Umpqua Watersheds Blog

Education, Education-Committee Chair updates

Education Committee Update

Published June 9th, 2024 in Education, Education-Committee Chair updates

by Cindy Haws


The Education Committee has had an incredible spring, with increased outreach and education opportunities for a variety of K-12 students, even reaching outside of our traditional geographical area. The inclusion of the stream table and water table in our training has been particularly well-received, offering teachers practical, hands-on tools to enhance their classroom instruction. We’ve had the opportunity to leave the stream table at several different locations for extended days, giving teachers the flexibility to use it to complement their lessons within their timeframe with real-world models. Why must we always teach our children with books? The stream table allows students the opportunity to see a stream in action, observing erosion, the development of curves and bends in a river channel over time, the movement of different sizes and types of sediment by flowing water, and the relationship between surface water and the water table. With the ability of students to manipulate the stream by adding trees, vegetation, debris, and rocks, they can try to replicate the engineering of beavers, who have influenced ecological dynamics for millennia, for the better.


Taking the helm of the annual Eastwood Nature Week has enabled us to optimize our outreach and education offerings to all the 3rd graders of Roseburg. Our first year was an incredible success, providing an outdoor experience for 450 kids. We offered a total of 9 sessions: Salmon and Chemoreception, Lamprey and Native American Culture, Animal Adaptations, Birding Walk, Stream Hydrology/Water Catchment, Umpqua Early People and Possibilities, The Wonder of Trees, Ecosystems and Interdependency, Oak Trees: the keystone species. We had the community join us in our effort by providing water for our students, lunches for our teachers, and supplies for our activities. Volunteers put in over 300 hours for the effort, and everyone went home with a smile on their face, new knowledge, and a love for their watershed.


We’ve implemented a new strategy of on-the-ground educational opportunities that blend education with real restoration work, bringing volunteers, teachers, students, and interested community members into the field to survey for endangered animals, identify and remove invasive plants and animals, and collaborate to make a tangible difference. We are expanding beyond our traditional ‘classroom’ educational opportunities as we embark on a 100 mile beaver survey in  the Umpqua watershed.

The Education Committee has brought our demonstration materials to a variety of gatherings and forums, including conferences, schools, camps, and community events such as Farmers’ Markets, the YMCA Healthy Kids Day, and Earth Day celebrations. With the recent purchase of a trailer dedicated to housing and transporting the stream table and water table; the portability, convenience, and effectiveness of the stream table have been significantly improved. With that portability, we were able to bring the stream table to students outside of our traditional geographical area, such  as providing students in the rural high desert country of Oregon an opportunity to learn about beavers and the role they traditionally played in the desert country.


Cindy Haws visited Days Creek School with the stream table and participated in the school’s outdoor “Rubber Boots Day.” Our program connected with 60 3rd-5th grade students, learning where their water comes from, as well as, processes that store and clean water.


As our opportunities expand, we are always looking for additional volunteers to extend our outreach. Come join us!



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