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Cool River Program... goes Virtual! 

Engaging Youth in Protecting San Diego River Wildlife

We love guiding young scientists outdoors along the San Diego River, and can't wait to get back to it, but the 2020-2021 school year will look quite different for most of us.


Our educators are committed to being flexible to offer the best experience available and adapting to meet the changing guidelines. However, we are currently planning to be virtual for the 2020-2021 school year. Learn more about this opportunity below, and please, email us with your specific concerns or questions!

Virtual Field Trip with The San Diego River Park Foundation

Want to bring a fresh voice and perspective to your virtual classroom? Let us take your students on a virtual adventure along the San Diego River! Our new virtual field trip program offers students an opportunity to connect with their local environment, interact with a river scientist, and explore the San Diego River virtually, all while learning about ecology and environmental stewardship!


What we offer:

River Bugs Are Cool: Students join scientists from the San Diego River Park Foundation for a virtual bioassessment of organisms living in the San Diego River. Students will follow along as we examine and sort living aquatic invertebrates using scientific equipment, learn about the biodiversity of the watershed, and make conclusions about the health of the San Diego River. This activity can be adapted for students in grades 3-8.


Virtual Field Trip includes:   

  • Pre-Field Trip Video (10 minutes):

    Students will be introduced to the concept of a watershed and the impacts humans can have on their local environment. Pre-field trip video is encouraged, but not required. Video available for adult to assign to students.

  • Live Virtual Field Trip with our Educators (45-60 minutes):
  • Students will explore the San Diego River on a live virtual field trip and learn about river ecosystems by watching a river scientist conduct a bioassessment of River Bugs. This interactive activity will be live, and is suitable for a class period when all students can join the lesson together at the same time.  
  • Post-Field Trip Worksheets and Activities:
  • Students will reflect on what they learned and have the opportunity to envision a better future for the San Diego River through environmental stewardship. Post-field trip activities are encouraged but not required, and can be assigned at the adult's discretion.


Additional details:

  • Virtual Platform:  Live field trips are designed to take place via Zoom, but may be available for other video platforms as well. Please email us to inquire about availability.
  • Service Area: We prioritizing service students who live in or near the San Diego River watershed. If you are in San Diego County but outside the watershed, please email us to see if you are in our service area.
  • Adult Supervision: At least one adult per class or student group must participate in the virtual field trip. This adult will play a role in encouraging student participation and manage any behavior issues that arise.
  • Cost: The virtual field trips are avaiulable at no cost thanks to our program sponsors
  • NGSS Alignment: Our program supports the following NGSS topics:
  •     Grade 3:

        Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Environmental Impacts on Organisms

        Inheritance and Variation of Traits: Life Cycles and Traits

        Grade 4:

        Structure, Function, and Information Processing

        Grade 5:

        Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

        Earth’s Systems

        Middle School:

        Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

        Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Availability: We are currently booking virtual field trips from October through December. For more information and to book a field trip, please email us.  You can view our availability on the calendar below.



Ready to book your virtual field trip?

Click below to reserve a spot for your class or group.

Book Now!

Distance Learning Portal

Not ready for a virtual field trip? No worries! You can still find the content that is right for you to connect your students to the San Diego River through our Distance Learning Portal. Browse through video lessons, creating writing and drawing prompts, outdoor activities, storytelling, and more!   Click here.



Thank you to the sponsors who make nature education possible!

SDG&E River Network and NPS Malk Nature Fund
Rice Family Foundation SANDAG San Diego County Office of Education
The San Diego Foundation

and the

Tree Fund Sponsor:




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