It was a cold drizzly November morning. We were at Scout Island for a first-grade field trip. The Fresno Unified School Bus pulled into the parking lot of the property. The students gathered their backpacks and made their way off the bus.

We walked out towards the river. A few students could be heard complaining about the cold. The Education Docent assured them that they would all warm up as they kept moving. After a welcome session in the Scout Island amphitheater, the group was broken up by classroom and the students began the day’s activities.

Matthew’s class was participating in a nature hike with one of the Trust’s Education Docents. The group stopped along the property edge near a large oak tree. The Docent instructed the students to hold up their hands and make a c shape. “We are going to put on our coyote ears now,” the Docent said. The students put their hands behind their ears and closed their eyes. “Be very quiet now. Let’s see what we can hear,” the Docent said.

After 30 seconds the students were told to open their eyes and share what they had heard. Wind, water, and birds chirping were the common answers. “Remember, if you are quiet and listen, you can hear many things in nature,” the Docent shared.

The group began walking again, but Matthew stayed behind and continued to listen. His teacher placed her hands on his shoulders, encouraging him to catch up. He opened his eyes and looked up at his teacher. “Now I understand what nature is!” he exclaimed.

You help connect local children to the wonders of the natural world along the San Joaquin River. Because of you, children like Matthew have the chance to discover nature for the first time.

Thank you!