Field Studies

  • At the end of each year the Odyssey Program's 345 and 678 clusters each go on multi-day field studies. These trips take all ~80 kids in each cluster to historically relevant locations in the Pacific Northwest (in costume!) to bring the learning experience to life. In many cases the students practice activities relevant to the era they are studying and are in the actual environment the people they study lived in, such as visiting sites from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. For each trip, a set of ~ 45 parents assist the teachers as chaperones making these trips a great way for parents in the program to come together, get to know each other, and share a wonderful experience. Many of the trips involve sleeping in tents and all of the joys of camping in a large group that come along with that!

    345 Field Studies

    Mahopa - In the year that Native Americans are studied the field study takes us to central Washington and  Eastern Oregon to visit sites of importance to Native American culture. Among the sites visited in the past are the She Who Watches pictograph, The Yakama Nation, Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, and  the Lelooska Foundation.

    Lewis and Clark - In the year that Lewis and Clark are studied, the field study travels west to the coast and visits several cites the Lewis and Clark expedition visited. The student participate in simulations at Fort Clatsop where the expedition wintered, learning to make candles and write using the same tools that were available to the expedition. They also visit coastal sites and learn about the Coastal ecosystem.

    Oregon Trail - In the year that Westward Expansion and the Oregon Trail are studied, the field study heads inland to the Blue Mountains and several Trail specific locations including the Blue Mountain Crossing, the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker Oregon, and to see actual wagon wheel ruts from the trail in Echo, Oregon.

    678 Field Studies

    Fossil beds, Volcanic Activity and Astronomy Field Study- 2017

    This five day field study in Central Oregon is a wonderful and enriching culmination of the Odyssey 678 ancient history, geology and astronomy curriculum. Students visit the John Day National Monument, the Fort Rock Cave National Heritage site and Homestead Village Museum  to experience first hand the amazing geology, paleontology and cultural  history that exists in our very own backyard. Students also visit the Sunriver Observatory to integrate, extend and apply their year long study of astronomy.
    Our trip will begin with a hike of the trails of the Clarno Unit of the John Day National Monument. These trails wind through what was once an ancient rain forest covered by a mudslide. Students will explore a diverse assortment of fossilized plants and animals. On this day we will also head to the town of Fossil where naturalists will lead the students in their own fossil dig and fossil identification activities. We will then head to the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day National Monument where students will be able to immerse themselves in the dramatic scenery of the yellow, gold, red, and black hills.
    Next we spend a day at the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day National Monument. Students will participate in paleontology activities led by National Park Rangers. They will tour the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and Museum where fossils from all three units of the park as well as from other federal lands in the area are on display for visitors to see up close. We will also hike in Blue Basin and participate in a Geological Time Line Activity.

    After this one bus will head to the Fort Rock Homestead Museum and Fort Rock Basin . The Fort Rock Basin has served as a vital part of the Native American lifestyle. Fort Rock Cave is near Fort Rock State Natural Area, and is the site of an archaeological discovery of several 9,000 to 11,000 year old sagebrush sandals. Fort Rock Cave is a National Heritage site and is open only by a state park guided tour. Students will visit the Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum, the Fort Rock State Natural Area. They will participate in rich park ranger led activities throughout the day.

    The second group will spend the day near Bend. They will either enjoy a whitewater raft trip on the Deschutes River. This tour is led by Sun Country Tours and includes class I-III whitewater rapids. It is Family-friendly and appropriate for kids 6 and older. After lunch the group will Hike Lava Butte, which is a cinder cone capped with a crater. If the roads are clear of snow they will hike the Obsidian Flow instead. Both the butte and the obsidian flow were formed by the eruption of the Newberry Volcano thousands of years ago. In the eventing, everyone will drive to Sunriver Observatory and participate in astronomy and stargazing activities led by astronomists.

    Redwoods/ Shakespeare Festival Field Study - 2018
    This five-day field-study in Northern California and Southern Oregon will be a wonderful and enriching culmination of the Odyssey 678 Renaissance curriculum. This amazing experience will give our students the opportunity to integrate, apply, and extend everything they have studied during their school year. The focus of this trip will be on the science of forest ecology.
    Our trip starts with a jetboat tour of the wild and scenic Rogue River. In Crescent City, CA. student expeditions will be sent out on explorations of the surrounding Redwood National Park including hiking the Simpson-Reed Grove and Prairie Creek State Park, attending a ranger talk at the Kuchel Visitor Center, and viewing the forest from a birdseye perspective while riding the Trees of Mystery gondolas up to the mountaintop observation deck.  Working with naturalists and national park rangers, our students will conduct field-based science experiments that connect the work of conservationists and ecologists to the theories they have been studying throughout the year.

    Next we will head northeast to Ashland, Oregon.  The students will attend classes and workshops with Oregon Shakespeare Festival company members. Then Students will attend two plays including one by William Shakespeare.  

    On our final 2 days of field study the group will rotate on alternate days at Klamath Lake and Oregon Caves National Monument.  At Klamath Lake, the students will experience a naturalist guided canoe paddle where they will collect water samples and examine and compare the samples, taken from various points on the lake, under a microscope. At the Oregon Caves National Monument, students will explore the park both above ground on a hike through stunning old growth forests known for being one of the country’s highest biodiversities in both vascular plants and animals, and below the surface in one of the world’s few marble caves.  This area is incredibly rich for exploration.

    Newport Field Study - 2019
    Our first focus activity will be the OSU Wave Research Center where students will be able to describe the characteristics of waves and how they form, describe how waves change and identify how waves affect beaches and coastlines. In addition we tour the Oregon State Capitol and learn about the history of the building and Oregon government as well as the legislative process. Next we will be visiting the McMinnville Evergreen Aviation Museum that will provide an opportunity for students to observe and experience aviation history as a culmination of our inventions unit.

    In Newport students take a boat trip with Marine Discovery Tours – a floating marine science classroom.  The trip is completely hands-on with Marine scientists leading learning activities.  The second activity occurs at Hatfield Marine Science Center.  Here students attend two classes with marine educators including visiting the Yaquina bay estuary in search of Ghost shrimp and a squid dissection with a Marine science educator.  The third activity is a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium where students observe and work through questions about the marine ecosystems they had been studying in the classroom. In addition, we will explore the tidepools in the Yaquina Head Natural area.

    Our next area of exploration will be the Oregon Dunes National Monument. Students will board large dune buggies for an exhilarating ride among the dunes. Finally we will be visiting the U of O Natural History Museum where students will get to see demonstrations and artifacts related to indigenous people who lived in the areas we have visited in our field studies these past three years.

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