Photo by Derek Frankowski
Photo: Derek Frankowski

Know Your Watershed Program Overview for Teachers


  • For any Grade 9 science class in the Columbia Basin
  • Integrated with Grade 9 Science and Social Studies curricula
  • A full-day watershed field trip and two classroom sessions
  • Impacts of climate change on water quality and quantity
  • Optional: Student Action Projects with local water stewardship opportunities
  • Optional: Deep Learning Programs with local watershed experts
  • All completely free, with all bussing and TTOC costs covered!

Columbia Basin Trust’s Know Your Watershed is a regionally-based watershed education program delivered throughout the Canadian portion of the Columbia Basin. Since its development for Grade 8 students in 2010, the program has been updated alongside the revised BC Curriculum, to address shifts in relevant watershed and water cycle content into the Grade 9 Curriculum. Big Ideas in the revised Curriculum supported by Know Your Watershed include:

  • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
  • Social Studies 9: The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.

In 2017, we introduced an increased focus on the predicted and observed impacts of Climate Change on water quality and quantity in Columbia Basin watersheds, including the challenges and opportunities watershed managers and water users may encounter when faced with these impacts.

The program has grown from its six pilot communities in 2010 to being offered in 20 Columbia Basin communities, to nearly 1000 students annually. The input and feedback from Know Your Watershed educators, classroom teachers, students, municipal water managers and community-based water groups continues to guide and refine the development of the program.

Students take part in two classroom sessions and a full-day field trip to increase their knowledge and awareness of their watersheds and water-related issues in their communities. Student Action Projects are an encouraged outcome to connect with community-based water groups and water stewardship opportunities in the community, providing hands-on, practical ways to look after our precious water resources. The program has access to funding to help create meaningful, hands-on Student Action Projects.

Know Your Watershed is a program of the Columbia Basin Trust and is administered and managed by Wildsight. A water education team of local professionals delivers this curriculum-driven program throughout the region. Best of all, the Trust’s Know Your Watershed Program is free, and all bussing, materials, and associated TTOC costs are covered to help facilitate your school’s participation in this incredible program.

Take a virtual tour and see the program in action:


Know Your Watershed is a four-part program:

Pre-field-trip lesson
  • What is a watershed?

  • Do you Know Your Watershed?

  • Place your watershed in the geographical context of the Columbia Basin
    Introduce the latest science and predictions of how climate change impacts watershed function and management
Regular science classroom
Full-day field trip
  • Experience your watershed first-hand

  • Visit sites in your watershed upstream and downstream of your community

  • Where does your water come from and where does it go after you use it?

  • Learn water quality sampling techniques

  • Study the impacts of your community’s water use

  • Learn about the people who work with and steward water in your community

  • Get a first-hand look at how local watershed experts and managers are planning for the impacts of climate change on water quality and quantity

Bus tour to selected sites in your watershed
Post-field-trip lesson
  • Reflect on the watershed experience

  • Review water quality data collected

  • Tie together key concepts

  • Evaluate the program

Regular science classroom
Student Action Project
  • Develop with a Student Action Project (SAP) and receive a CBT financial grant and facilitated support from your Know Your Watershed educator.

  • SAP help students put what they have learned in the program into community water stewardship in action.

KYW Educator facilitates a brainstorm discussion with the students about a SAP idea. Teacher commits some class time to supporting the SAP.

What is required from the participating teachers?

  • Book the bus for the field day (a KYW bus subsidy voucher will be provided to pay for bussing).
  • Send home the waiver and photo consent and your school’s field trip permission forms for parent signatures. Collect the forms prior to the field-trip day.
  • Give the Know Your Watershed waiver and photo consent forms to the Know Your Watershed Educator on the morning of the field trip and flag students who may not be photographed during the field trip.
  • Be responsible for classroom management issues.
  • Participate actively in the field studies activities and manage the class as requested by the Know Your Watershed educator to support water quality testing and other hands-on stream science.
  • Contribute feedback on the program by completing the feedback form regarding any aspect of the program. Payment to the school for bussing and teachers-on-call may be withheld until these two evaluations are submitted to Wildsight following completion of the program.
  • Spend additional class time developing and supporting the Student Action Project

What other resources are available?

The Columbia Basin Trust’s Water Stewardship Education Program (WSEP kit), which includes lesson plans, the Columbia Basin Twister Game and the Columbia Basin 3-D model is available through your District Resource Centre.

What do the students need for the field trip studies day?

  • Dress for the weather – (jacket, hat, gloves, rain gear, long pants)
  • Wear sturdy footwear (runners or hiking boots)
  • Bring or wear rubber boots
  • Bring a pencil
  • Bring lunch and a water bottle.

Know Your Watershed B.C. curriculum references:

BC’s New Curriculum: Science/Social Studies Grade 9, B.C. Ministry of Education, 2016

For more information, or to connect with the Trust’s Know Your Watershed educator in your community, contact:

Dave Quinn
Know Your Watershed – Program Coordinator

Monica Nissen
Wildsight Education Program Manager

Wildsight Office
250.427.9325 x1


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