The Watershed Rangers curriculum is a unique compilation of resources for local students. The curriculum and its accompanying resource kits utilize the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed as a place-based organizing structure for academic lessons for elementary students. The curriculum and activities are linked to national academic standards and Oregon education benchmarks. The methodology of the lessons is hands-on, multidisciplinary, inquiry-based and evaluative, introducing students to the fundamentals of scientific methods and other valuable forms of analysis and expression. Activities also encourage students to practice communication and collaboration skills, essential for enhancing participation, leadership and creativity among all young students of the 21st century.
The Watershed Rangers Curriculum Structure
- A multi-disciplinary, place-based, environmental education program appropriate for elementary school learners, grades 3, 4, 5 and 6;
- Meets national, state and local academic goals and standards;
- Focuses on natural resources, environments and issues significant to the communities of the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed region;
- Twelve thematic units;
- Provides real-world contexts and issues from which concepts and skills can be learned;
- Emphasis on active student exploration and discovery, communication and expression, individually and in group projects;
- Enhanced learning through suggested field trips, guest speakers and outdoor activities;
- Community service learning and outreach projects;
- Support and coordination of activities by the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Education program.
The twelve thematic units of the Watershed Rangers curriculum are:
- Ecosystems, Habitats and Webs;
- My Watershed;
- The Water Cycle;
- Birds and Other Animals;
- Trees and Forests;
- Native and Invasive Plants;
- Water Quality and Stream Habitat;
- Salmon and Other Fish;
- Community Services: Water, Power and Waste;
- Natural Resource Management; and
- Final Project: Protecting My Watershed.
Students learn from challenges, conflicts, cooperation and real-world solutions unique to our watershed and develop an appreciation for the complex and delicate nature of the environment and the importance of resource management.