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Audubon Texas - Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center at Cedar Hill

Eco Investigations Academic Program (with Bird of Prey Encounter)- 4th Grade

Time Frames
During School Day, After School, Summer, Weekend
Field Trip, On Campus Program


Expedition field trips led by Audubon educational staff and volunteers and Texas Master Naturalist volunteers, designed to strengthen critical thinking skills across multiple disciplines and incorporate hands-on, inquiry-based learning strategies linked with state-mandated Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills objectives for grades K - 8. Students fortify their scientific observation and identification skills and gain knowledge to become a steward of our natural resources. This program combines engaging classroom training and outdoor explorations to discover and learn about plant and animal adaptations, habitats, and specific Texas ecosystems. Students document their discoveries in their scientific field journals along the way. During every Eco Investigations program (weather-dependent), students take a guided hike through our canyon forest habitat to learn how all living and nonliving things interact and depend on each other for survival. Students also meet our resident bird of prey, an American Kestrel, up close, and explore what enables raptors to survive in their environment. Students will participate in a variety of activities depending on their grade level. Some of these may include conservation action projects such as removing invasive species or making seed balls to benefit our endangered Blackland prairie. Special program customization is available to address specific student expectations and/or benchmarks. We can also bring this program to your campus with appropriate alterations based on your natural resources.

Students Will

  • Explore the canyon forest habitat during a guided hike, examine properties of soil through a controlled, scientific experiment, and discover the geology and natural phenomenon of erosion in this ecosystem
  • Discover the flow of energy through food webs, encounter our live education animals (each a different part of the food web) and explore how their physical traits and inherited behaviors enable them to survive in their environment
  • Become conservationists by making seed balls that contain native grass and flower seeds in order to reseed our endangered Blackland prairie and learn the importance of protecting this very special habitat


Dates: Tuesdays-Fridays
Times: 9:30am-1:30pm
Duration: 4 hours
School Fee: 25-50 students - $11.95 per student; 51-75 students - $11.45 per student; 76-100 students - $10.95 per student; 101-150 students - $10.45 per student. Chaperones are admitted at no cost up to a 1:7 adult to student ratio; fees apply to additional adults.
Minimum Attendance: 25
Maximum Attendance: 150
Bilingual: No
Technical Needs: We require 1 adult chaperone for every 10 students. Teachers and adult chaperones in a 1:7 ratio are admitted into the program for free.
Other Information:

Scheduling / Booking

Instructions: A Program Request Form containing a Big Thought Learning Partners (“BTLP”) voucher number and approval code must be submitted to Audubon to initiate a program reservation. Within 3-5 days of receipt by Audubon and subject to date availability, Audubon will e-mail an invoice to the contact on the Program Request Form. Contact [email protected] or visit the website at to obtain the Program Request Form. We require signed Audubon Liability Release Forms from all participants. Our programs are invoiced according to reservation numbers. Please dress appropriately. We recommend close-toed shoes, long pants, insect repellant, and sunscreen when appropriate.
Deadline: Program dates fill up quickly so we urge participants to book early.
Cancellation Policy: If payment is not paid in full by your voucher, the balance being paid by the school is due 14 days prior to the program date. Cancellations are accepted when sent in writing to [email protected] no less than 14 days prior to your program date. If a cancellation request is received less than 14 days prior to the program date, or if students fail to appear the date of the program, full payment for the program will be due and an invoice will be sent to Big Thought (and to the school if the school is responsible for a portion of the invoice). Any portion of the invoice not paid by Big Thought will be the responsibility of the school booking the program. Date changes can be made once per booking if requested at least 14 days prior to the program date. If we are unable to agree on a substitute date, or if the date change request is received within the 14 days prior to the program date, the cancellation policy above applies. Modifications to headcount must be submitted to [email protected] When the student headcount is increased less than 14 days prior to the program date, or if students in excess of the headcount are present the day of the program, the extra students will be charged at double the per student rate and are not guaranteed supplies and equipment for the day’s activities. o Special note for Aquatic Adventures: Due to the logistics of the Audubon Aquatics Adventures Program, we may not be able to fully accommodate any excess students that arrive the day of the program, or for which we receive less than two (2) full business days’ notice of participation. However, these students will be charged the applicable fees and the fees must be paid at Check In the day of the program. Additionally, these programs generally take place at an off-site location, such as Cedar Hill State Park, that charges an entry fee. Audubon covers entry fees for all students and adults for which payment is received prior to the program date. All other adults and students are responsible for any applicable entry fees. The organization scheduling the program is responsible for obtaining the correct entry fee amount and being prepared to pay entry fees upon arrival.
After School Policy: none

Curriculum Information

Lesson Plans

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