Watershed Education Program
The Watershed Education Program – WEP – is built on the belief that education is key to fostering an ethic of stewardship for watershed resources. Our watershed education projects take on many forms to answer the needs and interests of the small, mainly rural communities in the Middle Fork Willamette watershed – everything from elementary school field trips and curriculum building to volunteer service projects and landowner workshops. Through WEP, watershed residents of all ages can learn more about what makes our watershed unique and then put thought into action through on-the-ground restoration work.
The Watershed Rangers Project is a place-based education program for elementary school students and teachers in grades 3 through 6. The WEP Coordinator works closely with participating teachers to plan classroom lessons, guest speakers, field trips, and service learning projects throughout the year. The Coordinator guides teachers in adopting the Watershed Rangers curriculum – a compilation of lessons and activities adapted specifically to the Middle Fork and aligned with Oregon state standards.
For older students, WEP provides opportunities for education that extend beyond the classroom. Whether working with an entire class or guiding an individual student in completing a service project, the WEP Coordinator serves the role of connecting students with local natural resource agencies and organizations. Volunteering with the Watershed Council is a meaningful way for young adults to connect with the community, mentor younger students, and contribute to the health and restoration of the watershed.
Community-based education takes on many forms and is meant to appeal to a wide audience of all ages. Family-friendly volunteer events, workshops for landowners, and recreational forays into the watershed are some examples of ways in which the MFWWC provides education to the local community.
Like other MFWWC programs, WEP relies on community partnerships for leadership and guidance. The Education and Outreach Committee is comprised of key community members representing local schools, city government, the United States Forest Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, Springfield Utility Board, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Committee meets bimonthly.
To find out more about the Watershed Education Program or ask how you can get involved, contact the Program Coordinator by email or call our office at 541-343-0409.