Connecting Our Future Generations To Our Creeks And Waterways
The information on this page is geared to students and teachers. Explore the following panels to find activities, projects and resources to help our creeks. Also included are links to other agencies’ educational websites for further learning exploration.
To find out where your school is located with respect to a creek or bay please view one of the following maps:
Volunteering and Watershed Groups
To discover what community members are doing for a creek near you, visit our Community Partnership and Volunteering page.
STRAW Project for all ages of students
MCSTOPPP has been partnering with the Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed (STRAW) Project for more than 20 years to educate Marin County students that we all live in a watershed, the importance of riparian habitat and it’s effects on stream health, stormwater pollution prevention, and how they can make a difference. The two part program starts with in class presentations followed by a hands-on restoration day in a local creek or wetland. Students remove non-native invasive species and trash, plant natives, and observe local riparian habitat. Check out projects, photos, and more on our STRAW page!
Fish Friendly Car Wash Kit for High School Students
If you plan to hold a car wash fundraiser, borrow a Fish-Friendly Car Wash Kit from MCSTOPPP! The kit contains everything you need to hold a car wash without hurting the fish and other aquatic life.
Marking Storm Drains: Drains to Creeks or Bay
One of the best reminders about not allowing trash, or other debris, to enter a storm drain is through placing storm drain markers near the drain. If you’d like to obtain markers for the storm drains around your school, contact the stormwater program manager in your City or Town to supply you with the markers.
A 3×4 foot model of a community, complete with working storm drains and a wastewater-treatment plant. This is a good tool for teaching about how pollutants get into local creeks. Students use spray bottles to learn how pollutants get washed into local waterways after a rainstorm, by over watering lawns, or by washing cars. Email MCSTOPPP or call us at (415) 473-3748 regarding availability.
Sea-level Rise for High School Students
The Game of Floods was developed as a public education activity on sea level rise adaptation for high school students and community members. It is currently used in Marin County high schools through the Youth Exploring Sea-level rise Science (YESS) program. The activity includes traditional flood protection measures such as levees and seawalls; green infrastructure approaches including horizontal levees, wetland restorations, and beach nourishment; and policy/zoning changes. The Game of Floods is a small group activity, with 4-6 participants tasked with developing a vision for Marin Island 2050, a hypothetical landscape that highlights the conditions that will be experienced in Marin in coming years with sea level rise and increased storm impacts causing the loss or deterioration of homes, community facilities, roads, agricultural land, beaches, wetlands, lagoons, and other resources. To start the game, participants are given a lesson with an adaptation strategy reference sheet, including the effectiveness, environmental impacts/benefits, and cost estimates. Integral to the activity is the introduction and consideration of green infrastructure as an alternative to traditional levees and sea walls, with habitat and water quality benefits of such concepts articulated. Seated around the game board, participants take turns championing assets they value and proposing strategies to protect these sites from sea level rise and storm impacts. The game creates a lively interaction between participants, heightening awareness of the challenges of planning for sea level rise. The game concludes with group discussion to obtain consensus for a vision which protects critical assets, while maximizing ecosystems benefits through wetland restoration and other living shoreline approaches. Community Development Agency staff can provide the board and materials to any local jurisdiction, non-profit, or other group interested in hosting an event, or game night.
For more information, contact the Marin Sea Level Rise Team.
Watersheds in Marin County
A watershed is all of the land that drains to a particular stream, river, or bay. All land, from the wildest preserve to the most densely developed urban neighborhood, is part of a watershed. Learn more about your watershed using the Creeks and Watersheds Interactive Map.
Healthy Watersheds work hard and provide food and fiber, clean water, and habitat for native plants and animals. Health watersheds are able to:
- Move sediment from the mountains to the beaches and bays, sorting it along the way to create diverse landscapes and habitats.
- Cycle nutrients and convert them into forms that living organisms can use.
- Purify and store water, and then meter its release into streams to reduce flooding and damaging erosion in the winter and to sustain flows and cool temperatures during the dry season.
- Affect air quality by absorbing pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Well-functioning watersheds are more resilient to natural and human-induced disturbances than highly-impacted watersheds.
Plants and Wildlife in Marin’s Watersheds range from red-tailed hawks and mountain lions on the slopes of Mount Tam to oysters and harbor seals in the bays and on the coast. A diversity of wildlife inhabits Marin County. Discover more about Plants and Wildlife in Marin’s Watersheds that depend on healthy watersheds to survive.
Climate Change projections predict a mean sea level rise of approximately a meter by 2100 which will lead to increased flooding at lower elevations. Climate change projections also include fluctuations in temperature, the potential for more frequent periods of drought, and the likelihood of intense storm events happening more often. These changes are likely to have an impact on riparian vegetation composition and density, as well as the frequency and erosive power of high flow events. Explore the Marin Sea Level Rise page to learn more. For an interactive game see “The Game of Floods” a public education activity on sea level rise developed for high school students and community members. The activity includes traditional flood protection measures such as levees and seawalls; green infrastructure approaches including horizontal levees, wetland restorations, and beach nourishment; and policy/zoning changes. The Community Development Agency staff can provide the board and materials to any local jurisdiction, non-profit, or other group interested in hosting an event, or game night. For more information, contact the Marin Sea Level Rise Team.
Water Cycles from other agencies and educational institutions
Water flowing through our watersheds returns through the process of the water cycle. Earth recycles the limited supply of water in an endless exchange through evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection. Explore the follow websites to discover more.
Water Cycle Video – National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA)
Interactive Water Cycle – United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Interactive water Cycle – Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Thirstin’s Water Cycle – EPA animated water cycle
Water cycle with activities on Evaporation, Precipitation, Saturation, etc. – Washington State University
The Water Cycle and Earth Observations – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NOAA) Earth Observatory
Description of the Hydrologic Cycle – NOAA Northwest River Forecast Center provides explanations of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, interception, infiltration, percolation, transpiration, runoff, and storage Water as a resource
Games, Activities, and Illustrations – US EPA Kid’s Stuff page for Grades K – 12
- Protect Our Water and Wildlife Activity Book – Available for grades 3-5, this booklet offers tips kids can take to protect the environment.
- Pest or Pal? – A fun activity guide for grades 2-5. Learn about the wonderful world of bugs and plants – and find out if they are a “friend” or a “foe”.
- Protect Our Water and Wildlife Coloring Book – This coloring book is most useful for grades K-2. Discusses actions kids can take to protect local waterways.
- Growing Gardens from Garbage – A guide to composting with food scraps and yard waste. Discusses compost systems and worm bins, and provides current resources.
- Composting Across the Curriculum – Because of ongoing interest in this publication that was originally published in 1993, we have scanned the first 90 pages for your use. The Appendices were left out since they have not been updated.