Seeing the Source Program

This field trip journeys to the heart of the Cedar River Municipal Watershed to allow students to see and discover our mountain-fed drinking water supply. 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.

General Information:

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


What to Expect: Agenda and Logistics

Teachers, the following information 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 Teacher's Packets include agendas and logistics, student and teacher checklists, driving directions, word search activity, pre-trip questions sheet.

Center Arrival

Buses arrive at the Education Center. Arrival times can vary from 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. depending on the school's start time. The program requires at least 3.5 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. 45 minutes. Travel to Cedar Falls waterfall is 10 minutes.

Activity Two

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. Travel to Chester Morse Lake is 10 minutes.

Activity Three and Lunch Break

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. 40 min (if time and weather allow).

Wrap-up and Goodbye

Class departure: As students use toilets and re-board the bus to say goodbye. Travel back through Watershed gates and Center, and then on to school. 20 minutes.