Our field trips for students in grades 5-12, college students and groups of adults are available in April, May, early June, August, September and October. For trips during the summer months, check out our AVC Adventures program.
All field trips include a 2-hour Lake Erie Science Cruise aboard a research vessel, where students measure current environmental conditions, college alge and zooplankton and collect and observe Lake Erie fish.
Then, students head to Laboratory Practice, taking their samples from the Science Cruise to the lab to discuss limnology, geology, chemistry, phsyics and biology. This session ends with a fish dissection to examine interal organs, stomach contents, parasites and/or diseases.
Invertebrate Collection Walk
Learn to use “biological indicators” by collecting macroinvertebrates on Gibraltar Island’s Alligator Bar, a rocky shoal, using kick seines, dip nets and direct observations. Students examine specimens under a dissecting scope, and then a score is calculated to determine local water quality.
Exotic Species Slide Show
Discuss invasive plants and animals and their impacts on Lake Erie’s ecosystem and view specimens of several common exotic species now found in North America.
Get an introduction to the world of insects using diagrams and specimens, then take a peek at live subjects up close and personal using aerial nets and other techniques to capture some of Gibraltar Island’s six-legged residents.
Island Geology Walk and Talk
Take a walk around Gibraltar Island to see evidence of the area’s ancient history through embedded fossils, rock formations and glacial grooves, then discuss it in a short classroom session.
See live and preserved specimens and photos of a variety of Ohio’s reptiles and amphibians and learn about current snake research underway at Stone Lab, which has been featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs.”
See a large variety of museum specimens, then hike around Gibraltar with a set of binoculars to spot and learn about Western Lake Erie’s local bird life and its world-wide importance as a migratory flyway corridor.
Experience a fish sampling technique different from the trawl on the Science Cruise. Use a throw seine to net small fish in the shallow waters off the dock, and then use dichotomous keys to identify the catch. (This is most often done as a 15-minute activity paired with the Invertebrate Walk.)
Explore Gibraltar Island while learning about climate change, its effects on Lake Erie, and how small changes can have big impacts on the world. This activity explains the impacts of climate change in the Great Lakes first-hand while visiting island locations.
Aquatic Visitors Center (AVC)
Participate in hands-on science activities and learn how to fish at the Aquatic Visitors Center on South Bass Island. Activities include inspecting Lake Erie’s complex ecosystem through hands-on displays, observing and identifying live fish in aquaria, and discovering current research projects that help protect Lake Erie.