Clean Rivers Education – Field Trips

Photo shows young student on dock with net collecting samples from a pond
Clean Rivers Education field trips give students an opportunity to learn about watershed health, the causes and effects of water pollution, and what they can do to protect rivers and streams. We design our field trips to complement teachers’ curricula and Next Generation Science Standards.
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Watershed Investigations

Grade 1 and up

Image of student pondering a question about a chewed up tree stump behind him
Through our watershed investigations field trips, students define problems, carry out investigations, make arguments from evidence, and communicate their own solutions for watershed health.

Apply concepts and new skills gained in the classroom to a field study. Join us at a local stream, pond or natural area to investigate water and the nearby habitat. Field study activities may include: testing water quality, sampling for aquatic macroinvertebrates (water bugs), exploring wildlife, and identifying native and non-native plants. Activities depend on the season, site features, and curriculum goals. Transportation fund assistance may be available upon request.

Our goal is to engage students in natural areas as close to their communities as possible. Talk to an educator about the best location for your field studies.

Natural Area Restoration Projects

Grade 2 and up

Four students in a park show their working gloves and shovels as they prepare to plant
Students get ready for a restoration activity to plant native plants in a nearby park.

Pair a field study activity with a natural area restoration project. Students take ownership over natural areas and parks and work alongside ecologists to remove invasive plants, plant native trees and shrubs, and maintain past restoration sites. These opportunities are available through a strong partnership with Portland Parks and Recreation and local watershed councils.

Green Infrastructure Tours

Grade 3 and up

Two students examine the plants and structure of a roadside green steet planter
Students consider smart engineering solutions to stormwater pollution as they map the route of stormwater as it is conveyed into planted swales.

Take your students on a guided excursion in your community to observe how swales, ecoroofs, green streets, and creative downspout disconnections help improve water quality. Learn how these innovations allow stormwater to soak into the ground to reduce volume, while plants and soil filter pollutants. An educator will work with you to develop an itinerary based on your method of transportation and location.

Storm Drain Curb Marking: A Community Action Project

Grades 4 and up (dry weather only)

Photo shows four students proudly displaying the curb marker they just installed in front of a storm drain.
Portland Public Schools students place markers at storm drains near their school to remind the community that only rain goes down storm drains to protect our rivers and streams.

Much of the stormwater in Portland goes directly into streams and rivers carrying oil, dirt, fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants from our yards and streets. Installing permanent curb markers with the message “Only rain down the storm drain” reminds people that storm drains are for rainwater only.

A 4:1 student to adult ratio is required for traffic safety. Dry weather is required before and after installation so the adhesive dries properly. Planning a rain date is helpful.


Environmental Services Clean Rivers Educator – North

Megan Hanson
phone number503-823-8225Contact Megan for schools north of Burnside Street.

Environmental Services Clean Rivers Educator – South

Christa Shier
phone number503-823-8859Contact Christa for schools south of Burnside Street