School Stream Monitoring Program
K-12th grade; one to two classroom activities and half-day field trip
Every fall and spring, WEN provides student field days at local creeks and rivers to gather physical, biological and chemical data. Measurements are based on Montana Volunteer Water Monitoring Project protocols including biological, physical, and chemical, as well as other stream-health indicators such as turbidity, nutrients and aquatic life. Participating students learn the importance of watershed science, monitoring, and long-term stewardship.
Fish Week: Native Fish, Fish Habitat and Fly Fishing Program
WEN continues our long-term partnership with Westslope Chapter Trout Unlimited to provide a Native Fish Habitat station to enhance middle school field trips. Our Fish Week program targets 7th grade classes learning about the important connection between healthy rivers and fish. Lessons include fish habitat, aquatic macro-invertebrates, bugs and dry flies comparison, and interactive introduction to fly fishing.
Groundwater/Aquifer Education lessons and activities
K-8th grade; one to three interactive classroom activities
Groundwater/Aquifer education focuses on the connection between ground, surface and drinking water using groundwater flow models provided by the Missoula Water Quality District and Missoula Water. WEN offers introductory groundwater/aquifer topics for students to explore. WEN’s lessons feature Missoula’s aquifer and how ground, surface, and drinking water connect in Missoula.
Milltown Dam Journeys
K-12th grade; two to three classroom presentations and fieldtrip to Milltown Bluff
WEN launched the Milltown Dam Journeys program in the fall of 2005, in response to questions and concerns from teachers and students about the former Milltown Dam and the status of Clark Fork River. This program has evolved as the removal of the dam began and now is offered as an interactive history lesson about the dam, its removal and its future as a state park. This program also includes a trip to the dam overlook and the historical reservoir site to see all the restoration efforts that have taken place, first hand.
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Education Program
WEN created AIS lessons response to the detection of aquatic invasive species in Montana. In collaboration with an AIS consultant and local high school teachers, we developed the Columbia Headwaters Education Kit for AIS (CHEK 4 AIS), a curriculum and series of eight activities compiled in an educational trunk. In addition to the high school program, WEN offers AIS as an extension to middle school stream monitoring programs in Missoula and the Flathead Indian Reservation. Read about AIS on our blog!
This AIS program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Education Grants program and from community partners in western Montana.
Montana Groundwater Academy
WEN partners with SpectrUM, Missoula Valley Water Quality District, Missoula Water, and others to provide comprehensive groundwater lessons and well-measurement field trips to Greenough Park. The MGA program exemplifies how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education can help prepare individuals to participate in citizen and professional activities related to managing our water resources. Learn more about MGA in this Connected Science Learning article!
WEN has provided Flagship after-school programs for high school students and their own Water Explorations, and elementary and middle school Bug Club. We are also open to any water-related topic a Flagship group wants to try. WEN is eager to have many schools create aquatic wildlife for the WildWalk Parade this year. Please contact our Flagship Coordinator at WEN.
Note: Class presentations take a minimum of 45 minutes, and fieldtrips require a minimum of 2.5 hours, not including transportation. If you wish to include four stations in your field science experience, please schedule additional time.
After evaluating pre/post test results, we have noticed that students who had class presentations before their fieldtrip learned a lot more from the field experience than those who didn’t. The class presentation consists of vocabulary words, overview of river ecology, and preparation activities for the field trip. WEN provides this big-picture experience so students are better prepared for their field science activities by the river. WEN’s Groundwater/Aquifer Education Program is also a great way to introduce these key concepts that we will be exploring during our field trip along with providing students a day to explore the connection between surface and groundwater. With this in mind, we ask that teachers please schedule one pre-class visit for our field based programs. Groundwater programs can be scheduled weeks prior to the field trip day as well. An optional post-field trip class presentation is available to bring the observations and data together to give students a more comprehensive analysis of their field day.
WEN strives to combine and tailor programs to fit your curriculum needs, students, age group and river/creek site best. In addition to our programs listed above, we also offer Riparian Plant and Noxious Weed station options, Field Journaling station options and more. Please please call the WEN office at (406) 541-9287 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss customizing your fieldtrip!