Wild Willow Farm Field Trips
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 Field trips are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings and typically last two hours depending on your needs. Visitors will be split into groups and rotate through 3 to 4 activities, including farm work. 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.
Rain policy As we enter our rainy season (Jan-March), we will schedule field trips with preferred date and a backup dates in case your preferred date gets rained out. If it's raining at the farm the morning of the field trip, the trip will be cancelled. If it's rained a lot in the days prior to a scheduled field trip, trip could be cancelled as well. We will be in close contact with you if these conditions are present.
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, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Fees: $5 per person to help us cover our costs. If this poses a problem for you, please let us know.
Minimum participants: 20
Appropriate attire: closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants, hat.
Bring: sunscreen, drinking water, snacks.
If you'd like to bring your group to the farm, please fill out the Application Form below.
Please submit this form at least a month prior to your desired field trip date.
Your safety is our priority! We are a working farm, so here are a few reminders for visitors:
For full participation, tour members must wear long pants and close-toed shoes as it's very dusty and there might be stinging nettles, rocks or tools, ants or rough patches.
It is important for anyone with allergies (bees, plants, etc.) to bring any medication they might need to the farm.
Bring water, sunscreen and a hat. Public drinking water is not available. Portable 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).
About Wild Willow Farm & Education Center
Wild Willow Farm & Education Center is a teaching farm that trains the next generation of organic, sustainable farmers for our region, and offers classes, community events and programs that help everyone connect better with the food they eat. Wild Willow Farm employs water efficiency methods and permaculture practices in the cultivation of their fields and food.