Youth Field Trips
Point Lobos is a great place to take children on an outing. All children have a needto be exposed to nature in their early life. Studies have shown that people of all ages develop symptoms of poor physical or mental health when they do not experience nature frequently enough – a condition called “nature deficit disorder”. In addition, people who have rich experiences in nature when they are young tend to enjoy it more and have a strong interest in preserving it when they become adults.
Plan your field trip with a purpose
If you are a leader or parent in a youth organization – scouting, church group, boys/girls club, etc. – an outdoor field trip can be a rich experience for the children if it is planned with a purpose.
We at Point Lobos encourage you to consider bringing them to the Reserve. Since Point Lobos is such a special place to those who come to absorb the natural beauty and the solace of nature, however, please give careful consideration of your purpose for getting them outdoors. If it is to let them “blow off steam” (a perfectly legitimate purpose), there are better places to take them – a grassy park, a beach, or a place with wide, safe trails, to mention some examples. There are natural hazards at Point Lobos that you should teach them about to keep them safe, including poison oak, steep cliffs, and tripping hazards. Even the friendly-looking animals can be dangerous if people get too close.
On the other hand, if your purpose is to instill a love for nature, Point Lobos is your place. But that will take some planning, and the field trip will be a more rewarding experience for the youth and parents alike if you take the time to prepare them for the visit. First of all, it is important to know why Point Lobos is called a reserve, not a park. All humans are just guests in the home of the animals and plants that make it their home. And just like a guest in another person’s home, we need to follow common rules of behavior.
Teach the kids what is expected of them in a natural reserve
Don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you. This includes shells, wildflowers, even sticks and rocks. If the kids want walking sticks they should bring them. (They may, of course, pick up the rare piece of litter they find on the trail.)
- Don’t leave trash behind, except in the bins provided.
- Eat only where you have been invited to eat. At Point Lobos, this means only at picnic tables in one of our three picnic areas.
- Don’t throw anything – balls, rocks, sticks. Period!
- Be on your best behavior. Loudness, reckless running, and other rambunctious behavior can be great at a park but not at a natural reserve.
- Respect all living things.
Make sure the adults understand their responsibilities
Please ask the adults who will be coming with the kids to review and adhere to the expectations we have for all visitors, seen here. In particular, the low 15 MPH speed limit has a purpose – to protect other visitors and our resident animals. By following the rules themselves, they will be modeling the behaviors expected of the youth.
Also, please give or email each adult a copy of what we expect from adult chaperones.
Since Point Lobos is a place with a rich diversity of wildlife, you may wish to focus the group’s attention on just one type, such as marine mammals, wildflowers (in spring), creepy-crawly things, signs of animal activity, etc. The information in this website is a great resource for information to help you with preparing the children – and their chaperones – for a valuable learning experience. In addition, you might find the brochures shown below to be helpful.
Please don’t interpret the foregoing to mean that your field trip needs to be a science lesson or you need to be a strict disciplinarian. With a little planning you can give your group an exhilarating experience and still keep them from harming themselves, and help keep Point Lobos a marvelous experience for generations to come. The kids will still blow off a little steam, and you can go home feeling that the goals and ideals of your organization have been met.