½ hourlesson. We will search for and examine tracks, skulls, scat and other signs of different animals. Students should bring a sack lunch – we will stop for a ½ hour lunch break during this lesson.This lesson may or may not include a boat ride; the season and water level will determine this.
The Wonderful World of Water! (Spring) Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8
In this 4½ hourincludes a bayou excursion. Students should bring a sack lunch – we will stop for a ½ hour lunch break during this lesson. This lesson is possible through the generosity of The DuPont Sabine River Works Clear into the Future® grant.
Soil Sculptures (Fall) Grades 5, 6, 7, 8
This is a combo field trip with the Stark Museum of Art
Students will spend approximately two hours at Shangri La and about two hours at the Stark Museum of Art. At Shangri La, students will examine soil formation, texture, color, and permeability. At the Stark Museum of Art, students will explore how these properties are necessary for the creation of ceramics. After a tour of the Museum, students will become “mudslingers” and make their own pottery! Students should bring a sack lunch; there will be a 1/2 hour lunch break at Shangri La. The bus driver should be prepared to shuttle students between Shangri La and the Stark Museum of Art during this lesson.
Business and Biology on the Bayou (Fall/Spring) Grades 9 – 12 (Biology/World Geo TEKS)
During this 2½ hour interdisciplinary excursion, students will follow Adams Bayou from the past and into the present. We will explore the role that waterways played in the early business boom in Orange, Texas and how the prominent community leaders changed these waterways through dredging to support their businesses. Students will assess the current water quality of Adams Bayou and discover how human actions continue to impact this important waterway. To schedule this program for your class, please contact Jamie Massa at email@example.com.
Orange County Teachers Registration: