Watershed Learning Project - Fifth Grade

The Watershed Learning Project provides nine days of outdoor scientific learning about watershed issues for public school fifth grade students. Students gain appreciation and awareness of the diversity of life around them and learn to value the need for conservation. In this program, students begin to realize their power as individuals to make a positive difference in the world. Leadership principles are skillfully integrated throughout the curriculum.

Rivers & Birds conducts a nine-day program for 5th grade students. This educational experience includes:

  • Three classroom days full of interactive lessons on water topics;

  • Six hands-on field days in nature on local public lands exploring local water and watershed issues in different environmental and cultural contexts; and

  • Mentoring by local resource specialists (e.g. archaeologists, fire ecologists, geologists, wildlife biologists, mayordomos, Native American biologists, and town managers).

This science and adventure-based program is aligned with 5th Grade Standards for science, math, language arts, and social studies.

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From Students:

“I think this program is important because the more we know, the more we can do to help the earth.”
- Lindsay Swift, 5th Grade, Costilla Elementary, Costilla, New Mexico

“I have to admit the field trips were fun even though we still have to learn because you made it that way. I will always remember what you taught us.”
- Billy Best, 5th Grade, Enos Garcia Elementary, Taos, New Mexico

“I think that to come up with such an interesting program for kids, you must really like us. Thank you for all you have done for us.”
- Jocelyn Caren, 5th Grade, Enos Garcia Elementary, Taos, New Mexico

From Public School Teachers

“A girl in Special Education whose mother won't let her play outside because she 'thinks she'll get sick', gets panic attacks, and has had asthma for years, finally gets to put on the waders. She has been waiting patiently for her turn. We are at the Rio Fernando wetlands and she wants to find a frog. I had to call her mom and delicately convince her that her daughter would be fine on the field trip and that I would make sure she had her inhaler and everything would be okay. In fact, it was better than okay. This awesome little girl—who loved being outside—opened like a water-lily as the Rivers & Birds program progressed.

“After that experience, she attended school more often (she had horrible attendance in years past), had less and less asthma and panic attacks, and, in general, thrived. I think this change was due in large part to the time she spent out and about with your program. All little flowers need watering after all!”
- Jason Weisfield, Fifth Grade Full Inclusion Teacher, Enos Garcia Elementary, Taos, NM

“Our field investigations were especially gratifying in that the students were able to apply what they learned in the classroom to actual scientific observation in the field.”
- Manuel Aguilar, Fifth Grade Teacher, Ranchos Elementary School, Ranchos de Taos, NM

“The Rivers & Birds Program provides activities that supplement and enrich classroom curriculum. Through this program, my students are kept engaged in a healthy learning environment that will follow them into the future.”
- Priscilla Romo, Fifth Grade Teacher, Enos Garcia Elementary, Taos, NM

“I know that I am not alone when I say that the Rivers & Birds Program has been a welcoming experience because it not only enhances our students’ minds, but it also allows teachers an advantage to experience and learn from a different perspective.”
- Linda Howley, 5th Grade Teacher, Gonzales Elementary, Santa Fe, NM