Education Programs

General Overview

WPWA offers a variety of Educational Programs for schools, youth groups, and adults. Many of these programs offer hands-on activities or outdoor adventures that bring home the importance of protecting our valuable natural resources. Any of these programs can be adapted to the groups educational requirments.

Teacher Training Courses

1. Using Watershed Models
One-hour, after school workshop.

During this workshop, teachers will be given lesson plans, ideas, and experience demonstrating the models. These models can then be loaned out to teachers or schools on an availability basis.

No minimum or maximum. $60 per session.

2. Macro Invertebrate Sampling
Four hour field-training workshop.

Minimum 6, Maximum 20. $200 per session.

3. Water Quality Monitoring as a Curriculum Tool
Three hour after-school workshop.

Minimum 6, Maximum 20. $160 per session.

4. Watershed Science for Educators

Every other year WPWA offers a 3-credit graduate level course for formal and non-formal educators to learn how to incorporate the Active Watershed Education (AWESome!) Curriculum into their classrooms. For more information see the AWESome page and the Watershed Science for Educators page..

Classroom presentations

  1. Watershed Overview. This class involves students in the use of maps, models, and water quality tests to illustrate terminology and concepts of a watershed. This program compliments Land and Water
  2. Groundwater Overview. Key concepts are demonstrated using maps, models, and other materials to help foster an understanding of groundwater. This program compliments Land and Water and Ecosystem kits.
  3. Glaciers. Basic geology and interesting facts about glaciers in Southern New England are covered in this informative class. Interactive demonstrations and reading material are used. This class is appropriate for use with Land and Water kit.
  4. Aquatic Macro Invertebrate Ecology. Bugs have a lot to tell us about the water in which they live. This presentation covers basic facts about aquatic insects and their habitats. It can be combined with Aquatic Exploration Field Trip and compliments Insects and Ecosystem kits.
  5. Water Quality in Your Own Backyard. What is water quality? How do we measure it? What does it tell us? This presentation looks at different methods for measuring and interpreting water quality. It can be combined with Water Quality Sampling Field Trips and compliments the Ecosystem kit.
  6. What About Wetlands? Swamps, bogs, and marshes are unique habitats that perform many functions on which we depend. This illustrated discussion will focus on types of wetlands, their natural functions, their value to humans, and how they are under attack today. Appropriate for use with the Land and Water and Ecosystem kits.

$60 for each 45 to 60 minute presentation.

Any of the courses listed in this brochure may be adapted to the class or curriculum needs.

Field Trips

$200 for the first 3 hours; $50 for each additional hour.

  1. A Tour of the Watershed. Take a ride around the Pawcatuck Watershed and explore a few of the interesting spots that make it unique. This 3-5 hour guided bus tour starts in the Arcadia Management Area at the headwaters of the Wood River and ends at Napatree Point in Westerly at the mouth of the Pawcatuck. Stops may include historic mills and mill villages, waste treatment facilities, and a walk on the Charlestown Moraine. Topics of discussion on the tour will be the historic, social, geological, and ecological aspects of the watershed.
  2. Macro Invertebrate Sampling. Under the guidance of a wildlife biologist, students get to find and identify some of the wondrous creatures that live in a stream or pond. This field trip can be conducted at a site near your school, or one near WPWA headquarters. Supplies such as nets, waders, and sorting pans are provided. Water quality testing, such as dissolved oxygen sampling, may be added.
  3. Native Plant Identification. Break through the mysterious “wall of green” and get acquainted with the plants outside your classroom. Naturalist-led walks will help students learn to identify common trees, shrubs and wildflowers that are important parts of the Rhode Island environment.
  4. Water Quality Sampling. Students get a chance to roll up their sleeves and really see what is going on with a river, pond or stream near them. They will test two or more sites for water quality, using different indicators such as dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, nutrients, and site assessments.

Trips can last 3 to 5 hours, depending on teachers’ needs. It is the responsibility of the schools to provide transportation and chaperones.

Summer Camps

  1. Kayak the Upper Wood River. Kids have fun learning kayaking basics while exploring the most pristine river in RI. They gain real skills on the water and a real appreciation for natural systems. Appropriate for kids 10 years or older. Must be accompanied by at least two responsible adults.
    2 ½ hours.                
    Minimum 10, Maximum 20.
    $25 per person, includes kayak rental, instruction, and guided tour.
  2. Aquatic Exploration. Budding young naturalists get a chance to ind out what lives in the mucky stuff at the bottom of a pond or stream. All equipment is provided. A great way to spend a summer afternoon and learn while having fun. Appropriate for kids of all ages.
    2 hours
    Minimum 10, Maximum 25.
    $10 per person.
  3. River Exploration. Combine kayaking with aquatic exploration and a lunch spot on the banks of the Wood River for a full day of river fun.
    5 hours.
    Minimum 10, Maximum 20.
    $30 per person.
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