Coffee Creek Students Learn about their Watershed
AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project (WSP) members Christy Wagner and Russ Spangler had fun this spring instructing students at Coffee Creek School about the importance of local watersheds as habitat for salmonids and other life forms. The school has nine students, with Francie Epperson teaching grades K-3 and Elizabeth Gill instructing grades 4-8.
“The students were eager to participate and the teachers were delightful to work with,” Wagner said. The mission of WSP is to “conserve, restore and enhance anadromous watersheds for future generations by linking education with high quality scientific practices.” Wagner and Spangler gave lessons about the water cycle, the life cycle of salmon, and provided fun facts about the needs and importance of the fish and their habitat, including macro-invertebrates. The RCD’s Geographic Information Systems Manager, Kelly Sheen, provided the school with hydrographic maps depicting the entire Trinity River watershed and its sub-basins, and also a localized map showing details of Coffee Creek watershed where the students live. “It’s great to see the students’ energy and the enthusiasm for learning,” Spangler said.
Students learned about topographic aspects of the maps then team-built models of their local watershed using paper mache. They also performed a theatrical production of the Life Cycle of the Salmon in full costume. Topping off the six weeks of lessons was a field trip to Coffee Creek to collect and identify macro-invertebrates as an assessment of water quality. Students learned they have a very healthy stream. This project is partially funded by the California Department of Fish & Game through its Fisheries Restoration Grant Program.