Mornings in the Canyon with SCVN

By Josh Baylson, Member, SCVN Class of 2014 & Director, FOSC Board

One of our partner organizations, the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) hosts field trips for Kindergarten classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from October through April.

Upon the arrival of the children, SCVN volunteers conduct a puppet show to welcome the group to Sabino Canyon and provide an overview of the planned activities and safety guidelines. The group of up to 60 students plus teachers and parents, is then divided into smaller groups, each with five to ten students. Naturalists lead each smaller group for the rest of the day’s activities including:

  • Mystery Box – pelts and skulls from animals living in the canyon
  • Geology – the most common minerals found in the canyon, including “magic” magnetite, and a demonstration of erosion
  • Predator/Prey – using small models of local animals, the discussion focuses on the role of protective coloration for both predators and prey
  • Nature Walk – hiking a short distance, the students try to find and identify ten animals (cardboard cutouts) that the Naturalists have placed in their natural habitats

Each field trip lasts about two hours and the classes can arrange to stay in the Cactus Picnic Area for lunch. The field trips are extremely popular and the slots fill up quickly.

In these days of tight state and local government budgets, many schools are unable to afford the extra costs associated with bussing students to field trips. Fortunately, SCVN has been able to obtain much needed contributions to fund the transportation costs for some Title I schools. A significant source of the funding has been Friends of Sabino Canyon (FOSC).

Without FOSC’s support, many of Tucson’s “Kinders” would not have been exposed to the wonders of Sabino Canyon.