Virtual Eco-Explorers Field Trip Program

The Aquatic Resources Education Center offers a virtual version of the Eco-Explorers field trip program. The resources of the virtual field trip are useful for students or school groups unable to attend traditional, in-person field trips and as supplementary and review material for in-person field trip participants.

Contact Us

Mary Rivera
Aquatic Resources Education Center

First, Register Your Class

The program is designed to bring the wonders of the tidal salt marsh to students in any learning setting.

The virtual Eco-Explorers field trip combines short video segments with worksheets, activities and other resources focused on food webs and energy flow, plant and animal adaptations and water chemistry in a tidal saltmarsh ecosystem.


Participation in the virtual Eco-Explorers field trip program is free, but we do ask that you register your class. This will help us evaluate how successfully we are meeting the needs of the schools we serve. And it will help us provide additional programs in the future.

Learning Units

Each learning unit is available as a ZIPPED collection of files that teachers may download and share with students on the learning platform of their choice. Please save the ZIP file for each unit to your computer.

Each unit follows a standard format:

  • Teacher notes
  • Student directions for using the materials in the unit
  • A PowerPoint explaining important vocabulary words
  • A link to a short YouTube video to introduce the topic
  • Activities and worksheets designed to help students explore each topic
  • Answer keys

Start Here

The Getting Started on your Virtual Eco-Explorers Field Trip package includes introductory information for teachers and students.

Save the Getting Started Unit

Welcome to the Tidal Salt Marsh

Welcome to the Tidal Salt Marsh gives an overview of the workings of a tidal salt marsh ecosystem and includes activities exploring energy flow through food webs, the role played by detritus and the effect of tides. The “Welcome to the Tidal Salt Marsh” video is also available in Spanish (Bienvenido a Tidal Salt Marsh).

Save the Welcome Unit

Fish Identification

The Fish Identification activities allow students to identify fish with a dichotomous key and explore fish adaptations.

Save the Fish Identification Unit


The Macroinvertebrates unit includes a macroinvertebrate identification activity and other activities exploring adaptations found in aquatic macroinvertebrates.

Save the Macroinvertebrates Unit

Water Quality

The Water Quality unit explains some common water quality tests and how to make and use homemade versions of water testing instruments.

Save the Water Quality Unit

Tidal Salt Marsh Plants

The unit includes activities to help students learn about plant adaptations in the tidal salt marsh.

Save the Tidal Salt Marsh Plants Unit

Wildlife Clues

The Wildlife Clues unit includes an activity to help students learn to identify wildlife signs such as tracks and scat.

Save the Wildlife Clues Unit

Finish Here

A Wrap-up and Evaluation package includes a field trip report, evaluation form, a GIS activity,and links to additional resources.