Monday, May 2, 2011

Once Upon a Watershed

The Once Upon a Watershed (OUW) program provides hands-on watershed education, restoration, and stewardship opportunities to 4th -6th grade students in the Ventura River Watershed. The program was featured in Watershed Revolution.

Once Upon a Watershed is the only watershed-specific environmental education program available in local schools, and provides one of the only pre-paid opportunity for teachers to get their students out on field trips.

Throughout the course of the 3-year program, students learn about a diversity of topics in the natural sciences, including oak ecology, watersheds, and river processes through in-class presentations and field trips. Students get the opportunity to take field trips to places such as the Ojai Meadows Preserve, Confluence Preserve, Ventura River mouth, Foster Park, and various other spots along the Ventura River. On all field trips, students are given the opportunity to contribute to real ongoing restoration projects, often by planting native plants or picking up trash. In this way, students are empowered to help restore our open spaces.

On a recent field trip to the mouth of the river I asked the students if they knew what Surfrider does. One student said "Scoop the Poop!" This is a quote from "Sea to Summit", a video produced by the Surfrider Foundation and shown in the classroom part of the program. I think they were stoked to have a real 'Surfrider' talk to their class at the beach!

Several of the kids teamed up to remove a tire and tent half buried in the estuary. It took a half hour of digging and pulling...

Last month Once Upon a Watershed was informed that their 3-year federal grant has been withdrawn after the first year - a victim of the federal budget cuts.

For more information or to help support this important program, please see