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Program Details





Added on: June 21, 2016
Last updated: January 8, 2019

UC Davis Tahoe Science Center Field Trips

Program Overview / Impact

TERC Field Trips

UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) hosts regular field trip programs during the school year on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Tahoe Science Center located within the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences (TCES) building on the campus of Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada. During the spring and fall, we also host occasional field trips to the Eriksson Education Center located inside the Tahoe City Field Station just east of Tahoe City, California.

Thematic Field Trip Programs at the Tahoe Science Center (Incline Village, NV)

The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center Education Team has created specialized thematic programs aligned with grade level specific science curriculum.  All programs include presentations of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center research vessel and laboratory exhibits in the Tahoe Science Center as well as a viewing of “Lake Tahoe in Depth” 3-D movie (15 minutes) in the Otellini 3-D Visualization Lab.

  • Water on Earth (Grades 3 – 5):  Students explore watersheds, the water cycle, water as a limited resource, and Lake Tahoe water quality. Hands-on activities may include Blue Planet, Drop in a Bucket, and the Incredible Journey or Incline Creek Stream Monitoring (weather-dependent).
  • Shaping Earth’s Surface (Grades 4 – 6): Students explore the forces behind the formation of landforms with an emphasis on erosion. Hands-on activities may include 3D Earthquake Viewer, Topography, and Landforms.
  • Geology/Plate Tectonics (Grades 4 – 8): Students will learn about the geological processes that formed Lake Tahoe and how tectonic activity is still at work in the Tahoe Basin and around the world. Activities may include viewing the 3-D Earthquake Viewer, Quakes at the Lake, and Rock Around Tahoe.
  • Aquatic Food Web (Grades 4 – 12): Students become biologists and ecologists as they meet various aquatic species from Lake Tahoe, make observations, ask questions, and discover connections, and build a model of Lake Tahoe’s aquatic food web.  Hands-on activities may include Building Lake Tahoe’s Aquatic Food Web and Macroinvertebrate Monitoring (weather dependent).
  • Environmental Detectives (Grades 6 – 8): Investigate human impact on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems while assessing watershed health with the “Mystery of the Dying Fish” based on GEMS Environmental Detectives.
  • Lakes of the World (Grades 5 – 12): This new field trip aims to educate students about how lakes are formed, where they are located, and how freshwater resources are both used and threatened around the world.  We use 3-D technology to soar high above the earth in our 3-D theater to see the location, shape, and bathymetry of each lake, and learn about the lake as students take a virtual trip to visit new places.
  • The Tahoe System (Grades 3 – 12): This program provides an overview of the Tahoe Basin with a focus on systems thinking. Students explore the different features of Lake Tahoe that make it so special and learn about threats to the lake. Hands-on activities may include Watershed Model, Build Lake Tahoe, Incline Creek Stream Monitoring (weather-dependent) and Macroinvertebrate Monitoring (weather-dependent).
  • Earth System Science (Grades 3 – 12): This program includes an engaging game show that helps students conceptualize the Earth science concepts of life webs, cycles of matter, and the flowing of energy. A “3-Part Play” shows how Earth and all of its life forms continuously receive energy from the sun that fuels all vital processes then leaves the planet as heat that flows to outer space. The play helps students grasp the intricate network of relationships that connects the planet’s organisms with each other and with the cycles of matter and flows of energy. Other activities on this field trip can include the topics of the carbon cycle, the carbon budget, and the greenhouse effect.
  • High School Field Trips (Grades 9 – 12): Any of the above thematic programs are appropriate for high school aged student groups with a focus on in-depth discussion of more advanced concepts and/or lab tour.

How to Get Involved

Visit us at https://tahoe.ucdavis.edu/field-trips to book your field trip today!

Please complete the Online Field Trip Request Form to reserve your field trip dates for this school year and review the Student Tours Visitation Policy for field trip details.

More Information

Contact info:

Heather Segale

Education and Outreach Director

UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center

291 Country Club Drive, Incline Village, NV 89451



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