Hidden Pond Nature Center

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Visitor Center Weekends: Noon - 5 p.m. Weekdays: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

703-451-9588
TTY 711

8511 Greeley Blvd.
Springfield, Virginia

Mike McCaffrey,
Manager

Hidden Pond Nature Center Field Trips and Outreach

Students search through items netted from a pondFIELD TRIP RESERVATIONS

Create your own program. Select from options below to customize a program that fits your needs.  Each station lasts for 30 minutes unless specified.  Information about topics each station entails, the options for each station, and the SOLs to which they apply are included.  Stations and options that are available for outreach are noted.

 

To request a program:

  • Click the calendar link
  • View available time slots and days to see which are available and which are reserved.
  • Click on your desired day.
  • Click 'submit reservation request.'
  • Fill out all supplemental information. Staff uses this to create your program.

Note: Each station lasts 30 minutes

Description: Learn about wildlife ranging from reptiles and amphibians to bugs. Get a hands-on, up-close experience with live animals.

Seven options, all available for Outreach:

  • Virginia Native Wildlife
    Learn about animals at the nature center in the park’s standard and most popular animal talk.
    o K.7 a, c
    o 1.5 a, b, c
    o 2.4 a
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 b, c; 3.8 b
    o 4.5 a, c, e; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 b, c
  • Bugs
    Learn about creepy crawlies, their life cycles, and the adaptations that help them survive.
    o K.7 c
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 2.4 a
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 a, c; 3.8 b
    o 4.5 a, e; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 b, c
  • Life Cycles
    What is a life cycle? Which animals have them? How do animals grow? Learn about animals that undergo metamorphosis and how they survive in their environment.
    o K.7 c, K.9 c
    o 2.4 a
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.8 b
    o 4.5 a, e; 4.9 b
  • Animal Adaptations
    Animals need a good offense or defense to survive in the wild. Learn about adaptations animals have developed and how they are used.
    o K.7 a
    o 1.5 a, b
    o 2.5 b
    o 3.5 b, c; 3.6 a, b
    o 4.5 a, d; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Seasonal Changes (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter options)
    Discover how animals adapt to the changing of seasons, which animals are in the county at each time of year, and what the new seasons bring.
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.8 a, b; 3.10 a
    o 4.5 a, d, e;  4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Wetlands
    Learn what a wetland is, the animals that inhabit it and how they survive, and why these ecosystems are so important.
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.6 a, b, c; 3.8 a; 3.10 b, d
    o 4.5 a, b, d, f; 4.9 a, b
    o 5.5 c
    o 6.5 e, f; 6.7 d
  • Mammal Pelts, Skulls and Tracks
    Learn of the mammals that call Fairfax County home. Examine the characteristics that make them unique. 
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 b; 3.8 a
    o 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 b, c

Description:  Explore the pond habitat with dip nets. Catch and release native flora and fauna in this ecosystem.

  • Pond Netting
    o K.7 c, d
    o 1.5 a, b, c
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b, c; 2.8 c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 a, b, c; 3.6 a; 3.8 b, c; 3.10 a, b
    o 4.5 a, c, f; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c

Description:  Examine a Hidden Pond habitat, and see which decomposers are at work. Learn where and when to find them. Learn what they do for the ecosystem. 

  • Bug/Decomposers
    o K.7 a, c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b, c
    o 3.4 a; 3.5 a, b, c; 3.8 a
    o 4.5 a, c, e
    o 5.5 c

Description:  Explore the streams of Hidden Pond and learn about the life cycles of their inhabitants. Learn how to catch them and about the health of their habitat.  

  • Stream Study
    o 4.5 a, d, e, f; 4.9 a
    o 6.7 a, b, d, f, g

Description:  Explore the trails in the park’s woods and around the pond. Learn about the plants and animals that live along those trails and the impact of nature and humans on them.

Six options; one available for Outreach

  • Woods Walk
  • Take a short hike into the woods of the Pohick Stream Valley. Learn about the plants and animals that live there. This is the standard and most popular hike.
    o K.7 a, b; K.9 c
    o 1.4 a, c; 1.5 a, b
    o 2.5 a, b; 2.7 c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 a, b, c; 3.6 b; 3.10 a
    o 4.4 c, d; 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Senses Hike
    Students hike through the Pohick Stream Valley. They explore their senses by listening for wildlife, feeling tree textures, and smelling plants.
    o K.2 a, b; K4 a, b, c, d; K.9 b
    o 1.1 a
  • Pond Walk
    Walk around the pond and observe native animals while learning what they eat and their importance to the ecosystem. We recommend this option only in spring or summer or during warmer months when wildlife is active.
    o K.7 a, b, c; K.9 c
    o 1.4 a; 1.5 a, b
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b; 2.8 c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 a, b, c; 3.6 a; 3.8 b; 3.10 a
    o 4.5 a, b, c, d, e; 4.9 a, b
    o 5.5 c
  • Erosion Hike
    Description:  Students look for signs of erosion, areas where erosion has been controlled, and unique rocks and minerals along a trail and stream. They learn to recognize signs of erosion and discuss ways to prevent or reduce it.
    o 2.7 b; 2.8 d
    o 3.7 a, b, c, d
    o 4.9 d
    o 5.7 f, g
  • Seasonal Changes (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter options)
    Walk around the park and observe changing leaves, animals preparing for hibernation, or flowers blossoming. See the changes each season brings.
    o K.7 a, b, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a, c; 2.5 a, b, c; 2.8 c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.8 a, b; 3.10 a
    o 4.4 d; 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Schoolyard Hike (Outreach Option)
    Hike with a naturalist around your schoolyard and observe local flora and fauna. Learn how they survive in their habitat, human impacts on them, and what a habitat requires to support life. 
    o K.7 a, b
    o 1.4 b; 1.5 a
    o 2.5 a, b, c; 2.8 b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.6 b, c, d; 3.7 a, d; 3.9 d; 3.10 a, b
    o 4.4 d; 4.5 a, d, f; 4.9 b, d

Description: Enjoy an interactive, visual experience of almost limitless topics ranging from frog and bird calls, food chains, to the water cycle.

