Dedicated to the protection and restoration of       the ecosystems of the Umpqua Watershed and beyond through education, training, advocacy and ecologically sound stewardship.

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Initiated in the summer of 2013, the Umpqua Natural Resources Pathway Program is a multi-year, tiered program that allows youth (16 and 19 years old) in Douglas County, Oregon to gain career-specific skills in the natural resources field while progressing through a gradually more rigorous course of training and education. The Pathway program involves multiple partners

to train and employ 12 youth into two crews, one with the BLM and the other with the USFS led by Umpqua Watersheds.

The Pathway program allows the youth to gain life-changing experiences in natural resources technology as they assemble important ecological data in activities that agency scientists are currently not funded to collect. Such activities include:

The ultimate outcome of the program is to ensure a pathway towards natural resources careers for at-risk youth through a “Learn, Earn, and Serve” model of education, skillset development, and work opportunities.

The “Learn” aspect of the model relates to the hard skillsets the crew members will acquire during the primary activities and Career Education Days. These skillsets will vary depending on the activity, but we envision that all crew members will acquire a strong familiarity with: data collection techniques; report writing; using handheld GPS units; orienteering using maps and compass; and use of handtools. In addition, the activities will also help crew members to develop their soft skillsets including communication, leadership, and interpersonal relationship.

The Learn aspect also includes opportunities to acquire college credits in natural resources-related courses at the Umpqua Community College (UCC). Our program will require the six USFS crew members to take a Field Botany class and a Wildlife Biology class (with tuition waived by UCC) during the spring term, and the knowledge gained will be utilized in the field that summer for USFS activities.

The “Earn” aspect of the model relates to the seven weeks of summer pay in addition to the college credits earned that will help lead to certificates or degrees in natural resource disciplines.

The “Serve” aspect of the model involves the crew members working with BLM and USFS professionals to provide them with “deliverables” in the form of reports and data sets from the activities. In addition, crew members will serve the community by working on public lands, specifically in the Umpqua Basin.


Based on an Environmental Education curriculum developed in 2013 by Umpqua Watersheds’ AmeriCorps*VISTA member, Roland Wang, Science Friday at McGovern Elementary, Science Wednesday at Eastwood Elementary, and Science Monday at the Roseburg YMCA continues to be a high point in UW's Education efforts. Science Friday was funded by the Charlotte Martin Foundation and Walmart Foundation. The program encourages scientific discovery with hands-on experiments and outdoor exploration. Activities include:

In April 2015, the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation provided funding for UW to include a Climate-Change science component into the Science Friday program, which will provide the additional elements of original data collection and analysis, and 21st-century technology incorporation into the curriculum.


The Wilderness Curriculum is a literary arts curriculum developed by Umpqua Watersheds AmeriCorps*VISTA member, Roland Wang, in 2014, with grant funding from Bessie Minor Swift Foundation. The goal of the program is for high school English students to learn about the concept and evolution of wilderness in America by reading and critiquing works by American nature writers such as John Muir and Aldo Leopold.

The program was piloted in 2014 with students at the Phoenix Charter School in Roseburg, Oregon. The program was expanded upon by our AmeriCorps State/National member, Katrina Keleher, into a Wilderness Appreciation program which involves studying classic literature while introducing students to outdoor exploration.


Science Olympiad is a national an American elementary school, middle school and high school team competition in which students compete in ‘events' pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Over 6,700 teams from 50 U.S. states compete each year.

Umpqua Watersheds AmeriCorps State/National member, Katrina Keleher, established a Science Olympiad at Douglas High School in Winston, Oregon in 2014. The team competed in the Oregon Science Olympiad state tournament on April 18, 2015 and won second place in the ‘Wright Stuff’ event.


In 2014, UW piloted an environmental art program called "Forest Thursday" at the YMCA in Canyonville, where environmental science and social concepts were taught and examined with hands-on art projects. The program continues to evolve and is being taught in Roseburg at the Boys & Girls Club after-school programs.

Umpqua Watersheds is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

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