The Wonders of our Watersheds!

Written by: Shay Hart

Fourth grade students at Mira Vista Elementary School in Richmond could not contain their excitement when they found out that they would be going on a special outdoor adventure with KIDS for the BAY, to explore the features of their local watershed! 

First they studied the new vocabulary word “watershed” with their KIDS for the BAY Educator Shay Hart, through hand movements, ploga (play yoga), and an experiment to make their own mini watersheds. The young scientists were fascinated by how many watersheds they created in their experiment models, and how each group had a different number. “I can’t believe I never knew that I lived in a watershed!” exclaimed Henry. “I can’t believe EVERYONE lives in a watershed, and that there are so many different ones,” added Javier. 

The students were very eager to get outside and learn more about their own newly-discovered watershed. With clipboards, pencils, and watershed scavenger hunt worksheets in hand, the young scientists headed outside. When they reached the playground, student groups huddled up to assign roles, with some as observers, and others as recorders. One student, Adael ran up to Ms. Shay and insisted she come with him over to a spot near the fence where a tree had made its home. At the bottom of the tree was a big hole with a pile of trash inside. “Look at this beautiful tree and how all of that trash is ruining it, we have to do something to help!” exclaimed Adael. “Yeah! We have to do something so this tree doesn’t die!” added Alice. The students excitedly planned to do a litter cleanup to help preserve their adopted tree. 

Over on the other side of the playground, a group of boys were laying on the ground closely observing something! Henry explained, “We were searching for insects and we found this ant hill.” Edison added, “We are watching how they are carrying scraps of food back into their nest. They are all working together to carry the crumbs!” 

After carefully exploring their local watershed each group of students took turns doing a ‘show and tell’ about their scavenger hunt and their favorite discoveries. Elizabeth’s group proudly showed off their detailed pictures. Leilah explained. “We saw three monarch butterflies dancing together; it was so beautiful.” Partner teacher Ms. Hoy loved the Watershed Scavenger Hunt activity! She shared, “I never noticed the storm drains here before. We will have to come back and do a lesson about them.” Tristan’s group closed out the show and tell, and shared their drawing of their favorite thing to do in this part of their watershed. “Our favorite thing to do is to be outside together, so we drew ourselves standing around that tree with the trash in it, and thinking about how we can make it better,” said Mauricio. “We can’t wait until we get to help make our school and watershed a cleaner and more beautiful place!” exclaimed Annie. 

KIDS for the BAY