Getting students into nature to explore the environment firsthand can be a logistical challenge for teachers but can also be a rewarding experience for students. Students learn a great deal about our environment through text, pictures, and videos, but firsthand experience interacting with nature itself can bring scientific concepts to life more so than words or images on a page. Studying aquatic habitats, such as vernal pools or ponds and streams, allows students to connect with plants and animals living in those environments, making the wildlife even more real to students. This interaction, and the opportunity to connect with the environment, may motivate students to want to conserve and protect special places in their local community.

Watch this video of 3rd grade students in Auburn, California—an inland community. The purpose of this in-the-field video is to observe students' exploration and ideas about life in aquatic habitats.

For additional classroom context, video analysis, and reflection opportunities, read the Picture of Practice page for "Exploring Ponds and Vernal Pools" in the Earth's Freshwater Environmental Literacy Teacher Guide, page 23.