16 options, all available for Outreach

  • Frog and Toad Calls
    Learn about native amphibians and how to identify them based on the sounds they make.
    o K.7 c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 c
    o 2.4 a
    o 3.8 b
    o 4.9 b
    o 5.5 b
  • Adaptations and Life Cycles of Native Animals
    Learn about native animals, how they grow, what they eat, and how they survive in their environment.
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 b ,c; 3.6 a, b; 3.8 a
    o 4.5 a, c, e; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Animal Shelters for the Winter
    Learn about adaptations animals make to face harsh winter conditions. See the shelters they inhabit.
    o K.7 a
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.5 a, b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.8 a
    o 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Animals and their Ecosystems
    Learn about native animals, the ecosystems they inhabit, and how the two affect each other.
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a, b; 2.5 a, b,
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 b, c; 3.6 a, b; 3.8 b; 3.10 a
    o 4.5 a, b, d, e; 4.9 b
    o 5.5. c
  • Erosion and Weathering
    Learn the difference between erosion and weathering, how they occur, the impact they have, and how they can be prevented.
    o 2.7 b ; 2.8 d
    o 3.7 a, d; 3.10 c
    o 4.9 c, d
    o 5.7 f, g
    o 6.5 c
  • Fishes of Fairfax
    Learn about the native fish of Fairfax County, how to find them, and how to identify them.
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.6 a
    o 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5. b
  • Animal Tracking
    Learn to identify tracks of native wildlife while learning about each species.
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 3.4 a, b
    o 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 b
  • Pond Life
    Learn about the wildlife that inhabit the pond ecosystem and their life cycles.
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 2.4 a
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 a, b, c; 3.6 a; 3.8 b
    o 4.5 a, b, d, e; 4.9 a, b
    o 5.5 b, c
  • Seasonal Cycles
    Find out what plants and animals do to prepare for and adapt to the four seasons.
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a, b; 2.5 a, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.8 a, b, c
    o 4.4 d; 4.5 a, d, e; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Spring Changes
    Discover how native plants and animals change upon spring’s arrival.
    o K.7 a, b, c; K.9 c
    o 1.4 a; 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a, b; 2.5 a, b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.8 a, b, c
    o 4.4 d; 4.5 a, d, e; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Swamp and Stream Creatures
    Learn about the creatures that inhabit streams and swamps, how they and their habitats differ, and the life cycles they experience.
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a, b, c
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 c; 3.6 a; 3.8 b
    o 4.5 a, b, d, e; 4.9 a, b
    o 5.5. b, c
  • Vernal Pools
    Discover what makes vernal pools important to native animals, and learn the life cycles of the animals that inhabit those pools. 
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 c; 3.6 a; 3.8 a, b
    o 4.5 a, d, e; 4.9 a, b
    o 5.5 c
  • Food Chains
    Learn about animals that live at Hidden Pond and the complex food chain that weaves among them. 
    o K.7 a, c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 a
    o 2.4 a; 2.5 a, b
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 a, b, c; 3.6 a; 3.8 a
    o 4.5 a, c, e; 4.9 b
    o 5.5. c
  • Awesome Arthropods
    Learn about some of the biggest, wildest, and perhaps scariest arthropods from around the world.
    o K.7 c; K.9 c
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 2.4 a
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 b, c; 3.8 b
    o 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c
  • Ecology
    Learn basics of ecology, including food chains, producers, consumers, decomposers, and biotic vs abiotic.
    o K6 a, b; K.7 a
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 3.5 a, b, c
    o 4.5 c; 4.9 b
  • Wild and Weird Reptiles and Amphibians
    Learn about fascinating, incredible reptiles and amphibians alive today.
    o 1.5 b, c
    o 3.4 a, b; 3.5 b, c
    o 4.5 a; 4.9 b
    o 5.5 c

Description:  Engage in a hands on, small-scale demonstration of the erosion process while learning about how it’s caused and how to prevent it.   

  • Erosion Simulation
    o 2.7 b; 2.8 d
    o 3.7 a, b, c, d; 3.10 c
    o 3.7 a, b, c, d; 3.10 c

Description:  Learn about rocks and minerals, the layers of the earth, plate tectonics and more in this station.   

  • Rocks and Minerals Talk
    o 3.7 a, b, c, d
    o 4.9 c
    o 5.7 a, b, c, d

Public Outreach Programs

Hidden Pond offers public outreach programs that bring nature to you. Outreach topics are similar to field trip topics and can be adapted to your needs. Look through the list of field trip programs to see outreach options. Programs that can be conducted outside of the park are noted. Call the park for details at 703-451-9588.

  • Presentations are 30-60 minutes long
  • Maximum: 25 students

Fees:

  • First hour: $175
  • Each additional hour: $100
  • A $50 fee is added for each additional instructor for outreach programs that require more than two instructors.