Watershed Explorers Program
Teachers, click here or on the address below to register for the Spring 2017 Watershed Explorers program
Please note the city specific lesson and field trip availability:
Check out our field trips!
In 2014, 1,912 students from elementary schools in every Solano County city took part in a four-hour field trip to explore an open space area in their home watershed. The children were joined by more than 273 teachers and parents to become the 8-year old program's largest class ever. Lagoon Valley Park in Vacaville (new to the program this year), Hanns Park in Vallejo and Rockville Park in Fairfield hosted intrepid third graders for an exciting field trip to an open space park right around the corner from their homes and schools.
Rockville Park, 2014
The Watershed Explorers program introduces participants to the outdoor, natural world. It helps children build an awareness of the wild places Solano County is lucky to have in abundance. After four in-class lessons and a four-hour field trip, children who participate in our program:
- understand the impact of storm water on their watershed, particularly the impacts of oil, chemicals and human debris in that storm water;
- know stewardship practices they and their family can practice to protect the watershed;
- understand the difference between native and non-native, invasive plants;
- know at least one pollinator species the study watershed is habitat to.
Lagoon Valley Park, 2014
In the classroom, teachers use Watershed Explorers program manuals to prepare students for their experience through lessons and activities, including:
- making a paper watershed model to observe what happens when oil or other contaminants are improperly disposed of somewhere in the watershed;
- learning how water flows;
- calculating the number of gallons of water they use each day and discussing ways to lessen their consumption;
- drawing the life cycle of a plant, reading about pollinators and discussing phenology and its relevance to the interconnectedness of humans, animals, weather and our environment.
At their field trip site, students become scientific explorers. They are assigned tasks and equipped with instruments for data collection: a journal, clipboard, magnifying lens, and binoculars.
Rockville Park, 2014
Students set out on a hike into the open space, stopping first at an interactive learning experience about the relationship between human behaviors in urban areas and the impact of those behaviors in wild or open space. A hands-on activity provides students with a three-dimensional visual of the watershed and allows them to see how urban runoff enters nearby storm drains and ends up in the Sacramento River, Suisun Marsh, Carquinez Straight or San Pablo Bay, depending on where students live.
As students explore, they look for traces of birds, insects and mammals, hiking through open spaces only miles from their home. Using the program journal, they identify plant species, learn how some plants are pollinated and learn how seed dispersal works for different plants. Program educators help students observe how everything in nature fits together to create the systems that support the plants, the wildlife, and the people who share the planet.
Hanns Park, 2014
Generous funding from the community and State make this program free to all participants. Our Habitat Conservation Fund Grant enables us to provide each child with a 39-page Solano County Outdoors! guide to other open spaces and parks they can explore with their families and friends.