Field Trip Essentials

Field Trip Essentials

Don’t Be Caught Unprepared!

The following tips will help teachers and students get ready for your field trip to Mount St. Helens. A condensed checklist of what a well-prepared teacher and a well-prepared student should bring can be found at the bottom of this page.

Tip #1 Be Prepared for Cool Wet Weather
  • Rain jackets, warm clothes, and extra clothes are mandatory for each individual. Sturdy shoes are also necessary for any kind of hiking! Everyone student should bring a daypack for his/her extra clothes.
  • Generally speaking, for every 1,000 feet elevation gain, the temperature is 3-5°F cooler. The Johnston Ridge Observatory is 4200 feet above sea level.
  • For snow levels and road closure information call (360) 449-7800.
  • For current weather conditions visit the National Weather Service.
Tip #2 Bring Trash Bags!
  • Lunch clean-up and sometimes for wet weather!
  • Eating lunch on the bus is a good option, if it is cold and wet.
  • Trash bags can serve as makeshift ponchos for students that need some protection.
Tip #3 Bring and drink WATER!!
  • Please have each student and every chaperone bring a bottle of water with them in their backpack.
Tip #4 Prepare packets prior to your field trip.
  • Color-coded worksheets – It makes is easier for students to find worksheets.
  • Clipboards or 9×12 piece of cardboard and a metal binder clip – This provides a surface for students to write on worksheets.
  • Freezer bags big enough to fit over clipboards/cardboards – It helps keep student worksheets dry.
  • Rubber band for each clipboard/cardboard – They hold worksheets in place during windy conditions.
  • PENCILS! – Pens stop working when it rains.
Ape Cave Essentials

In addition to the tips on this page, please be aware of the following when visiting Ape Cave:

  1. The cave is completely dark.  Make sure every person has a good flashlight.  It is a good idea for teachers/chaperones to carry extra batteries.
  2. The cave is a constant 42 degrees F, and often wet and windy.  The ground is rough and uneven.  Make sure that each student is properly dressed and prepared.  Wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes.
  3. There are no amenities at Ape Cave. There is no running water.  There are no flush toilets, only pit toilets.  There is a little shelter from the elements.  It is a good idea to bring extra water, basic first aid items and hand sanitizer.

Large groups over 50 are welcome to visit Ape Cave and have a great time, however, please note that the cave can easily get over-crowded.  For a quality field trip, we recommend splitting into smaller groups and staggering entry into the cave, or coming multiple days.

The Well-Prepared Teacher
  • Meet with teachers and chaperones before your scheduled field trip
  • Review your schedule and chaperone duties and expectations
  • Personal all-weather clothing
    • Clothes
    • Sunscreen
    • Trash Bags
    • Food
    • Water
    • Worksheets
    • Clipboard/Cardboard
    • Plastic Zip Lock Bags for boards
    • Rubber bands
    • Pencils
    • Copy of registration, itinerary, lesson plan etc.
The Well-Prepared Student
  • Warm clothes (sweater, pants)
  • Rain jacket
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Extra clothes (socks, shirt, pants)
  • Sturdy shoes (flip flops, heels or sandals not recommended)
  • Two sharpened PENCILS
  • Student Packet:
    • Worksheets
    • Clipboard/cardboard
    • Zip lock bag
    • Rubber band
  • Your willingness to learn and your SMILE!!