Welcome to AAPS Environmental Education  

Since 1960, our goal is to inform and educate students about the natural environment. Field trips are designed to enhance and support classroom curriculum, with specific tie-ins to grade-specific science studies.  

Do you have a question about the program?  We would love to hear from you!  Email Dave Szczygiel at szczygie@aaps.k12.mi.us.  Ask Dave about ways to support Environmental Education through volunteering and/or contributions to the endowment, which is managed by the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.

Winter trips are running now!  
1st Grade - Kensington
5th Grade - Winter Survival

Spring trips begin in March... 
2nd Grade - Life Cycles
2nd Grade - Geology
3rd Grade - Habitat Walk 
3rd Grade - Pond Habitat
4th Grade - Geology
6th Grade - Water Tour
6th Grade - Urban Hydrology
7th Grade - Climate Change

2018-19 Field Trip Schedule   
Sorted by - Date  
Sorted by - School

Trip Locations 
Click HERE for an alphabetical list of trip locations 

Get the latest news and consider donating to the Science and Environmental Education Endowment
Help secure the future of experiential, environmental education in our schools. Learn more by clicking HERE and thank you! 

The birds are out and ready to greet students at Kensington Metro Park!
One of the highlights of the trip to the Kensington Nature Center and Farm is feeding wild birds. Since the 1960s, AAPS students have shared in this experience as part of their study of how animals adapt to winter. Learn more about this first grade all-day field trip HERE. On a recent trip, Bianca Starks fed a cardinal from her hand! Just one of the many special moments shared by students of Ms. McCormick's and Ms. Hepner's first grade classes at Angell School.

Volunteer Spotlight: Judy and Manfred Schmidt

Judy and Manfred Schmidt are dedicated volunteers and stewards of the environment!  They started volunteering on AAPS EE field trips in 1997, and continue to find tremendous joy in sharing their love of the natural world with students.

Since the 1970s, Judy and Manfred have devoted themselves to the sustained health of the ecosystems in Scarlett-Mitchell Nature Area, including the restoration of the pond. Today, students continue to walk the woods and survey the pond on field trips.

Judy and Manfred have also volunteered thousands of hours promoting and assisting Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation. They were recognized for their dedication to environmental preservation and education in 2010 with an honorary proclamation from the City of Ann Arbor.

Judy is retired from AAPS, where she served as a librarian at Clague. She is an active member of the Ann Arbor Storytellers Guild and an avid quilter. Manfred has retired from landscaping but continues to do much of the same physically challenging work as part of his volunteer efforts. 

Thank you, Judy and Manfred!

Click HERE to see more volunteer pictures.  

Volunteers make this program work! Community volunteers join AAPS teachers and EE staff in the field, sharing extensive knowledge about science and the natural environment. It is thanks to their dedication and participation that these field trips are enjoyable and productive for AAPS students. Thinking of volunteering?  Contact Dave Szczygiel at 734-368-5539 or szczygie@aaps.k12.mi.us to learn more.

Geology Trip - could there be GOLD in those hills?
Second graders recently went to the Fox Science Preserve to hunt for interesting rocks at the old gravel pit. Students study different types of rocks - sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous - and the unique geology of Michigan. On this trip, a rainbow appeared and made everyone think of the legend of the "pot o' gold" at the end of the rainbow!  Don't worry - each student found lots of real treasure to take back to class and study as part of the geology science unit.

Freeman Environmental Education Center
We are proud to announce the development of a new site for the study of environmental education for AAPS students!  This is a developing project, and students from AAPS high schools are currently surveying the land for plant and animal biodiversity.  Check HERE to stay informed about this exciting new chapter in the Environmental Education model!  

Liz Elling swam the 128 mile length of the Huron River


Liz's story is especially relevant for students studying clean water resources, hydrology, and volunteerism. Click HERE to learn how and why she did it!   

Proper Trail Etiquette Protects Students and Wildlife
Naturalist guides are positioned at the front of students groups.  A calm walking pace and quiet voices mean increased opportunities to observe and learn about plants and animals in the area.
Michigan is home to a wide array of wildlife, including the eastern massasauga rattlesnake. This small, shy snake is Michigan’s only venomous snake. It is a protected species that is increasingly rare due to habitat loss. Massasauga means “great river mouth” in Chippewa, a nod to this snake’s preference for marshes and wetlands where its favorite foods - frogs and small rodents – can be found. 

The massasauga is a member of the pit viper family (Viperidae), considered to be the most highly developed of all the snakes. Pit vipers are named for the heat-sensitive “pits” located behind their nostrils. Curved fangs retract when not in use. When compared to other rattlesnakes found in the United States, the massasauga is the smallest and has the least toxic venom. Nonetheless, any bite from a massasauga should receive prompt professional medical attention.

Female massasaugas mature at three years. Massasauga rattlers are ovoviviparous (unshelled eggs develop in the body of the parent and hatch within or immediately after being expelled). Young are born in litters of 2 – 19.

Once out of hibernation in spring, massasaugas may “sun” or warm themselves during the day, but are generally nocturnal. On the trails, approaching footsteps alert the snake to arriving humans, giving the snake time to retreat to safety. Students should stay behind the naturalist guide on field trips. If a group encounters a massasauga, their guide will facilitate viewing from a distance and discussion of the snake’s special adaptations.

Learn more about massasaugas at:

Learn more about Michigan Snakes at: