School and Service Learning Projects

planting a rain garden with studentsStamberger Outreach staff put strong creative skills to use designing and leading education activities that engage students through experiential and service learning.

We enjoy working with students of all age groups on a variety of projects focused on non-point source pollution reduction, stream restoration, stormwater management, aquatic ecosystems, wildlife and forest ecology.

Examples of our past projects include:

  • Guided interpretive nature hikes in old growth Oregon forest
  • Regular, recurring stewardship days with alternative high school students to teach stream restoration techniques
  • Teaching and managing international exchange student interns from a community college Natural Resources Program
  • Teaching and chaperoning 30 American high school students on a tour of Japan focused on watershed issues
  • Stormwater pollution presentation to third grade class who would write letters to school neighbors suggesting ways they can improve water quality through actions at home
  • Earth day service event with 90 kindergarten students conducting invasive weed maintenance
  • Water pollution presentation and ‘education program designer’ activity for 4-6 grade at Oregon Green Schools Summit
  • Third grade after school garden club, including garden preparation, planting, care-taking, harvesting and eating
  • Rain garden and cistern installation event with rotating educational stations, including “What is a watershed?”, “What native plant am I?”, rain garden planting station, and cistern testing
  • Rain garden installation at a high school, including judging the planting design competition, planting day, and stormwater scavenger hunt on school grounds

Visit the following links to see examples of school projects we’ve worked on: Hollydale Elementary, Gresham High School, West Gresham Grade School.

planting event salamander volunteers

Grant Writing, Management and Reporting

Stamberger Outreach staff have prepared successful grant applications, managed grant-funded projects, and written interim and final reports to funding agencies.  Grants have funded stream restoration projects, public demonstration gardens, and education and outreach programs.

Successful grant efforts have included:

Neighborhood information fair2010-2012 East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District Partners in Conservation Grant for City of Gresham Watershed Division Sustainable Stormwater Solutions Project

Awarded $69,155 to expand the technical assistance home visit program, install additional public demonstration rain gardens, canvass targeted neighborhoods to offer program services, and implement residential stormwater management incentive and education programs

Final project results:

  • 161 at-home technical assistance visits providing start-up materials and technical advice to help residents reduce impacts on local water quality through property maintenance actions.
  • Provided 1247 native plants, 97 compost bins, and 124 backyard habitat structures, and participants pledged to begin or continue 1029 watershed friendly behaviors on their property
  • Post-visit survey results show that 49% of participants reduced or eliminated their pesticide or fertilizer use since receiving their home visit.
  • 18 new rain gardens installed, three City-installed public demonstration projects at schools and churches, and 15 residential (4 raffled off and 11 installed by homeowners for $200 rain garden grants)
  • Disconnected downspouts at 62 homes
  • Reduced effective impervious area by 63,000 square feet, diverting and soaking in an estimated 1.75 million gallons of stormwater runoff that would otherwise pollute and erode local streams
  • Provided 109 native trees to homeowners to increase urban canopy and overall stormwater absorption in the city
  • Held 57 community events to advertise program services and educate the public, reaching an estimated 1300 residents

Nechacokee Creek2008-2010 Metro Nature in Neighborhoods Grant for the City of Gresham Watershed Division Riparian Enhancement Program

Awarded $57,375 to expand existing streamside property owner program (SPOP) to increase private land stewardship by citizens and help reduce lawn care impacts on water quality, and to restore seven riparian (stream-side) acres creating contiguous healthy corridors between private property and public land

downspout2008-2010 Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 319 Grant for the City of Gresham Watershed Division Non-Point Source Reduction Program

Awarded $58,315 to leverage Metro Nature in Neighborhoods funds to increase streamside area restored by 6.4 acres and increase the number of streamside property owners receiving technical education and assistance to improve stream health.  Also funded installation of eight demonstration rain gardens and associated outreach and education programs to encourage residents to build their own at home.

The combined results of these two projects include:

  • 19,518 native plants installed on 13.4 acres of stream-side area along four local creeks with the help of 242 volunteers
  • 50 at-home watershed education visits with streamside property owners along the four creeks
  • Provided start up materials to encourage streamside property owners to engage in watershed friendly activities on their properties, including: 28 compost bins, 182 native plants, 23 bat houses, 2 bee nesting blocks, and 11 bird houses, 33 packages of native wildflower seeds, 50 coupons to local garden centers for native plants and organic products,  477 educational materials about watershed health, and, 43 signed healthy watershed pledge forms
  • Healthy Watershed Pledge forms resulted in pledges by streamside property owners to start or continue practicing 372 activities that benefit water quality
  • Installation of five residential and four larger public demonstration rain gardens at schools and churches, reducing effective impervious surface (roof tops and driveways) by more than 14,000 square feet, and keeping more than 394,000 gallons of stormwater runoff out of local creeks each year
  • Implementation of a stormwater management pilot program including rain garden workshops, a rain garden raffle, rain garden installation block party, downspout disconnection pilot program (50 homes participating), print and online rain garden building manual, example native planting plans and self-guided tour map of demonstration rain gardens, and a rain garden small grants program for homeowners, offering $100 grants for homeowners who built their own
  • Three neighborhood information block parties to showcase restoration projects and encourage participation


Click on our project links to get ideas for your outreach programs.


Rain garden raffles, installation block parties, and small grants encourage homeowners to build their own.



Residential Rain Gardens





At one year old, native plants are establishing well and the garden captures and infiltrates an estimated 196,000 gallons of runoff per year, reducing pollution in Johnson Creek and recharging local groundwater supplies.

Demonstration projects are a group effort among community partners to beautify neighborhoods and educate the public about environmental issues and ways they can help at home.

Public Demonstration Projects

Hollydale Elementary

West Gresham Elementary

Gresham High School

Link to Oregonian article about Gresham High School

Snow Cap Charities, St. Henry’s Church, and Covenant Presbyterian Church



Removing invasive weeds and replanting with native species improves stream health by reducing bank erosion, providing cooling shade, and enhancing wildlife habitat.



Stream Restoration Projects







Re-directing stormwater runoff from roofs into lawns and landscaping reduces runoff volume and pollution entering local waterways.



Downspout Disconnection







Program participation is encouraged by tabling at Farmers’ Markets, presenting to community groups, and hosting neighborhood information fairs and block parties.



Workshops and Community Events






Homeowners who pledged to avoid weed and feed put up free lawn signs to encourage their neighbors to do the same.

Multi-faceted outreach program focused on non-point source pollution reduction, at-home stormwater management, and increased urban canopy



Healthy Streams Program

Workshops and Community Events

table at eventAt Stamberger Outreach, we believe people learn new things through hands-on experience, social interactions, and examples we set for each other, as well as traditional classroom lectures. 

We are experts at bringing communities together to learn from and encourage each other to make changes that benefit the environment and the livability of shared neighborhoods.  We use Community Based Social Marketing techniques at our workshops and other community events to increase participation and public awareness, gain commitments to trying out new behaviors, create new social norms and collect behavior change data to make our programs more effective.

Our experience with watershed friendly gardening workshops and community events includes:

  • Developing and teaching workshops to encourage environmentally friendly gardening practices, including rain gardening, naturescaping, natural lawn care, natural pest control, downspout disconnection and backyard wildlife habitat
  • Coordinating neighborhood rain garden raffles, bike tours, and installation block parties to raise awareness of rain gardens and bring neighbors together to learn about rain gardens hands-on
  • Scheduling, coordinating and advertising events, including direct mailings, newpaper and online advertisement, sponsors, donations, catering, door-prizes and raffles, etc.
  • Coordinating and leading volunteer tree planting, invasive weed removal and other restoration maintenance activities
  • School assemblies and presentations and hands-on stewardship events, including large-scale Earth Day events
  • Coordinating large-scale neighborhood block parties including landscaping tours, scavenger hunts, vendors and tables from other organizations
  • Presenting and tabling at community events including neighborhood association meetings, information fairs, farmers’ markets, garden club meetings, and other community group events

See our Schools and Service Learning Page for more examples of our community engagement projects.

rain garden tour

Jamie leads residents on a tour of local rain gardens.

workshop activity

Jamie demonstrates a soil drainage test.