Field Activities

During the field activities on Saturday, we will explore

  • How we can bring the environment into our teaching and learning.
  • How we can take the classroom into our environment.
  • What the ecology of our classrooms is.
  • What inspiring and interesting ecological topics we can consider for our classes.

These activities are hands-on in different ways - all participants will engage in some form of learning activity or process related to the environment. None of these activities require any prior knowledge or experience. Any other requirements, if any, are indicated in the short descriptions. Most field activities are limited to groups of 10-15 participants - early registration is advised. These field activities are subject to change.

The following activities will be offered during the field activities session (6/2, 3:30-5:30pm):

Surveying Native vs. Non-Native Plants in the Ballona Wetlands

John Dorsey, Civil Engineering & Environmental Science, LMU
Elena Tuttle, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission

Saltmarsh, Ballona Wetlands

During this field activity, participants will survey plants residing in two habitats within the Upper Wetland and Upland habitats in the Ballona Wetlands. Species of plants and estimates of their percent abundance will be noted and discussed in terms of native vs. non-native species along with discussions of restoration actions for the wetlands. Participants need to wear closed-toed shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather; areas visited will not be accessible to wheelchairs.

Ballona Wetlands Walking Tour

Lisa Fimiani, Fiends of Ballona Wetlands

Saltmarsh, Ballona Wetlands

Friends of Ballona Wetlands offer exciting opportunities for education, service learning, and community building at the last coastal wetland in LA. Through our tours, participants of all ages learn about the cultural and natural history of Ballona and the functions and value of our rare coastal wetlands. The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve is located in an area of the marsh that has dusty or sandy trails. Visitors are encouraged to not wear open shoes (sandals) and to dress in layers, in case there is a cool wind coming off the ocean. Not all of the trails are accessible by wheelchair, but most can be easily walked by foot. The trails are no more than a mile long.

BrainDance: Activating Students' Cognitive Learning

Teresa Heiland, Dance, LMU

Dance Studio, LMU

Looking for an easy and quick kinesthetic tool to help your students regain focus mid-lecture? Ann Green Gilbert's BrainDance is a full-body-and-brain warm-up that improves mental focus and cognitive ability through sensory integration and neurological re-patterning. It can be used to enhance the overall learning environment of the classroom by helping students to focus. We will learn eight body patterns that relate to brain activity and learning. Wear or bring comfortable gym-style clothes; changing facilities available. Bring your playful self to learn a fun activity that will enhance your students' learning. No dance experience required.

Dancing the Environment

Kristen Smiarowski, Dance, LMU

Saltmarsh, Ballona Wetlands

How do arts educators participate in the discourse around ecology and environmental justice? The ecology of the classroom can literally be explored outdoors. The 1.5 hour workshop will be held outside in the Ballona Wetlands preservation. Workshop includes moving in an outdoor environment. No dance experience is necessary. All levels of ability welcome. Please contact us if you have special needs or accommodations. Bring comfortable shoes or sneakers. Hats, water and sunscreen are recommended. It will likely be dry in June, so no rain gear will be necessary.

Listening to Nature

Eric Strauss, Biology, LMU
April Sandifer, CURES, LMU

Saltmarsh, Ballona Wetlands

This exercise involves a mile-long walking tour of the nature preserve of the Ballona Wetlands including the recording and analysis of bird calls and wildlife sounds in the urban context. Recording equipment, binoculars, and bird guides will be provided.

Embracing 'Don't Know' - A Creative Classroom Environment

Kennedy Wheatley, Film & Television Production, LMU

On-Campus Location TBD

What kind of classroom environment fosters experimentation and growth? What is the role of 'relationship' in nurturing risk-taking and creativity? In this workshop, participants will explore these ideas, and then test them out through a team creative exercise. Using flip cameras, each team will experiment with creating a visual 'world'. In gazing into this world, we understand its inhabitants through the details they left behind.