GENERAL SCHOOL PROGRAMS INFO & FAQ'S

What Type of Programs Does Environmental Volunteers Offer to Classrooms?

There are four main types of programs available for every grade level: In-Person Classroom Programs, In-Person Off-Site Field Trip Programs, In-Person “Nature in Your Neighborhood” Walkable Field Trip Programs, and a limited number of Virtual Classroom Programs. Please review the available options, then return to the grade-specific page to select your topic(s).

In-Person Classroom Programs take place at the school. Each class gets its own 90-minute program. Each program begins with a brief introduction. Students then rotate between 3-4 EV docent-led stations for 15-20 minutes each, and then engage in a 10-15 minute wrap-up. Each classroom program should be scheduled individually as one contiguous block of 90 minutes and should not be interrupted by recess or other breaks. Exact schedule determined by school bell schedule.

In-Person Off-Site Field Trips are 2 hours long and have a volunteer-to-student ratio of 1:8 or better. Our trained volunteers guide your students on a nature hike to explore the plant communities of the area, look for evidence of animals passing by, and discover the stories told through the local geology. Field trips are generally scheduled between 9:30am-11:30am, although there is some flexibility as needed, and can accommodate up to two full classes. The school is responsible for arranging appropriate transportation, and must provide 1 adult chaperone for each group of students. Off-site field trips can be scheduled as a stand-alone program, and do not need to be accompanied by a classroom program. Please note: specific timing for the Half Moon Bay tidepool field trips are determined by the tides, and can range from 8:30am-2:30pm depending on the specific date.

In-Person “Nature in Your Neighborhood” Walkable Field Trips are designed to help students get to know their local city parks and open space areas. Small groups of students (6-8) will be guided by a trained volunteer during a 90-minute exploration of a local park. The small groups will be introduced to fun nature-based activities, and a chance to learn more about the plants and animals all around us. These field trips are designed to connect with any of the K-5 ecology-based classroom programs offered by the Environmental Volunteers, but can be scheduled as a stand-alone program. Schools will be asked to provide a field trip chaperone who can accompany each of the small groups. “Nature in Your Neighborhood” field trips can be scheduled anytime during the school day, though mornings are strongly recommended, and will repeat as often as necessary to accommodate all students in the grade. Each class should schedule their own field trip slot.

A limited number of Virtual Synchronous Programs will continue to be available for K-6 classes. These live, interactive virtual science programs are designed to support NGSS topics. Each program consists of a series of short (20-30 minute) interactive activities, led by trained and experienced volunteers. Teachers can either select one (or more) of these activities as a stand-alone program, or the entire 3-5 activity series. Please note that each class will need to schedule their programs individually (i.e. we can’t run concurrent programs), but each grade team should select the same program options.

How Many Students Can Each Program Accommodate?

The Environmental Volunteers teaching model is designed so that each student experiences a “hands-on” adventure; therefore, we strive to maintain a low volunteer-to-child ratio. This generally means that we can work with only one classroom at a time, and up to a maximum of 2 classes (60 students) on a field trip.

If you’re planning on bringing students from a different classroom in for the EV program, they must be included in your originally reported classroom size. Additonal students we aren’t expecting will be asked to return to their own classroom. We do, however, often provide programs to more than one classroom in a school back-to-back on the same day. We also allow multiple classes in a school to go on field trips simultaneously in order to take advantage of bus occupancy.

Classroom and “Nature in Your Neighborhood” Walkable field trip programs can each accommodate a maximum of 32 students.

How Many Classes in Each Grade Can Participate in an EV Program?

We LOVE working with a full grade team, and highly encourage you to talk to your other team teachers to see if they want to participate in our programs as well. We’ll work with your entire team to ensure that all classes who want one are able to schedule a program with us. Your entire team should submit a single registration request, and just make sure to include all of the teachers’ names and class sizes.

However, if your class is the only one that wants to participate this year, that’s fine too – we’re happy to work with individual classes as well.

How Much Does an Environmental Volunteers’ Program Cost?

Program fees are based on the number of students in each class, and the type of program selected. Scholarship rates are available for all Title 1 schools, and additional grants may also be available.

