School Based Watershed Education - Upper Feather River

Feather River Region

School-Based Watershed Education—Upper Feather River

  • Location: Upper Feather River Watershed, Plumas County
  • Project Sponsor: Feather River CRM, Plumas Unified School District, Feather River College, Plumas National Forest
  • Time Frame: Ongoing
  • Project Objectives:
    • Promote watershed education and awareness for students from elementary grades through college level

The Feather River CRM, together with several partner agencies and organizations, has established and is implementing a variety of school-based educational activities with the overall goal of expanding watershed education and awareness throughout the Upper Feather River Watershed. These activities are described below.

Sixth Grade Watershed Course

Beginning in 2004, the Feather River CRM and Plumas Unified School District began a watershed program organized around the idea that we have a back yard and a front yard. The back yard is where the students reside in the headwaters of the Feather River Watershed. The 6th graders study their million-acre backyard to learn where they live and how water interacts with the natural and cultural history of their home through a 4-day outdoor education camp and monthly field trips. The students then turn their attention to the front yard, the land that lies before them as they go downriver. Through a 5-day Plumas to the Pacific event they follow the river as it meanders to its ultimate destination of the Pacific Ocean. Students see the numerous ways the river is used, the ways it is changed, and the ways it affects the land and the people it passes. Every 6th grade student in the district participates in this program. Students, parents, teachers, and administration all have expressed a unanimous desire to integrate this program into the permanent curriculum, but future funding is uncertain. The Plumas to the Pacific 6th grade program responds to a growing disconnect of youth from the natural world. Even in rural areas, young people have increasingly less familiarity and understanding of the natural environment, and this program provides a strong stewardship relationship between water and future generations of California.

Stewardship and Classroom Education

The Feather River CRM coordinates with local high school classes and Feather River Community College to involve students in a number of the CRM and Plumas National Forest restoration projects. This includes site visits and collecting native plant and seed materials for project revegetation. The Feather River CRM has given numerous presentations/demonstrations in local elementary classrooms that include water quality and how to keep drinking water safe, properties of water, identification of aquatic insects as indicators of water quality, the water cycle, and protecting riparian areas.

Trout in the Classroom

The Feather River CRM, Trout Unlimited, and DFG have established the Trout in the Classroom program in schools throughout Plumas County, providing participating classrooms with supplies, curriculum, teacher training, and support.

Youth Environmental Stewardship Summit

In spring 2009, the first Youth Environmental Stewardship Summit (YESS) was held in partnership with Feather River College. This was a youth watershed stewardship conference targeting 7th–12th grade students and some 55 teachers in a day-long event that included a poster session, keynote speakers, presentations, and outings. It is hoped that this will be a catalyst for further regional collaboration and become an annual event.

Watershed Awareness through Education, Recreation, and Stewardship

WATERS started in 2001 as an Education Committee to further community- and school-based watershed education programs. This committee evolved into a larger, more encompassing group of educational partners and meets quarterly to share, discuss, and coordinate watershed education efforts throughout the Upper Feather region.