A cave group tour at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, Austin
Bird Watching
School in the Hills students Grotto_032718.jpg
Picture1.jpg

WEEKDAY FIELD TRIPS OR GROUP TOURS

WEEKDAY FIELD TRIPS/SCHOOL PROGRAMS

WEEKDAY FIELD TRIPS/SCHOOL PROGRAMS

All school programs include a guided tour of Westcave Preserve, classroom discussion, and (time permitting) exploration of the exhibits at our Warren Skaaren Environmental Learning Center. The hike into the canyon and back is roughly one mile, so students should be advised to wear comfortable shoes.

Programs are tailored to the age and interest of your group (see program list and descriptions below). Teachers may choose from one of our standard programs or may request a customized program that fits the needs of an individual class. The depth of material increases with the age of students for all programs

WEEKDAY GROUP TOURS

If you would like to schedule a private weekday group tour that is not a school field trip, please make a request using the "Field Trip or Group Tour Request" link above, or email us at meagan@westcave.org for availability and pricing.

THE WESTCAVE STORY

Age Range Recommended: All Ages

Program Length: 3 hours

Summary: In this overview program, students will learn about plants, animals, hydrology, and geology of the Texas Hill Country with Westcave Preserve as the backdrop and focal point. On the guided hike to Westcave’s Grotto, students will observe two different habitats, Live Oak -Ashe Juniper Savanna and the Riparian Woodland. In the grotto students will learn about Westcave’s cultural history and come to understand the importance of environmental conservation by hearing the story of damage Westcave suffered from overuse in the 1960’s and 1970’s. They will also learn about the recovery that is ongoing today.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the 4 basic requirements an animal needs to survive in a habitat (food, water, cover, and a place to raise their young).
  • Learn about the past geologic and hydrologic history of Westcave Preserve and the surrounding area, including fossil evidence of past environments.
  • Learn about two of the endangered species that call Westcave home and the difference between native, invasive, and endangered species. Examples of each will be provided.
  • Observe Westcave’s lush plant life and understand the importance of water in different habitats (Canyon and Savanna).
  • Gain a better understanding of the interaction of water and geology on plant and animal communities. (Canyon Tour).
  • · Experience the sounds of nature without urban background noises (Canyon Tour).
  • Understand the importance of conservation at Westcave and their own communities, especially water conservation (Canyon Tour)
  • Gain an awareness of the historical use of Westcave Preserve in and the surrounding area by people (Canyon Tour).
  • (Optional): Learn about the cycling of matter and flow of energy through food chains and food webs in an interactive game.

WATER: LIFE BLOOD OF THE EARTH

Age Range Recommended: 3rd Grade and up

Program Length: 3 hours

Summary: Students will learn about water and examine our most precious resource. Students will learn about the hydrologic (water) cycle, watersheds, surface water, groundwater aquifers, and nonpoint source (NPS) versus point source pollution. Students will also examine Westcave Preserve's rainwater collection system and observe the natural spring-fed waterfall and other water sources on a guided hike to Westcave’s Grotto, discussing the importance of conservation

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand that water is a limited and valuable resource and there is not much available for use as freshwater versus saltwater (recreational, drinking, showering, and cooking).
  • Learn what a watershed is and that we all live in a watershed.
  • Learn about Point and Non-Point source pollution and the effects of every day actions on our own water source and others “downstream”
  • Learn about the difference between surface water and groundwater, as well as where our water in Austin comes from.
  • The effects of flooding not only to the landscape, habitat and ecological communities but our transportation and our own livelihood.
  • Observe Westcave’s lush plant life and understand the importance of water on different ecological habitats (Canyon and Savanna).
  • Experience the sounds of nature without urban background noises (Canyon Tour).
  • Understand the importance of conservation at Westcave and their own communities, especially water conservation (Canyon Tour).
  • Gain an awareness of the historical use of Westcave Preserve and the surrounding area by people (Canyon Tour).

ANIMAL BOTANICAL AND MARVELS

Age Range Recommended: 4th Grade and Up

Program Length: 3 hours

Summary: This program focuses on the wildlife and plants of the Preserve, including rare and endangered species. Students will learn about the importance of plant communities, habitats, conservation, and biodiversity on a guided hike to Westcave’s Grotto. Students will also discover the four basic requirements a habitat must provide for an animal (food, water, cover, and a place to raise their young) by playing an interactive game. On the guided hike, students will stop in two different habitats (Live Oak -Ashe Juniper Savanna and the Riparian Woodland), to conduct a 5-minute biological survey of both the flora and fauna to compare the biodiversity at Westcave Preserve.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about the 4 basic requirements an animal needs to survive in a habitat (food, water, cover, and a place to raise their young).
  • Learn how to conduct an environmental survey and increase identification skills by noticing different leave shapes (introduction to plant species identification) and animal evidence.
  • Analyze data collected at Westcave back on campus by drawing a bar chart and comparing the # of leaf shapes observed and number of animal evidence signs in Westcave’s two habitats (Riparian Woodland (RW) and Live Oak Ashe Juniper Savanna(S)).
  • Learn how environmental conditions such as weather, climate, and seasons can affect local flora and fauna in the area overall and from day to day.
  • Observe Westcave’s lush plant life and understand the importance of water on different habitats and ecological diversity (Canyon and Savanna).
  • Gain a better understanding of the interaction of water and geology on plant and animal communities. (Canyon Tour).
  • Experience the sounds of nature without urban background noises (Canyon Tour)
  • Understand the importance of conservation at Westcave and their own communities, especially water conservation (Canyon Tour).
  • Gain an awareness of the historical use of Westcave Preserve and the surrounding area by people (Canyon Tour).

CUSTOMIZED PROGRAMS

Have a specific interest or curriculum you’d like to learn hands-on? Sign up for a customized program!