Free «Field Trip» Essay Sample

Field Trip


A field trip is one of the most important parts of an educational system. The aspect of conducting a field trip is often very vital as it aids in linking various experiences that students gather in a classroom with the real or outside world with the main aim of providing the student with a valued practical experience. The paper, therefore, gives a report on the geographical field trip made to Marin Headlands Visitor Center. The main purpose of the trip was to identify the various geographical patterns and problems that had been discussed in the classroom and how the same aspects applied in the real world context.

Background Information of the Study Site

The Marine Headlands Visitor Center is located at the end of the southern part of the Marine County in California across the Golden Gate Bridge that mainly connects the two state counties and the major peninsulas (Gibson).

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The Marine Headlands is a major tourist attraction that offers a great view of the larger San Francisco area. The area proposes many sites such as the view of the great Gerbode Valley and beaches such as the Rodeo Beach and the Kirby Cove beach which are highly accessible to tourists from different parts of the country. Other tourist activities in the area include biking and hiking due to the availability of wonderful biking and hiking trails within the area. Birding is another activity that tourists highly value due to the huge migration of raptors which attract a large number of seabirds and waterfowls. The grebes’, seagulls, mallard ducks, and the Egrets are other bird species that are yearly seen patrolling the Rodeo Lagoon waters and are major attraction sites for the Marine Headlands visitors. Furthermore, the bird island that is found along the Rodeo Beach forms the largest roosting site that can be found in the northern part of California for the world’s most endangered species of a bird which is the brown pelican (Roberts and Tendai).

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Within the precincts of the Marine Headlands lies the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, found near the historical and famous Fort Barry Chapel. Its operational address is 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965 and a full-time phone contact of (415) 331-1540.

The center opens daily from 9.30 AM to 4.30 PM with its main park lands operating from sunrise to sunset. However, the Center strictly adheres to Christian religious rules and often remains closed during Thanksgivings and Christmas days (National Park Service). To access the center one has the option to use a ferry service or use a public road transport system. The visitors can take a bus all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge then take another bus mainly 76X from the bridge to the Battery Alexander before enduring an 11-minute walk to the center.

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Marin Headlands Visitor Center Further has an exhibition part that spans the historical background of the Marine Headlands. The exhibits at the center often include a garden where local tourists can then identify the Marine Headlands local plants through the art of smell (Gibson &Dorothy). The Miwok shelter provides a venue where the tourists or visitors can listen to the stories of Miwok people and obtain information about their history and culture. Apart from the great military and historical background of the Miwok people, the area possesses interesting geological displays and explanations such as the great San Andreas Fault. The center further has an accessible touch table that can allow those who visit the center to carefully and comprehensively get a close examination of the various land animal and marine bones found within the Marine Headlands.

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Learning Outcomes of the Field Trip

The field trip was a great success as a result of the educational experience gathered. The relevant materials at the Marine Headlands Visitors Center and the expansive first-hand view of the area provided adequate information on most of the activities learned in the classroom. One of the geographical patterns involves the formation of the fault lines that extends and has its roots in the Marine Headlands and how the resulting activities along the fault lines have led to the formation of various geographical sites within the main lands. The features are mainly visible through the exciting road cuts and sea cliffs that have managed to expose the radiolarian and the pillow basalt that is found in California. The famous black pillow salt is believed to have been formed from the lava that was spewing out from the various vents while the radiolarian chert came about as a result of the collection in layers of the microscopic protozoan. Therefore, as the seafloor slowly sways towards the Eastland’s it slides under the continent of North America and in the process leaves behind scraps of radiolarian chert rocks and the pillow basalt dark red pebbles that are common at the Rodeo Beach.

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Another major experience gained at the Marine Headlands Visitor Center is on the natural historic background and the comprehensive follow-up of the history of the humans from the Miwoks days to the modern times. According to the narration at the center, the Miwok people mostly lived in the Angel Island before the arrival of the westerners. History states that the Miwok found their way into the county through the use of reed boats and camped in the area in places that are known in the modern times as Camp Reynolds and Ayala Camp. The people had established an animistic kind of philosophy and had a social organization that made them live in villages that comprised of almost 100 people. Regarding housing, the Miwok people mainly lived in temporary houses and never lived on a permanent basis. The men had their special role of making foot drums and boats while their women made items such as mats and other clothes needed during cold seasons. The Miwok were then enslaved by the Spanish and the Russians who introduced their western culture which eventually killed many of them and established the modern way of living of the remaining Miwok people who still live in the Marine County.

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Another pattern observed from the study is in the formation of a valley. According to classroom discussions, a valley mainly forms as a result of an extended depression within the earth’s surfaces. However, the trip offered a real world view of the famous Gerbode Valley, which is a major site within the Marine Headlands and offers a wide scenic views and open spaces for visitor’s activities such as biking and hiking. According to the geographical facts available at the center, the valley was mainly formed as a result of tectonic movements which drifted the major water bodies towards the south end.

Finally, geography describes a beach as a unique geographical landform that is normally formed along a given sea or ocean and consists of small particles mainly shingle pebbles sand or cobblestone. The Rodeo Beach in Marine Headlands at Fort Cronkhite is exhilarating, windswept and is often covered in pillow basalt. The beach is well bounded by a lagoon which is a geographical term for a water body that is shallow and is often separated from the main water body by a barrier reef or island. The site of the beach further gives a geographical experience on the real world aspect of the existence of such features.

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Regarding the problems, one of the major classroom discussions was that geographical features often come with certain consequences and problems. The expansive coastal shores and the bird islands have often caused major problems regarding the large migration of seagulls into the area. The booming number of seagulls into Marine Headlands has led to serious environmental issues. The issues include overcrowding of the public shores by the birds and interfering with the public transportation system as they collide with the planes flying into the area. Furthermore, they have threatened the lives of other rare birds facing extinction that are available in the area. On the other hand, the aspect of soil erosion is one of the problems that is gradually taking place along the major beaches as the strong waves from the sea gobble up large chunks of coastal land. The trend is of worrying concerns since most researchers have predicted a complete extinction of the major beaches along the coastline as a result of soil erosion. The geological activities within the area are also of major concern that it might lead to a major earth tremor or earthquakes in the area.

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In conclusion, the field trip to Marine Headlands Visitor Center provided a great relief and break from the normal classroom activities. Furthermore, field trips provide students with the required experience that can hardly be acquired through a normal school setting. The trip to Marine Headland Visitor Center provided sufficient real world knowledge and visual aspects on certain important geographical issues such as the valleys, beaches and geological history of the area. Besides the geographical features, the exhibition center further provided a good historical background of the people in the area through a comprehensive trace of the people during the days of the Miwok people to the modern day occupants. Therefore, the trip was successful and achieved every initiated objective and purpose.

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