Tualatin River Farm Field Trip Program, Clean Water Services, Washington County, Oregon

In 2016, 2015, and ongoing, Jamie Stamberger developed, helped implement and evaluated a hands-on watershed health field trip program at Tualatin River Farm on behalf of Friends of Trees and Clean Water Services and in partnership with Tualatin Riverkeepers. Tualatin River Farm is a Clean Water Services-owned property in Hillsboro, Oregon.

For the Tualatin River Farm Field Trip Program, Stamberger Outreach Consulting Provided:

  • Field trip lesson and in-classroom pre-lesson development
  • STEM/ Next Generation Science Standard Alignment for teachers
  • Educational assessment design and online delivery
  • Staff and volunteer field trip leader training on field trip logistics, education techniques and technical training on stormwater management and sustainable agriculture
  • Educational materials organization and procurement
  • Report preparation, including statistical analysis of pre and post educational assessment data and compilation of student, teacher and field trip leader feedback

In its first two years the program reached over 500 middle school students in Washington County, including the entire 7th grade at a nearby middle school. In 2016, educational assessment data showed statistically significant increases in student awareness of watershed concepts as a result of the field trip.  Students also produced rain garden designs for use at the Farm, and provided feedback that will be used to improve the program going forward.

This program would not be possible without amazing support from Clean Water Services, Friends of Trees and Tualatin Riverkeeper volunteers and staff who fund the program and provide skilled field trip leadership and education.

Tualatin River Farm

Kellyn Baez teaches about rain gardens – Tualatin River Farm watershed field trip program, photo John Driscoll

The Tualatin River Farm Field Trip Program  focuses on middle schools that receive students from Title 1 elementary schools with many students living in low-income households.  The program will continue and expand in school year 2016-2017, with the ultimate goal of bringing the entire 6th, 7th and 8th grades from participating schools to the Farm each year.

Jamie developed three field trip lessons designed to teach watershed health concepts, encourage watershed friendly behaviors among students and their families, and involve students in environmental project design and implementation at the Farm, as well as give feedback on the field trip program and how Clean Water Services can best manage the Farm ecosystem on behalf of the public.

Three different Tualatin River Farm field trips are offered under this program: riparian restoration, stormwater management and sustainable agriculture.  The field trips are aligned to STEM and Next Generation Science Standards. A major component of the program is working with participating teachers to select and customize field trips to supplement classroom curriculum. We believe it is vital to program success to develop consistent long-term relationships with partner teachers and schools that support their work in the classroom.

The field trips are designed with hands-on components illustrating positive and negative human impacts on watershed health, including aquatic macro-invertebrate sampling, tree planting, rain garden design including applied mathematics, bird watching and quiet sit spots.

Program evaluation includes change in student awareness of key watershed concepts through pre and post educational assessments, written student feedback, and feedback surveys from participating teachers and field trip leaders.  Hands-on projects completed during the field trips have measurable positive impacts on the environment, which are also included in final reports.  In 2016, students produced six full rain garden designs including rain garden size, shape, inflow and outflow and planting plans for a problematic site at the Farm.