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Field Trips

Our environmental education model is service learning-based, because we believe in the power of learning by doing.

How it works:

Student volunteers plant trees or remove invasive species at our restoration project sites. We deepen their learning outcomes through educational activities suited for the specific project and site. We always pair hands-on work with an interesting curriculum that is fun for the class!

Field-based, hands-on education:

  • Builds an ethic of stewardship
  • Creates place-based investment in nature
  • Helps to restore degraded habitat.

All field trips are FREE (transportation not included).

All field trips are subject to season, availability, and class size.

Contact [email protected] if you would like to learn more about our program, or set up a field trip for your class.

Service

Native plantings

Plant native plants with JCWC! From trees to shrubs to herbaceous plugs to wildflower seed mixes! A small planting lesson is conducted in the beginning showcasing the best planting practices along with tool safety. Some plant ID will also be covered. This is subject to availability and season (but we will try our best to accommodate!)

Invasive species removal

Remove tough invasive plants including Armenian blackberry, English Ivy, garlic mustard, and much more. Tool safety and invasive removal techniques are conducted in the beginning. Some plant ID will also be covered.

Mulching

Place mulch around native plantings to help them survive. Tool safety is conducted in the beginning.

Trash pickup

Remove trash left behind in our natural areas that harm wildlife, prevent plants from growing and polluting the creek. Tool safety is conducted in the beginning. 

Learning

Amphibian Surveys

Students will engage in hands-on surveys for native amphibians along Johnson Creek. They will learn amphibian ID for adults and egg masses, how to navigate the water, and how to do a survey.

Program Time: 2-3 hours

Recommended grade level: High School, but can be tailored for middle school students

Season: February-April

Animal Tracks

Students will learn how to identify different animals in the watershed by their tracks, as well as how feet help animals and why tracks are important for scientists.

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: Elementary, but can be tailored to older students

Season: Anytime

Beaver Survey

Students will learn how to conduct a beaver survey, from identifying beaver markings and signs to collecting data and photo points. Students will gain an understanding of how beavers affect the landscape and learn how to encourage beaver activity along Johnson Creek.

Add on: This can be paired with an in-class, 1 hour presentation about beavers and how to use our data sheets

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: High School, but can be tailored for middle school and elementary school students

Season: Anytime

Birding

Students will explore the beautiful world of live birds in the watershed.

Basic bird identification will be taught based on four factors:

  • auditory
  • habitat
  • visual
  • behavior.

This method helps students learn some of the most common birds in their area. Students will also learn how birds fit into the ecosystem and the important roles that they play. 

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: K-12

Season: Anytime

Ecology Web Scavenger Hunt

Students will start by analyzing the map in the visitor center at Powell Butte Natural Area and learn how to identify a watershed and its inhabitants. Students will then learn the impacts human activities have on this area and what can be done to improve these conditions. Students will then search for certain features on Powell Butte and discover how they are connected to each other. 

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: Elementary School

Season: Anytime

First Foods

Students will learn about native first foods and edible plants through Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). This is in partnership with local non-profit, Wisdom of the Elders (WOTE), who record and preserve traditional cultural values, oral history, prophesy and other messages of guidance from indigenous elders in order to regenerate their culture for future generations of native peoples.

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: K-12

Season: Anytime, but subject to the availability of WOTE

Macroinvertebrates Survey

Students will learn about the tiny but mighty aquatic creatures in riparian systems, how they are used in a biological assessments, and their role in the food web and stream health. Students will engage in water safety, learn where macroinvertebrates live, and how to conduct a macroinvertebrate survey sample. We focus on identifying three groups of macroinvertebrates and measure their sensitivity levels. Students then determine the health of a specified “reach” of Johnson Creek. Our subsequent debrief covers stream pollution and mitigation.

Program Time: 1.5 hours

Recommended grade level: Middle School, but can be tailored for High School students

Season: Anytime, but recommended in warmer weather

Nature Journaling

Students will make observations of their surrounding area in the Johnson Creek Watershed and record what they find in their nature journal. We cover the basics of nature journaling, data recording, plant identification, and observation techniques.

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: K-12

Season: Anytime

Pollinator Surveys

Students will conduct their own pollinator surveys in Johnson Creek Watershed. Students will come away with a deeper understanding of pollinators, including: how pollinators benefit Johnson Creek, the importance of native pollinators, basic pollinator identification, how to set up a transect and pace, and how we can encourage pollinator activity. 

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: K-12

Season: Spring

Riparian Observation

Students will engage in an experiential learning experience by observing a riparian area in Johnson Creek Watershed Council. Students will learn about riparian areas and their functions, as well as how to identify common riparian plants and the impact of pollution on these ecosystems.

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: K-12

Season: Anytime

Salmon Survey

Students will conduct a salmon survey along Johnson Creek! They will be introduced to the salmon life cycle, native salmon identification, how to conduct a survey and record findings, how to examine a fish carcass, and water safety.

Program Time: 2-3  hours

Recommended grade level: High School, but can be tailored for middle school students

Season: Fall and Summer

Vegetation Percent Cover Surveys

Students will take a deeper dive into plant monitoring by calculating the percent cover of certain quadrats within a riparian area. This includes the participation of setting up transects and photo points (optional). After the data is collected, students will determine the health of the riparian area based on the communities of native and invasive plants present.

Program Time: 2-3  hours

Recommended grade level: High School

Season: Anytime, but recommended in spring

Water Quality Testing

Students will learn how water quality affects native wildlife in the Johnson Creek Watershed. Students will assess Johnson Creek based on four criteria, then interpret the health of the tested reach of JC. Our debrief covers mitigation for poor water quality.

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: Middle or High School

Season: Anytime

Indoor-Learning

Web of Life

Create a food web and food chains by representing different organisms that live along Johnson Creek. Learn how energy travels between organisms, differences between herbivores and carnivores, how diversity can prevent ecosystem collapse, and how organisms are dependent on each other. 

Program Time: 45 minutes

Recommended grade level: Elementary

Season: Anytime

Virtual Watershed Tour

Students will learn the fundamentals of the Johnson Creek (JC) watershed by taking a virtual tour from the headwaters to the confluence. 

Program Time: 2 hours

Recommended grade level: Middle or High School

Season: Anytime

Watershed Model

Students will explore the idea of what a watershed is through a hands on model testing. We will test water pollution and other elements by pouring liquid over surfaces that replicate a mini ecosystem. Students will then learn how to prevent pollution in different land uses in the Johnson Creek watershed.

Program Time: 1 hour

Recommended grade level: Elementary or Middle School

Season: Anytime