Waters Program Launched!

Children, students gathered for waters programThe Watershed Action Team for Education, Restoration and Stewardship (WATERS) program launched in October 2016. For its first year, the CFWWC partnered with Lincoln Middle School (LMS) teacher, Beverly Wilson, to provide an opportunity for 7th & 8th grade students who are interested in building an advanced science and natural resource background to get outside of the traditional classroom and into natures classroom. The WATERS program is funded through contributions from the McKenzie Watershed Council, EWEB, Banner Bank, Bureau of Land Management, and the City of Cottage Grove, at no cost to the school district. Lessons will take place at Row River Nature Park (RRNP), also known as East Regional Park. With its existing trails, fishing ponds, diversity of native species and pollinator garden and opportunities to observe Western pond turtle nesting sites and learn fish biology with the Row River, Carolina Creek and various ponds at arms’ reach, RRNP is a perfect location for field-based environmental education. In addition, the CFWWC and multiple partners accomplished habitat enhancement in 2010-2012 and 2016, creating additional learning opportunities and sustained community involvement and ownership of the park.

WATERS students will spend one school day each month at RRNP with CFWWC instructor, Maggie O’Driscoll and LMS teacher, Beverly Wilson. In the 2016-2017 school year, 22 students are participating. Each class of 11 students will learn about watershed topics, engage in hands-on field activities and accomplish stewardship work once a month. The watershed topics covered throughout the program include watershed basics, the riparian zone, twig and leaf identification, water quality, fish biology and macroinvertebrates. The school year will culminate with the Watershed Olympics, held annually in early June at Berggren Watershed Conservation Area east of Springfield near the McKenzie River, in which students from Eugene, Springfield, Coburg, Marcola, and now Cottage Grove, school districts will put their watershed knowledge and skills to the test. Next year, WATERS will expand to include additional local middle schools and a high school program.

To learn more about the program or to get your school involved, please contact the Maggie, Education/Outreach & GIS Specialist at the CFWWC!

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