Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

Seeing the Source Program

Seeing and discovering our mountain-fed drinking water supply

This field trip journeys to the heart of the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. For 3.5 hours, naturalist-led, hands-on activities encourage understanding of water cycles, watersheds, water quality, erosion, cultural history, riparian areas and wildlife. Students See the Source of their mountain-fed drinking water supply, plus discover the importance of protecting and conserving it for fish and people.

  • Teachers must provide commercially licensed school buses or vans. (Bus subsidies are available for Seattle Public Schools).
  • One 4th or 5th grade class per program; 32 student max, 1-5 adult to child ratio
  • Available to 4th or 5th grade classes in the spring and fall sessions

Programs offered

  • Spring: Mid-March to mid-June
  • Fall: Mid-September to mid-November

What to expect: Agenda and logistics

Teachers: This is to help you prepare for the field trip. Please do not share these logistics with your students. We strive to provide surprise and delight for students during the field trip.

Seeing the Source teachers packets include: What to expect: agenda and logistics, student and teacher checklists, driving directions, word search activity, pre-trip questions sheet.

For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Center arrival

Bus arrives at Education Center. Arrival times can vary from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. depending on the school's start time. The program requires at least 3 hours.

Activity one: Center presentation

Once the bus arrives, naturalists board and give a welcome and brief introduction. Students then leave the bus for a bathroom break, followed by a slide show overview of the Watershed, wildlife, and water system. “Seeing the Source” students are asked to leave their lunches and bags on the bus. 50 minutes.

Travel to Chester Morse Lake. 20 minutes.

Activity two

Chester Morse Lake covered shelter (no heat) for lunch! We have a pack-it-in, pack-it-out lunch policy. 20 minutes.

After lunch, habitat walk and wildlife story. 45 min (if time and weather allow).

Travel to Cedar Falls. 15 minutes.

Activity three

Cedar Falls and Cedar River students divide into two groups and rotate through two activities. Students explore how land and water interact through hands-on activities outside. 60 minutes.

Wrap-up and goodbye

Class departure: As students use toilets and re-board the bus, we ask you to please do a head count prior to boarding the bus. Bus follows pilot car and exits Watershed. 20 minutes.