Students use field-study tools and hands-on investigation to discover mammals and birds and learn about animal adaptation, the flow of energy through food chains, and the role of animals in the forest ecosystem. They’ll meet some live animal friends in our Nature Center!
Students investigate the connection between living and non-living elements of the forest ecosystem. They visit different areas of the forest, examine changes in biotic and abiotic factors, and draw conclusions about natural relationships between plants and their surroundings. Students also learn how to use a dichotomous key to identify local trees and shrubs, including pines and cedars more than 300 years old.
Equipped with goggles, rock hammers, and field microscopes—just like real field geologists—students observe the geologic characteristics of the San Bernardino Mountains. Building on the theory of plate tectonics, students observe the landscape, examine rock samples, and try to decipher the riddle of Southern California’s mountainous terrain. A walk down the Geology Trail, past lichen-covered boulders and seasonal washes, helps students understand the processes of weathering, erosion, and soil production. Students try their hand at prospecting, using gold pans at the creek.
View the moon, planets and nebulas through our 8” and 12” Dobsonian reflecting telescopes. While gazing at the crystal-clear sea of stars, students learn about Earth’s place in the universe, learn the mythology of constellations, and participate in activities designed to reinforce their understanding of astronomical concepts.
Students incorporate the Science and Engineering Design Practices by defining the problem, developing solutions and optimizing their design. This real world application is a favorite activity!
Our instructors seize every opportunity along the way to help students see the possibilities for careers in science, even sharing their varied experiences working with and studying science and nature.
A student favorite! Small hiking groups are led by ECOS staff along well-established trails. Students explore the forest at night, focusing on local species' nocturnal adaptations.