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  • Writer's pictureSimone Tenorio

Oh, the Wonders of Watersheds!

SWEP kicked off the 2023-24 school year with our Wonders of Watersheds programming. Over the course of 5 exciting weeks, SWEP field instructors brought this relevant and vital watershed education program to students at Tahoe Lake, Kings Beach, Truckee, Glenshire elementary schools and Sierra Expeditionary Learning School.

Wonders of Watersheds is a unique program, combining classroom environmental science lessons with service learning experiences. The watershed-themed science lessons explore issues that impact the Lake Tahoe & Truckee River Watershed, while the service learning projects offer students the experience to take action through hands-on, outdoor service projects focused on improving the health of our watershed.

SWEP's Wonders of Watersheds program is a comprehensive TK/K-5th program. The goal is for students to have the opportunity to revisit the topic of watershed health each year, continually building upon their understanding of the watershed, its unique attributes, human impact on it, and how to protect and restore it.

From lessons on What is a Watershed? using a 3-D watershed model, to learning about the water cycle, invasive weed removal, planting native seeds, storm drain monitoring, and using macro-invertebrates as a bio indicator of watershed health, lessons are designed to be interactive, engaging, relevant, and most of all, FUN!

Another wonderful aspect of the Wonders of Watersheds program is the incorporation of student art as advocacy for native species and local restoration efforts. Students learn about Lake Tahoe's native fish, the Lahontan cutthroat trout, as well as concerted efforts of local environmental organizations and committed volunteers to protect our precious waters and restore critical wetland habitat for the benefit of sensitive wildlife species and for the enjoyment of our outdoor community. Students design their very own native fish art to create murals at their schools, inspiring fellow students and their families to attend our local stewardship day, the annual Truckee River Day & Fair. This year's event took place on October 15th and was a big success!

SWEP's mission is to promote stewardship by connecting students to their local community and environment through relevant watershed education and service-learning projects – and the Wonders of Watersheds programming does just that! Our hope is to instill in students a sense of connection, appreciation, and responsibility, giving rise to future stewards of, and activists for, the Tahoe-Truckee Region.

Thank you to the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District for supporting SWEP programing!

Thank you to our partners and funders, the Truckee River Watershed Council, Town of Truckee, and the CA Department of Water Resources for collaborating on programs, projects and initiatives that benefit our local watershed.


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