Leading a Field Trip
Leading or participating in field
trips is a terrific way to celebrate
Earth Science Week.
Field trips can be conducted in many places:
Urban walking tours to see building stones
Rural environments to see rock outcrops, collect fossils or study
National, state or city parks to observe natural wonders
Local lakes and rivers can be studied to learn about weathering
Local quarries or mines usually allow tours on their sites
Contact the State Geologist for points of geologic interest in your
area. Ask for any maps of the area to help plan the outing.
Field Trip Safety - Tips for a safe and fun outing!
Safety in the field includes monitoring your equipment and surroundings,
as well as being conscious of potential hazards - ranging from storms
to fires to wild animals. Although safety factors are more obvious for
overnight camping in the field, planning for safety on day trips is
important, too. The following tips should help you plan and lead a safe
- Arrange for permission slips and permits.
- Find out in advance if it's okay to collect samples from the area
you will be visiting.
- If you will be working near highways for extended periods, notify
- With groups, you will commonly be required to sign a release form
before being granted access to a mine, quarry, or other potentially
dangerous geologic sites. Such forms absolve the owner of the site
of any liability should a member of the group sustain an injury on
the owner's property.
- Make sure all members of the group are wearing proper shoes (no
bare feet, high heels, clogs, or sandals) and clothing adequate for
the expected weather conditions.
- Make sure everyone can identify the poisonous plants and other hazards
of the trip.
On the Road:
- Verify that each vehicle contains a copy of its insurance coverage
and a basic medical kit.
- Students under the age of 18 should get parental permission to travel
in the vehicle with the appointed driver.
- Drivers should be alert and drive with extreme care for they are
responsible for many lives.
In the Field:
- Always wear goggles or safety glasses when using rock hammers.
- If participants are working on rock slopes, make sure they don't
work directly above and below one another. Don't allow them to climb
or work on rock overhangs, particularly if others are below.
- Avoid steep rock faces unless members of the group have had proper
training and are appropriately equipped; dislodged rocks can be a
- At each site, make sure everybody is accounted for. Use the buddy
system to ensure that no one has been left behind.
- Pick up all trash and tools at every site. Always leave the site
the way you found it.
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American Geosciences Institute,
4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302-1502.
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