The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC) received funding from the Roundhouse Foundation to support the development of a new watershed stewards program for 200 students and 15-20 community members in Central Oregon.
The watershed stewards program, Upstream Stewardship, will include a series of watershed stewardship activities for students and adults. New programming will consist of a six-part watershed education series for adults that will be focused on the Whychus Creek watershed. Additionally, the Upstream Stewardship program will engage 200 students in hands-on watershed education and stewardship along Whychus Creek.
“Thank you so much for the funding for our projects,” says Kris Knight, Executive Director. “This will allow us to launch our new adult education program in early 2022.”
The Upstream Stewardship Program will work with community partners to deliver a two-fold watershed stewards program for adults and students. The program for adults is a new program in 2022 focused on the Whychus Watershed. The adult program will consist of a six-part series that UDWC will facilitate between February and June of 2022. The series will include presentations about the hydrology, ecology, fish habitat conditions, irrigation management, water use, restoration projects, and community stewardship along Whychus Creek. UDWC will plan, coordinate, and facilitate each session and discussion, working closely with their partners to offer a wide range of technical expertise and perspectives about the current water use and stream conditions along Whychus Creek. The program will culminate with a full day tour of Whychus Creek. Participants will leave the program with a better understanding of their local creek and watershed including how water is used and how local restoration efforts are benefitting Whychus Creek.
The watershed stewards program with youth will build upon past successes working with Sisters School District to offer place-based watershed education for local students. According to UDWC Education Director, Kolleen Miller, “We have witnessed the incredible magic that happens when children are empowered to spend time learning in hands-on ways outside. By spending time next to Whychus Creek, students develop an inspiring sense of place and a sense of stream stewardship.” Between March- June 2022, UDWC will engage 200 students from 4th- 12th grade in hands-on activities to learn about the history, hydrology, watershed science, and restoration activities along Whychus Creek through art, writing, and stewardship. UDWC will coordinate watershed education activities for these students at past and future restoration project sites including Whychus Creek Overlook, Pine Meadow Ranch, Whychus Floodplain, and Whychus Canyon. Upon completion of their field activities, students will share their watershed lessons with community members, natural resource partners, parents, teachers, and adult Upstream Stewardship participants at the annual student conference, Students Speak: A Watershed Summit in June 2022.
Photos and logo courtesy of Upper Deschutes Watershed Council