Wild Willow Farm School Field Trips
Since May 2011, Wild Willow Farm's Field Trip program has been generously underwritten by a grant from Ocean Beach People's Organic Food Co-op.
4765 Voltaire Street, Ocean Beach 92107
Wild Willow Farm offers active, inspiring field trips for school and community groups of all ages. Your group will be able to take part in a variety of on-farm lessons, on topics from composting to farm insects to water, and take an active part in growing food!
Timing Wild Willow Farm field trips are offered on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings and typically last from 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your needs. Visitors will be split into groups and rotate through three to four hands-on activities, including light and easy farming and interactive lessons. Our farm tasks are always changing, but you might be planting, weeding, watering, bed-building, composting, mulching, etc. We will choose tasks and activities that are age-appropriate.
Wild Willow Farm Field Trip Activity Menu
The following is a list of possible activities beyond farm work. Feel free to request particular activities if you know what you would like to do.
Sustainability Scavenger Hunt
Students will learn about what sustainability means in the context of farming. With a worksheet as a guide, students will explore the farm and stop at various points (fields, compost pile, chicken coop, bee hives, perennial plants, tool shed, etc.) to write down what sustainable methods they see us using on the farm.
all ages The farm can be experienced with more than just eyes. Students will practice isolating their different senses by closing their eyes together with the group and listening quietly for two minutes, then describing what they heard. Then they will pair up and explore an area of the farm, stopping at points to look, listen, smell, touch, and taste (taste will be guided by instructors).
grade 3 and up A fun way to observe and notice things on the farm that you might not notice otherwise. Students pair up; one student is the photographer and one is the camera, then they trade. The camera closes his/her eyes. The photographer leads him/her around the farm and chooses views to take "photos" by tapping the camera gently on the head, which tells the camera to open his/her eyes for a few seconds and observe. All pairs return to the group to report on their photos at the end.
Brown Bag Botany
all ages Students learn the edible plant parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds) and how the foods they are familiar with fit into those categories. Introduction teaches students that we commonly eat all different parts of plants. Students take turns, in pairs or individually, pulling a food item out of a grocery bag and placing it next to the appropriate plant-part label on the table. Some plant parts might surprise you!
Homes for Seeds
all ages Students learn what seeds need to grow by helping create a potting mix, filling sprouting trays, planting seeds in trays and watering. A hands-on lesson that introduces students to seed needs: nutrients, structure, moisture, warmth, light.
Recycling with Worms
grades K-6 Students learn that worms can recycle, just like we do. They recycle food scraps, fallen leaves, yard waste, etc. and turn it into soil to feed new plants. In this lesson we'll go over the process of turning waste into plant food, and students will get to observe a worm bin and hold worms. Optional: can build a worm bin for the classroom (class brings a plastic bin to use).
Meet the Chickens
all ages Students get to observe the chickens (and check the nest boxes for eggs, when chickens are laying) and learn all the ways that chickens help us on the farm. They do much more than just provide tasty eggs!
Farm Insects: Friend and Foe
grade 2 and up Do insects help or hurt the farm? It depends on what kind! Students will see photos of different kinds of insects (ladybugs, bees, aphids, etc) and be asked to say whether they help the farm or hurt it. We'll discuss beneficial insects that pollinate, eat pests, etc. Then students will pair up and explore an area in search of insects or evidence of insects to report to the group.
Soil and Water: Beyond Mud!
grade 6 and up This lesson will introduce students to the water retention capabilities of different soils through experimentation and observation. Students will test different soils on the farm for their ability to retain water or drain water and discuss why this would matter to plants. The positives and negatives of soil porosity will be discussed. Students will identify the best kind of soil for growing plants.
Watering and the "Goldilocks Priniciple": What is "just right?"
grade 6 and up Students will perform hand-on tests (shake test, finger test, perc test) to determine soil composition at the farm and will learn how that will effect its watering requirements. Students will brainstorm what, if anything, is needed to make the soil "just right" for growing plants.
Irrigation Methods: The Tinker Toys of Gardening!
grade 6 and up Students will be introduced to different irrigation methods and the basic components of irrigation systems: pipes, adapters, emitters and connectors. Groups of 3 to 4 students will get a bag of irrigation parts to dump out and sort through to determine each component's job. Students will learn how to build basic irrigation systems from backflow preventer and pressure reducer to the end of the line emitter.
Plan a Farm
grade 9 and up Students will measure a field and using mathematics, calculate the field area, bed area, the amount of seed, mulch and compost needed to grow a crop, and how much irrigation pipe will be needed to water that field.
Days of the week: We offer field trips on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to noon. Your group may bring a bag lunch with you to eat in our barn following your trip (please plan on packing out your trash).
Fees: Wild Willow Farm has a tiered fee schedule based on the number of students and parents participating. Basic prices show are for two-hour trips. Additional hour costs are to pay for additional staff time.
10 or fewer: $75 (additional time: $20/hour)
11 to 20: $150 (additional time: $40/hour)
21 to 40: $250 (additional time: $60/hour)
41 to 60: $375 (additional time: $80/hour)
Groups larger than 60 students+parents need to be broken into smaller groups and scheduled at separate times.
Trash fee: please plan on packing out your trash and recyclables or pay a $25 trash-recycling fee.
Deposit: We require a $75 booking fee to reserve your desired date. Date will not be considered firm until the deposit has been received. You will be given instructions about how to make the deposit after you submit your application.
Field Trip Sponsorships: our field trip rates are based on minimum staffing levels required to keep your students engaged and safe and are as low as we can go. For schools that need additional help paying for their trips, we recommend seeking support from your school's PTA, local businesses, parents or community service clubs such as Rotary. Sponsorship donations are tax deductible. If you've made arrangements for sponsorships, please let us know in your application and we will let you know the process.
Appropriate attire: closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants, hat.
Bring: sunscreen, drinking water, snacks.
Rain policy During our rainy season (November-March), we can get uncomfortably muddy. Therefore we schedule group activities with preferred date and a backup dates in case your preferred date gets rained out. If it's been raining heavily at the farm over several days before your scheduled date, or predicted at significant amounts for any portion of the scheduled date, the trip will be rescheduled. We will be in close contact with you if these conditions are present.
Your safety is our priority! We are a working farm, so here are a few reminders for visitors:
For full participation, tour participants must wear long pants and close-toed shoes as it's very dusty and you may encounter stinging nettles, rocks, hoses, tools, ants or rough/uneven patches of ground.
It is important for anyone with allergies (bees, plants, etc.) to bring with them any necessary medications.
Bring water, sunscreen and a hat. Public drinking water is not available. Toilets and hand-washing facilities are available.
Dressing in layers is recommended as the farm can have inclement weather (very hot and sunny or very windy, cold, and muddy).
Questions? Contact Wild Willow Farm Field Trip Coordinator Areli Perez: