- Wind & Water Learning Center
- Field Trips
Field Experiences & Excursions
Our educational field experiences and excursions are best suited for high school students, but we are happy to modify experiences where possible to accommodate younger students, scout troops, community groups, and the general public. Through these programs we hope to increase environmental literacy, inspire stewardship of local waterways, and spark interest in coastal ecosystems. Due to the nature of our field experiences and excursions, we can only accommodate one class (or roughly 30 participants) at a time. By focusing on smaller groups, we can better ensure the safety of all participants and place more emphasis on the quality of learning and interaction within outdoor settings. If you need to schedule more than one class, we can arrange for multiple days.
The Wind & Water Learning Center curriculum aligns with Alabama Learning Standards for Biology, Environmental, and Marine Science. We cover an array of topics that tie in to local watershed conservation. If you have specific topics, key terms, or service-based projects that you would like us to include during your visit, please let us know so we can customize your field trip to your students.
Field trips can start as early as 9:00 AM and will end by 2:00 PM. Time frames can be adjusted depending on the lesson topic, learning goals, and if you’d like to leave our site for a lunch break. Kayaking is only offered while average water temps are above 75F *unless participants have neoprene/thermal gear*.
Recommended timeframe is 4 hours. Learn about what makes the Gulf Frontal- Perdido watershed unique! Using a model watershed, see how nonpoint source pollution affects water bodies and discover ways to mitigate and prevent local waterway pollution. Get your hands and feet wet while testing Wolf Bay’s water quality using Alabama Water Watch sampling protocols.
Wolf Bay Ecology
Recommended time frame is 4 hours. Learn about the ecology of the Gulf Frontal - Perdido Watershed Complex. Carry out a hands-on investigation into the biodiversity within Wolf Bay with seine netting, field identification, data collection, and interpretation. As a group, students participate in an open discussion about the crucial roles coastal wetlands and natural shorelines play in maintaining biodiversity within the GFPW and the ecosystem services they provide to coastal communities.
Recommended time frame is 4 to 5 hours. Empower your students to take active roles in local and global citizen science initiatives. Students will participate in collecting and sharing real data for Alabama Water Watch’s water quality monitoring program, characterizing and uploading marine debris data in the Clean Swell app, and exploring ways to alter our consumer behaviors to minimize the amount of single-use and microplastics in local water bodies.
Paddle and Paint
Recommended time frame is 4 to 5 hours. Come try your hand at coastal kayaking and watercolor painting in Wolf Bay! Learn about Wolf Bay, its surrounding habitats, and the long history of field naturalists who integrated art and science. Practice honing your observation skills and tap into your creativity as a way to communicate about the local environment.
Recommended time frame is 4 to 5 hours. Learn about the key aspects of ecotourism and its value to our community and local ecosystems. Kayak through the southern part of Wolf Bay and participate in open discussion to make connections between consumer behaviors, healthy ecosystems, and sustainable local economies.
Please turn onto Nancy Ln. in front of the Coastal Arts Center; follow it through the curve to access the gravel parking lot on the east side of the Orange Beach Public Library. Park here and walk down to the Wind & Water Learning Center. Buses are able to turn around and park here.
Teachers & Chaperones (Roles & Expectations)
Wind & Water Learning Center Instructional staff and educational partners are here to instruct and guide participants through hands-on, interpretive learning experiences in the Sail Loft classroom and on Wolf Bay. We encourage teachers and chaperones to be active learners alongside their students. Teachers and chaperones are responsible for managing their students/participants behavior.
Pricing & Payment
City of Orange Beach Schools - no cost
Field trips - $15/participant (For questions on pricing and payment email Jackie McGonigal)
- Field Trip Request (email Jackie McGonigal)
- Waiver of Liability & Photo Release *due prior to the start of the trip
- Evaluation & Feedback (Teacher form) *emailed within a week
- All student liability and release forms (Teacher/Group Leader)
- Class roster (Teacher/Group Leader)
- First aid kit / any student medications required(Teacher/Group Leader)
- Payment (if not mailed) (Teacher/Group Leader)
- Refillable water bottle
- Close-toed shoes that can get wet
- Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses)
- Rain layer (or warm layer even in the Spring)
- Towel and dry change of clothes (if kayaking)
- Thermal layers, like neoprene and spray tops (if kayaking in Fall/early Spring)
All efforts will be made to accommodate individuals needing disability-related assistance. Due to the nature of these activities, we can not always guarantee that requests can be met.
Cancellation / Reschedule Policy
We kayak and learn outdoors rain or shine, but we will not do so in unsafe conditions. Make sure to pack appropriate weather gear. Adventures will be canceled at the WWLC site ONLY at the time of check-in as weather may be inclement at one site but not another. In this case, reschedules or refunds are possible.