Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, Director

Frequently Asked Questions - School Field Programs

I have to cancel my program dates, what should I do?

Call (206) 733-9421 or email us as soon as you know you will be canceling. If you must cancel, please let us know at least three weeks in advance as that allows us enough time to fill the spot from our wait list. Rescheduling is rare and on a case-by-case basis.

Do you cancel due to weather?

We will cancel if there is high wind, impassable snow, or icy road conditions. We have a variety of weather alternatives including running all programs at the Education Center. We will contact you as soon as we are aware of predicted weather events to make alternate arrangements. As always, dress for the weather and remember we are in the mountains so it is always a bit wetter and colder than down in the lowlands.

What field programs do you offer?

We offer two different school field programs: Seeing the Source and Land and Water. Both programs are 3.25 hours and have a focus on water and watersheds. Seeing the Source travels into the Cedar River Watershed while the Land & and Water program is at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center. For more information, see the program descriptions. Our Water is Magic option is a self-led program based at the Center’s indoor interactive exhibit hall and is not usually staff supported.

What time of the year do you offer Watershed school field programs?

Our spring season is mid-March to mid-June and our fall season is mid-September to mid-November.

Who can come on your programs?

Fourth and fifth grade classes only. We set aside approximately 50% of our program days for Seattle Public Schools and the remainder for all other school districts and private schools.

What grade levels do you target?

Our programs are developed for fourth and fifth grade students. We generally recommend our Seeing the Source program, for fourth graders and Land and Water for fifth graders however both programs are suitable for both grades. Our Water is Magic self-led exhibits visit is available to all grade levels. To submit a request go to our Programs & Tours page and select Group Visits.

How many classes can I sign up for my school?

Four classes per school. Due to limited space, each school can sign up for a maximum of four programs per school year. Each school is asked to select a coordinating teacher to organize and schedule the programs. Each class may attend only once per school year.

We have four fifth grade classes. Can we all do the same program?

Potentially. Depending on availability, all four classes can attend the Seeing the Source or Land and Water programs on four separate days within the school year. On select days, we offer a Land and Water and Seeing the Source program on the same day allowing two classes to share bus transportation.

I teach middle, Jr. or high school students, do you have programs for upper level students?

A visit to the Education Center’s Water is Magic exhibits is a great alternative for all grade levels. For eighth grade and high school classes, our adult-oriented group Watershed tour is also an option. To submit a request to visit our exhibits or for a group Watershed tour go to our Programs & Tours page and select Group Visits.

Is there a cost?

Seattle Public Utilities offers these programs at no cost to schools. The Seeing the Source program requires a bus which has an associated cost. The Utility does however subsidize Seattle Public School’s transportation and the bus cost is $70 per bus trip. Other school districts and private schools can check with the local water utility to see if there are bus subsidy funds or grants.

Can we transport students in private vehicles?

For Seeing the Source Program: no. We require a school bus or rental vans. For the Land and Water Program: yes. This program is based at the CRWEC and parent cars can be parked in our Center parking lot.

We are a late/early start school. Is that a problem?

Our programs are best when we have 3.25 hours with students. Plan on a 5.5 hour roundtrip field trip including transportation. Please try to make arrangements with your transportation program to accommodate that time frame.

What is the maximum number of students we can bring per day?

The minimum class size is 18 and the maximum is 32 students per program. If you are signed up for both Seeing the Source and Land and Water programs on the same day, you can bring a total of 64 students. This does not include chaperones.

How many teachers and chaperones are required?

Teachers are required to accompany their class and a 1/5 chaperone to students ratio is ideal. There is a maximum of 6 chaperones per program. Please note that younger siblings are not allowed on the programs.

Can we combine three classes into two programs?

We take up to 32 students per field program. If you have three small classes they can be combined into two groups as long as they do not exceed 32 students per program or 64 students total.

I homeschool. Can we sign up for a field trip?

Yes, as long as the group meets our minimum and maximum size and is all 4th & 5th grade level students. Homeschools apply using the same lottery application process as all other schools. For mixed grade levels and smaller groups we offer our Water is Magic self-led exhibits visit. To submit a request go to our Programs & Tours page and select Group Visits.

Do you have a place to buy lunch?

No, we have no concessions at the Education Center. Please be sure bus drivers and chaperones are aware of this.