Standard Schools:

    • Classes with 17-24 students: $280/class for each classroom program or off-site field trip*
    • Classes with 25-32 students: $330/class for each classroom program or off-site field trip*
    • “Nature in Your Neighborhood” Field Trip: $35 per each group (of 6-8 students)

Title 1 Schools (school with 40% or greater socioeconomically disadvantaged students):

    • Classes with 17-24 students: $125/class for each classroom program or off-site field trip*
    • Classes with 25-32 students: $145/class for each classroom program or off-site field trip*
    • “Nature in Your Neighborhood” Field Trip: $15 per each group (of 6-8 students)

*There is a 50% discount for any snoop or off-site field trip when combined with a classroom program. Classes must participate in both to receive the discount.

Virtual Programs:

Fees are based on the number of activities selected for each class; each lesson can accommodate a maximum of 36 students, or one class. Virtual programs, when available, are free for Title 1 schools.

    • Full Program Series (3-6 lessons**): $200
    • Ala Carte Lessons**: $70 each

When is Payment for a Program Due? Is There a Deposit?

We do not require a deposit to hold your program reservation, but any reservation that hasn’t been scheduled and confirmed at least 4-weeks in advance may not be guaranteed a program. Invoices will be sent to teachers or other designated school personnel as soon as the programs have all been completed, and will be considered past due after 30 days of receipt.

How Far in Advance Do I Need to Register for a Program?

New registrations will be accepted on a rolling basis, and as space permits. Specific dates are available on a first-come-first-served basis. However, we request at least 4 weeks advance notice to schedule or change programs; anything under this timeframe isn’t guaranteed.

What Does Each Teacher Need to Do to Prepare for a Classroom Program?

Teachers must stay with their classrooms. Environmental Volunteers are in the classroom to teach, not to administer discipline to children. California Law requires teachers to remain in the classroom to provide supervision during all classroom presentations. Unaddressed discipline issues may result in not receiving a program in future years. Teachers will also be asked to assist with group management and time keeping. Additional chaperones/adults are not needed.

Classroom space must be made available for programs at the school. The EV docents can set up in individual classrooms, moving desks and tables as needed, or in an unused space anywhere on campus. But each classroom program needs space for 3-4 activity stations, where 8-9 students can comfortable sit at and see the EV docent. When feasible and weather permitting, outdoor spaces are encouraged for certain activities; others require electricity and need to be inside. The EV School Programs Staff will confirm those details with you when your schedule is finalized.

What Does Each Teacher Need to Do to Prepare for a Field Trip Program?

Chaperones are required for field trips. On field trips, each class is divided into small groups of 8 children or less. Each group requires an adult chaperone provided by the school to assist with supervision. Please advise all adults to dress appropriately for any outdoor activities and be prepared to fully engage with their group.

Book Your Bus! The EV doesn’t coordinate transportation. Make sure to make your bus arrangements as early as possible.

If photographs or videos need to be taken, please make sure to have a dedicated photographer assigned to the field trip so that all of the chaperones can be fully focused on supporting the EV docents with group management, etc.

Does Environmental Volunteers Provide Transportation for Field Trips?

No – the Environmental Volunteers does not provide or coordinate the transportation to/from field trip sites. Our volunteers will meet you at the field trip site. Arrangements for buses or carpools for children, teachers, and parents are the sole responsibility of the teachers.

What Happens if My Schedule Changes? Is there a Cancellation Fee?

We understand that things happen, and schedules change. But Environmental Volunteers’ docents and staff are counting on the program schedule as requested. Changes or cancellations made after your programs have been confirmed may result in a $75 cancellation fee

In addition, changes requested less than 4-weeks in advance are unlikely to be possible.

On rare occasions, the EV may reschedule a program if there are not enough volunteers available. Should this occur, you will be notified three business days before your program, and we will make every effort to reschedule your programs as soon as possible. There is no fee for EV-related reschedules.

How Do I Register for a Program?

Once you’ve reviewed our program policies, and you know which program(s) you’re interested in, please fill out the Online School Programs Registration Form. Each grade team from each school should register for the same program(s) and should submit just ONE registration request; please designate one lead teacher to be our main point of contact. You’ll have an opportunity to request the specific topic and dates that your team is interested in. Teachers who have requested a program will be sent an auto-reply acknowledging our system received your application. Our School Programs Manager will contact you within one week to confirm your programs and schedule dates/times. Please contact SchoolPrograms@environmentalvolunteers.org if you do not receive confirmation of your registration within one week to ensure we did receive it.