Mentorship in Ecological Awareness through  Nature Discovery, Exploration, and Regeneration

MEANDER trips are day-long excursions specifically for fourth-grade students. Participants will hike along trails in the natural riparian (riverside) ecosystem, and practice making observations, asking questions, and making discoveries outside. Students will engage their senses and minds to become scientists in their local environment. 

For more detailed information about MEANDER Field Studies, please see our teacher information letter

To request a field trip, please fill out our Field Trip Request Form and send it via email to


I'm a fourth grade teacher. How do I participate in MEANDER Field Studies?
  1. Contact SJCOE STEM to schedule a trip by calling 209-468-4880
  2. Pay field trip fee of $225 per class (up to 35 students)
  3. Receive and review teacher information packet 
  4. Prepare students by discussing field trip concepts in classroom
  5. Invite adult chaperones (one adult for every 7-10 students) to attend the field trip
  6. Arrange transportation to Durham Ferry, pack lunches, and come meander!
Where is Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center located?
7 miles south of Manteca, at 29393 S. Airport Way, Manteca, CA 95337. 

How long are field trips?
Field trips will be from approximately 9:00am-1:30pm. We can coordinate specific timing for your group based on your transportation needs. 

Can we bring more than 35 students in one day?
During this initial pilot phase of the program, the maximum group size we can accept on a single MEANDER trip is 35 students. Groups larger than this currently must be split into separate days. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we are available to support creative brainstorming around how to finance student transportation. 

How much does a MEANDER trip cost?
There is a field trip fee of $225 per MEANDER day for groups up to 35 students. Schools are responsible for their own transportation and lunch. 

How may my students' experience at Durham Ferry support their learning within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)?
All activities during the MEANDER trip are designed to support learning within NGSS. While we will be exploring the Fourth Grade Life Science DCIs of Structure and Function and Information Processing (4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2 in NGSS), the primary focus of the day will be engaging students in the science practices of making observations, asking questions, making explanations from evidence, and communicating/discussing science information. These skills, along with relevant scientific language, will be repeatedly practiced outside.

Students on MEANDER trips may encounter many natural phenomena, including:
  •  A variety of plants and animals using their unique structures and adaptations to support their survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction (including aquatic macro invertebrates, terrestrial insects, birds, trees, flowering plants, and algae)
  • Bird communication and behavior
  • Evidence of mammal presence through tracks and signs
  • Erosion and river dynamics in the active floodplain of the San Joaquin River
Specific scientific topics for emphasis may be requested in advance to meet individual class needs and interests.