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.

Fall trips are running now!  
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 

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!   

EE 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. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Clark McCall

Clark has volunteered for EE since 2013.  He likes all of the types of EE trips he has participated in, especially winter survival.  Working with the EE program provides a chance to share his enthusiasm for being outside with a new generation of students. 


Clark's background is in engineering.  He also volunteers with Common Cycle, a non-profit group in Ann Arbor that helps people learn how to repair their bicycles.  On Sunday afternoons in warm weather you can often find him at their outdoor workshop at Kerrytown helping people with their bikes.  He enjoys riding his bike everywhere.  As one small step toward a sustainable world, he would like to see more people riding their bikes.

Thank you, Clark!

Click HERE to see more volunteer pictures.

Thinking of volunteering?  Contact Dave Szczygiel at 734-368-5539 or szczygie@aaps.k12.mi.us to learn more.

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: