Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fall Events

We have lots of fun events coming up!  Check out our flyer for school and youth group visits and birthday parties!

September 22nd Rocks and Fossils 11:30-1 at the RWP Botanical Center
September 28th Fish Kites at Colt State Park and many more activities along the East Bay Bike Path 12-3
October 5th Spooky Spiders 10-12 at Blackstone Park
October 8th and 22nd, 2-4, Recycled Jewelry at HeArtSpot.
October 26th School Garden Conference

Sunday, September 1, 2019

New Frog Stuff!

In case you didn't know, I'm also an artist.  After 3 years of research and creation (while working full time and raising a kid), my Frog vs. Toad game and trading card series is finally complete!  10 illustrated frog and toad cards with range, habitat, call, diet, defense, and other trivia, blank templates to make your own, frog vs. toad infographic, and two fun games: photo i.d. game and instructions to use trading cards as trivia game.  If you want one, you can download it here: Teacherspayteachers.com/Store/15-Minute-Field-Trips I have physical copies if you'd prefer.  Message me in comments.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Clam Digging in Narragansett

Today my daughter and I had our first experience clam digging.  We met up with Jodi King, quahog fisherman for life, Kim Sullivan of DEM, Azure from Shellfish Management, a host of volunteers, and several families to try our hands at raking up some clams!  Jodi had started when he was 8.  Now 54, he had lots of information and stories to share about like around Narragansett Bay. (Check out Shellfishri.com.)

Rhode Island is a small state, but with 384 miles of coastland, it truly is the "Ocean State".  The bay is cleaner than it was in the past and constant vigilance helps it get even better.  A recent surprise rainfall this week closed the Warwick location that was planned, bringing us to Narragansett Beach off Beach Road.  When it rains, untreated pollutants are carried into storm drains and empty into the bay.  This can happen with as little as a 3/4" inch of rain! Pollutants can include animal waste, oil from cars, fertilizer, and more that can all be prevented.  New rain collectors keep the flow into the bay down and that water is treated.  But the next time you think about washing your car in the driveway and hosing off the suds into the street, don't.

Back at the beach on a 95 degree day, I put on SPF 100 and enjoyed the shade of a great oak tree.  (I found tiny mushrooms around it.  Trees cool air by as much as 20 degrees.  A city with hot asphalt would need 40% tree canopy coverage to reduce the warming effect of the asphalt.)  The water was shining.  Jodi explained how the clams look black when you dig them up because they've been in the mud.  They turn gray to white after being washed and exposed for 2-3 days.  They'll keep for 30 days in the refrigerator.  As a veteran shell fisherman, Jodi has seen lots of change and sticks to good practices (such as staying with legal sizes).  His career has let him buy a house, Corvette, and large truck, so he calls the quahogs his "Black Gold", as well as his ship.

After a few more very entertaining and even very sad stories, we were released into the water.  My twelve year old had pulled out her headphones and put her phone down listening to Jody.  Now she trudged along tiredly after her sleepover.  We were out there for an hour and she couldn't believe it had been that long as she was having too much fun pulling hermit crabs up with her feet.  We found at least a dozen of them, two whelks, three spider crabs, and one top neck-sized clam.  

Even though our clam digging wasn't very lucrative, it was a great experience.  Jodi served raw clams on the shell and steamed ones with his recipe of olive oil, basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes (plus two ice cubes to steam).  It was all delicious!!! Jodi was even interviewed by Bobby Flay (Episode 28) when the famous chef wanted to get the flavor of Rhode Island.  As I only went home with one clam and one whelk, I carefully steamed them plain so I could savor their flavor without influence.  I had never had a whelk before, but every bit was tasty.  Butter and garlic would only enhance it.  I also went home with some iridescent oyster shells, Wampum purple in the quahog shells, a scallop shell, and a colorful horned snail (whelk) shell after I ate it.  

Quahog in RI, clam everywhere else!

Whelk, snail, limpet, delicious!  Should be 5.5".

One of MANY hermit crabs, who borrow discarded shells.

Spider crab.

Horseshoe crab, almost unchanged in its evolution across millenia.
Barnacles on the horseshoe crab.

Serious face, but fun was had!

These ALL have hermit crabs in them!

Bringing the crab back to her home.

This one wants a BIGGER home!

If you want to try clam digging, you can collect a half bushel a day (4 gallons) of one inch or larger clams as a Rhode Island resident.  Call 401-222-2900 to make sure your spot is safe to shellfish that day.  Jody does classes with DEM, the Brown BELL program, URI, and more.  The state needs new, younger shell fishermen and women to take up the trade.  In 2003 there were only three oyster farms and now there are eighty!  Even if you don't like seafood, clams can filter (and clean) 25 gallons a day and oysters can filter 55 gallons a day!  These little guys help clean our bay and provide food, work, and careers for us.  

Another way to protect the bay is to vote and use your voice.  Rhode Islanders kept out a huge seaport in 2003 and fought against off-shore drilling.  Protect this valuable resource!  It's worth more than the occasional pearls.  Water is life.

You can also support 15 Minute Field Trips in its mission to empower youth to advocate for the environment through art and action.  Hit the "DONATE" button at the top right.  We are a 501(c)3 non-profit.


Jody King

My take-home.

Is it the biggest?

Even bigger! Clams add 4 rings a year.  Jody found one
bigger than his hand that was 125 years old!!!

Lunch time!

My whelk out of the shell.

Whelk, snail, limpet, delicious!  Should be 5.5".

Friday, July 5, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Workshops and More!

WORKSHOPS with 15 Minute Field Trips™
Contact Melissa at 15minutefieldtrips@gmail.com

Most workshops two hours at $5/participant.  Includes materials, set-up, running activity, and clean up.  We come to you!  Other options include guided hikes at various locations and custom-made STEAM activities tied to NGSS. 

Download resources at 

15 Minute Field Trips   
WEBSITE: 15minutefieldtrips.blogspot.com

Fish Kites (Koi Nobori)

The Japanese celebrate the strength of their children by flying colorful carp streamers or kites in May.  Celebrate your strength: physically, emotionally, and mentally, by building and decorating a rectangular prism "wind sock".  We'll also look at patterns in local Rhode Island fish, from tiny golden shiners to long Northern pikes, pumpkinseeds, rainbow trout, and more!

Rock Stars (additional $15 charge per workshop on top of $5/participant)

Three rotating stations: 
1. Explore rocks and fossils and do a fossil texture rub with crayon.  
2. Use rocks (colored chalk) to tell a story (Mastery journey?) in the style of Anasazi petroglyphs (black paper and/or outside on sidewalk).
3. Paint "GOALS" or "Inspirational messages) on rocks to leave in public places or have at home. 

Self-Defense Strategies

Learn how animals defend themselves through armor, speed, and camouflage.  Create a chimera (mixed-up animal) with defenses of their choice.  Includes many visuals, crayons, colored pencils, markers, paper, and a live pill bug petting zoo.

Frog vs. Toad Slime Wars

Learn about the 10 frog and toad species in RI, design a game card, and get ready for battle trivia as we pit frog against toad for the best survival skills!  Winning team gets to pick the color of the slime, which we'll make after the battle.  Includes blank cards and colored pencils, visuals, audio samples to learn frog and toad calls, and zip lock bags to take home slime.

Eyes on Owls

Learn about local owls in a guided drawing lesson, an owl detective game, and dissecting owl pellets!  Helps build vocabulary and analyze clues through shapes, colors, and patterns.  Requires 2 weeks advance booking for supplies.  Additional $4 per owl pellet, which can be one per participant or one per group of four.


Gotta catch those bugs!  Learn about the orders of insects and what jobs they do while drawing from real preserved specimens.  Take this learning outside by catching insects and identifying them with field guides.  This program is offered spring, summer, and fall and requires advanced booking if done at a site different from your own.

Ant Detective

Look closely!  Ants are everywhere and we hardly notice!  Using hoops and string, we’ll look from an ant’s point of view and tally up behaviors we observe.  We’ll then create an underground treasure map with tunnels, worms, and more hidden underground.

Trash Turtles

Bring in clean “trash” to repurpose into turtles while learning how trash affects oceans and streams.  Get inspired by the shell patterns of local species!  

Ban the Bag

Create a “ripple” effect by painting a reusable bag in the style of Huichol yarn paintings, with ocean or freshwater animals with lots of water ripples.  Use this bag proudly whenever you shop and avoid single-use plastic.  Get tips on more ways to reduce single use plastics, one step at a time!  Bags and other materials provided.

Climate Change Kachina

Learn about climate change and weather through a fun card game and Kachina spirit guides, such as wise Mongwu the owl, Badger the plant and medicine expert, Crow Mother who shares resources, and Cold-Bringing Woman who saves water for spring by turning it into snow.  Create your own Kachina with repurposed materials.

Fish Frenzy

Learn about local fresh and salt-water fish.  Create fish prints (Gyotaku) using repurposed, post-consumer Styrofoam trays and ink.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Come Join Us!

We have lots of new adventures planned and I've been too busy to blog here.  But STUFF IS HAPPENING!!!! 

Check out our FB and Instagram pages under 15 Minute Field Trips for more updates.

Visit THIS site for access to resources, as well as the 15 Minute Field Trips shop.

May 18th we'll be at Roger Williams Park Zoo from 10-3 making art and discussing how to protect frogs and the American burying beetle.

Starting in July, we'll have FREE art activities followed by guided park explorations at 10 a.m. the first Saturday of the month at the Blackstone Park in Providence, RI.  See flyer below.