Oxbow Regional Park – Enhancement and Stewardship

children remove invasive plants from Oxbow

2011 PIC Grant, $25,078

Everyone learns differently. Some people are visual learners, some prefer hearing new information. No one will argue, however, that hands-on participation will help information stick around a lot longer in your mind. Researchers say you only retain 10% of what you read, and 20% of what you hear. However, if you hear and do an activity, you have the ability to retain around 90% of the information.

Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership applies this practice in their education plans. They know that teaching kids watershed issues in the classroom will have some impact, but taking them out into the field to perform service learning projects will create lessons …and memories…that will last a lifetime.

In 2011, the Partnership received a $25,078 PIC grant to educate 681 children from eleven schools located in East Multnomah County. They started and ended in the classroom, receiving four lessons which address issues affecting watershed and water quality. The highlight of the program, however, was a field trip to Oxbow Regional Park, where the children performed a service project to protect biodiversity. Each child participated in removing invasive species, planting native trees and shrubs, or performing other habitat enhancement activities. Best of all, they know why they these activities are important and how they improve the habitat for the Chinook salmon and other fish, as well as the large mammals that use the wildlife corridor such as black bear, cougar and elk.

As one Kelly Creek Elementary School teacher said, “The combination of classroom presentations and the field trip was great. Several students said they felt really smart. Even some of the lowest academic performers showed evidence of learning.” Not only did they have an increased awareness of watershed health, but they also improved the park. Teachers, students and parents removed nine truckloads of invasive plants and installed 1933 native trees and shrubs.

For more information: Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership