We design Field Programs for students to study the ecosystem of a site within the Columbia Slough Watershed and its nearby habitats. These trips are the field component for students who have completed at least one classroom presentation.
What to Expect
Field activities include:
- Wildlife observation
- Permeability, porosity, and the flow of water
- Visiting Portland Water Bureau’s Groundwater Pump Station
- Visiting Gresham’s Stormwater Treatment Facility and Wastewater Treatment Plant
- Visiting Multnomah County Drainage District’s Pump Station
- Water quality testing
- Macroinvertebrate sampling
- Identifying native and non-native plants
- Habitat studies
Field programs generally last between 1.5 - 2 hours and can include a stewardship project or deeper scientific investigation.
After studying watersheds and riparian zones, students can participate in riparian restoration projects through our partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation, including:
- Invasive plant removal
- Mulching and trail maintenance
- Planting native herbs, shrubs, and trees
Cost and Transportation
Slough School recognizes that school bus costs are a major barrier to getting kids outside to learn. It is our goal to provide programs free of charge to teachers and students within the Columbia Slough Watershed.
Right now, thanks to funding from the Portland Water Bureau, Multnomah County Drainage District, and the Cities of Gresham and Fairview, we can help with many school bus transportation fees. Please check with Jennifer, the Education Director, about billing your academic transportation to Slough School.
If you are in Portland Public Schools, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District has funding for your school’s transportation.
We plan for Slough School field lessons to be in line with the science curriculum and standards that you are meeting in the classroom.
Our programming supports Next Generation Science Standards at each grade level.
Many field trips take place at Whitaker Ponds Nature Park, which has an outdoor classroom, pond access and limited indoor study areas.
Other sites within the watershed include:
- Salish Ponds Wetlands
- Nadaka Nature Park
- Wilkes Creek Headwaters
- Groundwater Pump Station
- Columbia Slough Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility
- Columbia Children’s Arboretum
- Kelley Point Park
Come to field experiences dressed appropriately for the weather! During the fall, winter, and spring it’s a great idea to wear:
- Warm layers
- A waterproof layer
- Closed-toed shoes or boots
...all of which are OK to get dirty!
Slough School has raingear, boots, and gloves for your students to borrow if they want it - let us know!
We also need to be safe in our urban natural areas! We remember these guidelines in the field:
- Sharp: Leave sharp things on the ground and tell an adult
- Slippery: Walk carefully on surfaces
- Stay With the Group: Always be able to see and hear your adult leaders
Please invite enough adult chaperones to meet a 1:10 adult to student ratio.
If you are interested in creating a plan of study with the Slough School, contact:
Jennifer Starkey, Education Director
Phone: (503) 281-1132