Methow Valley Watershed Watchers Program
For more than a decade, the Methow Valley Watershed Watchers program has provided a unique outdoor educational opportunity for hundreds of local school children. Since 2007, Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation has sponsored the Watershed Watchers program at the Twisp Ponds Discovery Center and restoration site near Twisp, WA.
At the Twisp Ponds site, students are actively immersed in riparian and stream restoration efforts that have succeeded in transforming floodplain once slated for housing development into a vibrant and diverse riparian forest. This land is now providing critical habitat for endangered spring Chinook salmon, threatened steelhead and bull trout, and coho salmon.
Watershed Watchers strives to connect participants with local ecosystems through expeditionary learning in a natural riparian setting.
The program promotes community connection to our riparian landscapes while increasing a sense of understanding and involvement in natural resources issues, including habitat restoration and protection.
A Unique Approach to Outdoor Education
The Watershed Watchers program blends scientific exploration, artistic expression, and hands-on restoration. This provides a foundation forlocal children to explore their home watershed and increase their understanding of their role in its ecology and sustainability. The program combines several areas of focus:
- Promoting awareness of the ecology and health of the Methow watershed;
- Engaging local school children in watershed stewardship through engagement in active habitat restoration;
- Integrating arts into watershed stewardship;
- Fostering local ownership of watershed health;
- Recognizing that social and community health, such as jobs, economic sustainability, and civic responsibility are inseparable from the ecological health of the Methow River watershed.
The program connects children with local resource professionals to explore the natural diversity of the Methow watershed. Watershed Watchers students engage in a variety of subject areas including aquatic ecology, natural history, species identification and life histories, hydrology, and water quality.
This scientifically-based curriculum is supplemented with artistic activities including botanical drawing, natural art creation, and storytelling. These activities take place within the context of a large-scale stream and riparian habitat restoration project aimed at improving watershed health and habitat conditions for ESA-listed fish species.
Coordination With Local Schools
The curriculum for Watershed Watchers has been specifically developed to provide students with a wide range of ecologically relevant subject matter. Special attention was given to developing a program that was aligned with current Washington State K-12 science standards.
The integration of these standards into the Watershed Watchers core curriculum allows teachers to integrate our curriculum into their lesson plans. To date, more than 1200 students, ranging from preschoolers to high school freshmen, have participated with Watershed Watchers. The program has grown from a one day per year event when we started, and is now more than ten days each year.
The Watershed Watchers Partnership
The Watershed Watchers program is sponsored by the Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation and supported by a dedicated group of participants that have volunteered hundreds of hours over the history of the program. Program participants include schools, local and regional nonprofit organiziations, and local, state, federal, and tribal natural resource agencies:
Please Support Watershed Watchers
If you would like to help us continue to engage kids in outdoor learning, please consider donating to our education fund. All funds received will go directly to support outdoor education projects throughout the Methow Valley.
Please make checks payable to Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation, PO Box 755, Twisp WA 98856.
Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contributions may be tax deductible — check with your financial advisor.