The Putah-Cache Bioregion Project:
Educational OutreachWho | What | Where | Publications
The process began with a study of resources for informal science and environmental education in the Sacramento Valley region. This resulted in a guide to these resources, which is on the web and can be ordered in hard copy.
Go to the guide for educational resources, at the PSRP web site.
Currently the Putah-Cache Bioregion Project is working with science educators within the Putah-Cache watersheds and with UC Davis scientists to integrate university research and community education in a coherent "watershed story." The watershed story is intended to shed light on physical processes, biodiversity, habitat and ecosystems, and community and agriculture in the watersheds. Building on existing education resources, this coordinated, collaborative effort emphasizes methods that foster inquiry, sense of stewardship, and reflection on individual and community choices.
A collaborative watershed education initiative focusing on an understanding of natural, physical and cultural processes in the Putah and Cache Bioregion has been developed by PCBR and campus and community collaborators. In July 1999, a grant for “ Return of the Salmon” was awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This project, which focuses on public trust issues in Putah Creek, brings broad scientific issues to the local level using a coherent regional approach. It targets middle school youth and creates bridges between school experiences and field experiences at informal education sites.
Funding provides for a guided collaborative process that will lead to a coherent approach to environmental education about Putah Creek. Environmental educators team with school teachers to develop an integrated unit focused on a particular site or theme along lower Putah Creek. Eventually all university and community education sites along the creek may be served by the project, leading to a cooperative approach to the creek. Current participating organizations are PCBR’s Restoria, Putah Creek Council, and Winters Putah Creek Committee. Teachers come from three school districts: Winters, Woodland, and Davis. Experienced science education undergraduates are also full members of teams. Future funding may enable sites along Cache Creek to join the project.Go to Return of the Salmon web site
Developed and administered by PSRP and co-funded by the Bioregion Project since Spring 1998, this program contributes to graduate and undergraduate education by training UCD students in science and environmental education methods. The training program provides students with hands-on experience in developing and presenting interactive exhibits, activities or curriculum about university research and knowledge for youth and the general public. Experience with the public is a critical part of the training and participation in a community science event is required, along with practice activities presented at schools and informal education sites. Faculty from different disciplines give presentations on science education involving interactive inquiry-based activities for the students to try out. Faculty associated with PCBR provide internship credit for undergraduates. (Rob Thayer, David Robertson, Peter Moyle, Susan Harrison)
Students work in teams and develop interactive science activities which contribute to the bioregion/watershed education project. Topics include watershed physical processes, biodiversity, habitats, ecological processes, and community and agriculture. In 1998-1999, graduate student Carmia Feldman guided the activities. The spring 1999 emphasis was on vernal pools and native grasslands of Jepson Praire and was also funded by the UC Natural Reserve System. Students created an educational video and set of interactive activities about Jepson Prairie for middle school children.
Jepson Prairie Video ordering information
In the 1999- 2000 academic year, the name was changed to “Putah Creek Explorations” to reflect the connections with the EPA funded project (Return of the Salmon). With the guidance of 5th year undergraduate student Becky Vertefeuille, this year’s undergraduate created activities are providing interactive and problem solving experiences for youth in classrooms, museum settings, and outdoor field sites on the campus and in the region. A bioregion adventure guide is being developed to conceptually link the activities and make them available to teachers and educators.Go to Putah Creek Explorations registration info
Maria Melendez, local co-coordinator of California Poets in the schools, is emphasizing the writing of poems about local watershed topics. This gives youth an opportunity to create literature on their experiences with nature and science topics. In one permutation, UCD interns presented bioregion science activities to 4th graders and then the students wrote poems reflecting that experience.
Who | What | Where | Publications