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Teaching Green: Field Trips & Presentations
Bring Environmental Education to Life

Here you’ll find ideas and resources for field trips and classroom presentations and assemblies on environmental topics.

Field Trips

Recycling Center Field Trips
Every week, your recyclables get picked up with your garbage and delivered to a Materials Recovery Facility. Do you want to know how these recyclables are separated so they can then be made into new products?

Take a tour of a Materials Recovery Facility. Watch and learn how paper, plastic, glass and other recyclables are sorted and processed before becoming new products like park benches, fleece clothing, toys, and much more.

Contact one of the following San José garbage and recycling haulers to schedule a tour:
California Waste Solutions

Phone: (408) 213-7800 x357
  • Tours available Monday through Friday by appointment only.
Green Waste Recovery

Phone: (408) 283-4800
  • Tours are available Monday through Friday by appointment only. Visitors must by 18 years of age or older.
Happy Hollow
The City of San José operates this conservation-centered outdoor adventure for families and children. Group rates are available for groups of 14 people or more. Learn more about Happy Hollow programs.

FREE field trip transportation – The Class Pass Program by VTA
This popular program allows teachers within Santa Clara County the opportunity to take their students on field trips traveling by VTA buses and light rail for free. Each teacher is eligible to receive up to two “class passes” every school year. This allows students, teachers and chaperones to ride VTA buses and light rail to museums, cultural events, libraries, and other popular destinations for free.

Classroom Presentations and Assemblies

Composting in the Classroom
The Santa Clara County Composting Education Program provides instructional support to teachers and administrators of Santa Clara County. This includes, but is not limited to, classroom worm composting demonstrations, assistance in establishing composting sites, as well as, assistance diverting lunchroom waste. The goal is to engage with educators of Santa Clara County to help them reduce their schools contribution to the waste stream.

For more information, visit the Santa Clara County Composting Education Program Composting in Schools webpage or call the ROTLINE at (408) 918-4640.

Creeks Come to Class
In this popular, curriculum-based program, San José Park Rangers visit classrooms and conduct exciting activities focused on preventing pollution to our neighborhood creeks. This FREE program is most appropriate for school-age children in grades three through six; however, some accommodations may be made for younger groups. San José Park Rangers can also set up for science fairs or small group school assemblies.

Creeks Come to Class presentations are currently on hold until early 2019. Please check back then for presentation request information.

Peregrine Falcon Assembly
The Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group (SCPBRG) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, would like to host an assembly at your school to teach students in grades three and above about the beautiful, but endangered, peregrine falcon.

The 45-minute assembly features a field biologist with a tame peregrine falcon (tethered to a perch), and covers topics on careers in conservation biology, peregrine falcon natural history, and the research group’s role in helping with the recovery of the peregrine falcon from near extinction. Currently, presentations also focus on the falcons that nest on Bay Area buildings, including San José City Hall, where there are “Nest Cams” set up making the activities of falcons visible to anyone with an internet connection. Presentation slides accompany the speaker and are narrated to tell a story of the science and action being implemented to save this species. A projection screen and a darkened room for viewing the screen are required for the presentation.

Visit the SCPBRG website for more information on SCPBRG, peregrine falcons, and Nest Cams. To request an assembly email Glenn Stewart. Assemblies can accommodate 100-150 students at a time.

Please note: Springtime is an extremely busy season for SCPBRG. In order to secure a Peregrine Falcon Assembly, please send your requests as soon as possible before April.

Recycle Plus Collection Company Presentations
San José’s garbage, recycling, and yard trimmings haulers can bring educational resources straight to you through classroom presentations that teach students the benefits of recycling, reducing, and reusing. These presentations are geared to schools in San José only.

For more information or to schedule a classroom presentation, contact one of the following collection companies:

  • California Waste Solutions
  • California Waste Solutions (CWS) collects recycling materials for residents in north, east, and south San José. CWS would like to visit your classroom to teach students about the importance of recycling. CWS will tailor presentation learning materials to captivate any grade level and to meet any special needs. The length of presentations varies by grade level:
    • Pre-school = 30 minutes
    • Elementary = 45 minutes
    • Middle-school and High-school = 1 hour

    To schedule a presentation, contact California Waste Solutions at or call (408) 213-7800 x357.

  • Garden City Sanitation
  • Garden City Sanitation provides garbage collection service to residents in downtown, and north, east, and south San José. They offer unique presentation opportunities for classrooms of all grade levels.

    If you teach preschool aged-children or kindergarteners, a Garden City Sanitation representative would love to come to your classroom to do a book-reading and short activity. The 20-minute reading and activity can cover topics such as waste reduction, litter prevention, recycling or composting.

    For grades 1 through 12, presentation topics and length can be customized to meet the teacher’s needs and the students’ interests. Previous classroom visits have included presentations about environmental legislation such as plastic grocery bag and polystyrene bans, waste reduction goals, jobs in the waste management industry, and even hands-on activities that allow students to complete creative projects through the reuse of common materials usually thought of as trash.

    For further details, visit the Garden City Sanitation website. To schedule a presentation, email Garden City or call (408) 988-4500.

  • GreenTeam of San José
  • GreenTeam offers fun and informative presentations on a variety of topics, including the basics of recycling, what happens to your recyclables after they are collected, buying “green,” and more. Content is customized according to student age or grade level. Presentations are available to pre-school, K-12, and college students. ESL classes, daycare groups and home-schooled students are also encouraged to request a presentation. Presentations typically run 20 minutes to an hour long. To schedule a presentation, email customer service or call (408) 282-4400.

  • GreenWaste Recovery
  • GreenWaste Recovery provides yard trimming collection and street sweeping for all of San José. GreenWaste Recovery’s hands-on learning experience for students is sure to get them excited about recycling! GreenWaste Recovery offers a variety of presentations for pre-school, K-12, and college students, including truck demonstrations, interactive games, and story times. Presentation topics and length can be customized to meet the teacher’s needs and the students’ interests. To schedule a presentation, call (408) 283-4800 or email .