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For City Academy students, an overnight field trip to Shaw Nature Reserve is a right of passage.

The Missouri Botanical Garden Shaw Nature Reserve has been a longtime community partner with City Academy. For over ten years, they have hosted third-sixth grade students on overnight field trips. These trips, led by our science teacher and STEAM coordinator, Erik Taylor, have provided hands-on experience of Missouri’s native ecosystems to students.

“It’s all part of the private school education,” explains Erik. “For some, it’s the first time they’ve spent the night somewhere other than home or the first time they have hiked. It’s a field trip filled with a lot of first experiences in nature. We are ensuring the secondary school experience will be an extension rather than an introduction through this field trip.”

Shaw Nature Reserve offers students a real-world connection to what they are learning in the classroom. Scholars experience ecology from the perspective of an ecologist. They experience a scaled-down version of what an actual scientist would do. Students also gain independence, learn how to be self-reliant, and confident when in a new environment.

For City Academy students, an overnight field trip to Shaw Nature Reserve is a right of passage. Students who are nervous for the Shaw Field Trip in third grade begin looking forward to the trip in the coming years.

Our students look forward to exploring nature and experiencing new things on the field trip! Many students most look forward to s’mores while others are excited to get the top bunk. Other scholars enjoy experiencing the prairie in the dark, looking at glow worms, sitting around a campfire at night for the first time, and flashlight tag in the cabin.

Field trips to Shaw Nature Reserve are tied to City Academy’s science curriculum.

Third and fourth grade students visit Shaw during their biology unit on forced and prairie ecosystems. Fifth and sixth graders visit Shaw when learning about conserving Missouri’s wetland, pond, lake, and stream ecosystems.

Through our partnership with Shaw Nature Reserve began, City Academy has piloted numerous new education programs. Many of the programs were originally designed for City Academy, but have since been adopted by other institutions. We are so grateful for our partnership with Shaw Nature Reserve and look forward to our future third, fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade field trips.

Take a peek inside Erik’s classroom

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