Watershed Explorers Program
Check out our field trips!
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. Solano RCD's Welcome to the Watershed Program 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. A 2016 State Parks Habitat Conservation Fund grant will allow us to begin piloting an additional fall field trip to a trial group of classrooms in fall 2018. This field trip will focus on phenology and citizen science, and tie into the existing Watershed Explorers Curriculum. We will be working with our funding partners to expand the second field trip to all interested classrooms by the end of our four-year grant term.