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To sign up for any of these school programs, or for more information, email the Education Coordinator at

Bay to Dunes

Field trips are on Fridays from 9am-1:30pm.
The Spring season typically runs from March-May,
and the Fall season from September-November.



This is our tried and true environmental education program. During this 4-5 hour field trip students spend half the day in small groups of up to 15 students exploring the dunes at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, where we identify animal tracks, talk about plant adaptations, learn ecosystem restoration, and have some free time at the beach. The other half of the day is spent at the bay and of the Manila Community Park where we explore the saltmarsh mudflats and observe birds on the bay. The trip is preceded by a classroom presentation with an interactive PowerPoint and hands-on activities to prepare students. With a little work on your end, bussing costs are on us!

Dunes Only
Sometimes a full day trip is too long for smaller kiddos. In this shorter version of the Bay to Dunes field trip, Kindergarten - 1st or 2nd graders explore the dunes and visit the beach from 9am-11am.

Kids Ocean Day

The next Kids Ocean Day is May 30, 2024
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Kids Ocean Day is a state-wide marine debris education program funded by the California Coastal Commission and coordinated locally by Friends of the Dunes and the Bureau of Land Management. About 800 Humboldt County students will receive classroom lessons focusing on the health of coastal and marine environments. At the Kids Ocean Day event, students gather at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area on the South Spit of the Humboldt Bay for a day of beach clean-up and invasive plant removal. After all this hard work, students will sit in an aerial art design while a plane flies over to capture the image. This program is completely free for schools, and we can pay for a bus!

For teacher resources and past aerial images visit our Ocean Day page!

Coastal Stewards

Coastal Stewards is a 3 to 3.5 hour program designed for middle to high school aged students. At the Northern unit of Ma-le’l Dunes, students explore the varying habitats within the dune ecosystem and use tools like dichotomous keys to make discoveries. Topics include dune morphology, animal tracking, plant identification, and more! A pre-field trip classroom presentation familiarizes students with the dune habitats and its inhabitants. Bussing costs are on us!


This program is by request only.

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Jr. Naturalist Kits

Can't make it to one of our field trips? Check out our Junior Naturalist kits for your own exploration! Hands-on experiences in nature are crucial for developing a true understanding of the natural world, and these kits are the perfect tool! Equipped with kid-friendly tools to learn about birds, bugs, and other creatures, your student(s) will be exploring in no time. Check out our YouTube video to learn how to create your own nature journal, too!


Jr. Naturalist kits contain supplemental material such as bird, plant, and animal tracking guides, binoculars, dip nets, binoculars and much more!
To check out Jr. Naturalist kits for your students, please contact us at or 707.444.1397. 

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