School Programs

Since 2000, we have provided over 9,800 students in underserved public schools in San Francisco with hands-on and place-based experiences of nature.

Fee Structure:
Our programs are significantly discounted for underserved schools. San Francisco Nature Education is funded by donors and foundations. These contributions enable SFNE to keep fees low enough for most classes to participate.
Questions: please contact SFNE at info@sfnature.org.

  K-2 grades: one classroom visit and one field trip: $100.00.
  3rd grade: two classroom visits and two field trips: $150.00.
  4th and 5th grades: one classroom visit and one field trip $150.00.


Learn more about San Francisco Nature Education's school programs: Science and Nature for Underserved Youth (11min50sec)

Duration: 11:50 / Produced by Rick Bacigalupi / Alternate video link / Flash Plug-in

Students with wings in classroomThrough in-class activities and field studies, we develop students’ observation skills, critical thinking, and teamwork. We support and augment the State of California’s Content Standards by teaching students through science, language arts, art, and theater. After participating in our program students are able to identify local birds by sight and sound; have a working knowledge of where and how birds live; are more engaged with their local parks and green spaces; and can express the why and how of environmental conservation.

3rd graders learn how birds fly.

Feedback on Our Program

“The program aligns with the science standards for 3rd grade and also helps the children improve their writing and literacy skills. The program has been a fun way for children to learn about nature right in the community while meeting these standards.” – Mrs. Gini Dold, Principal, E.R. Taylor Elementary School.

 “I have just completed my 33rd year as a teacher in San Francisco’s public schools. I’ve been on hundreds of field trips and yours is the most organized and meaningful field trip that I have ever had my class participate in.” – Kathy Lund, 3rd grade teacher, Jose Ortega Elementary School.

“I would like to learn what birds do in each season. I really liked seeing the birds on the field trips. I liked seeing them with the binoculars and my eyes.” – Student, Sunnyside Elem. School.

Kindergarten students learn
how to draw a Canada Goose.

1st grade students learn the call of the Mallard duck.

Program Structure

Kindergarten to 2nd Grade
We conduct classroom visits or assemblies focusing on local birds and conservation. Some field trips are available. Materials and information are provided to teachers for post-visit classroom activities.

Detailed program descriptions:

3rd Grade
Our 3rd grade programming includes hands-on classroom activities and a full set of teaching materials for classroom preparation and follow-up. One in-classroom science class in September or October prepares them for a November field trip to the San Francisco Botanical Garden. A second in-classroom visit in March prepares them for an April or May field trip to observe the nesting great blue herons at Stow Lake.

We maintain a low, one-to-six ratio of naturalists in our class and field visits. On the field trips, each of our students is equipped with his or her own binoculars and a field journal.
Tina Lui and students

Third graders learn about great blue herons and other birds from Ms. Tina Lui, naturalist, on their field trip to Stow Lake.

Learn more about our 3rd Grade Program (.pdf)

4th and 5th Grade
4th and 5th grade classes receive a hands-on classroom presentation and a field trip to either Land’s End or Crissy Field focusing on ocean and coastal birds.

Matt On Bridge DSC02657.jpg


Bird Calling Contest
The school year culminates in our annual Bird Calling Contest. Teams of students choose a local bird, learn its call and plumage, and make their own costumes. They are also encouraged to pick cool facts about their bird and weave the cool facts into a skit. San Francisco Nature Education naturalists teach the contestants the calls and natural history of the birds.

In June 2007, over 80 students participated in our 6th Annual Bird Calling Contest and over 400 students attended the event. K-2 students performed songs; 3rd graders presented projects, and performed skits and the bird calls.View photos from the 2007 Bird Calling Contest.

In May 2008, over 400 students attended our 7th Annual Bird Calling Contest at the Mercy High School Theater. View photos from the 2008 Bird Calling Contest

Contact Us for More Information
To learn more about our program or to bring our program to your class, please call our office at 415-387-9160 or email: info@sfnature.com.

Flocks of Bird Callers in Full Costume