Resources for Education and Outreach

Teaching Tools

Hands-on learning resources for teaching function and value of watersheds. Free to use for Bucks County municipalities, schools, civic and nonprofit organizations.

A plastic model of an environment including roads, buildings, farms, and natural features. Water representing the rain that floods, supplemental ingredients to represent pollution, fertilizers, exposed soils and more.

What’s In a Watershed

Non-point Source Pollution

Enviroscape models show how rain events create pollutant laden runoff into streams and lakes. Correlated to land uses, non-toxic household products are sprinkled on the model until the audience “makes it rain”. Two models are available, the standard model shows a typical watershed while the restoration model includes stormwater management, or green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), features.




Quick Look Video
Model of a stream built with plastic media. Includes features such as buildings, bridges, vegetation and more. In the stream is a demonstrated pollution event - the blue coloring.

How Water and Land Move

Stream dynamics / Bank erosion / Climate

The EmRiver EM2 stream model offers a continuous flow of water through a specially designed media to demonstrate how particle sizes influence erosion, accretion, and channel migration in a streambed.

Adjustable water flow shows how storm events lead to the collapse of banks and build up of gravel bars. An interactive demonstration for children and adults alike. Requires minimum one hour setup and breakdown.


Quick Look Video
Two plastic containers propped up on a wooden 2x4. Plastic containers include soil and plants. Two water jugs are poured over the containers, demonstrating how water flows through natives versus turf grass.

Infiltration

To Soak-in or Run-off

Vegetation matters! Demonstrate how diverse, native plants encourage water to soak through soil while impermeable (pavement) and less permeable (turfgrass) produces runoff instead of groundwater recharge.









Video Link for Demonstration
A model demonstrating the flow and cycle of groundwater.

Below the Surface

Aquifers and You

The Groundwater Model shows learners how water moves from the clouds to their kitchen sink and what can go wrong (contamination!) below ground.


Link for Yourtube Demonstration
A person standing in a stream with a net. Demonstrating how to catch macro-invertebrates  in the stream.

What’s in there?

Collect and Investigate

Older learners may want to get their feet wet and sample their local stream. Use these sampling devices – seine or kick net – to investigate the vertebrate and invertebrate life in a pond or stream.

Video Link for Demonstration
A zoomed in look at something under a microscope.

A Closer Look

Zoom in

Use these digital scopes to see the detail of the life around you. A leaf, moss, fungi, or macroinvertebrates come to life. Six scopes are available.


Quick Look Video

Ready to Reserve Materials for your event? Start Here!

Planning a Project?

The tools and gear to make your project safe and efficient, available without charge.

The Conservation Planting Trailer is stocked with everything you’ll need for invasives control, tree planting, green stormwater and other projects. Reserve the trailer for a day or a week to access gas/battery powered equipment, hand tools, and personal safety gear. Made possible by the Resource Conservation & Development Council of Southeastern Pa. Contact Karen at KOgden@BucksCCD.org

Programs / Presentations

Community members deliver watershed education programs. For Bucks County municipalities, schools, civic and nonprofit organizations.

A demonstration of the plastic Enviroscape model for a group of kids.

What’s In a Watershed

Non-point Source Pollution

A presenter will engage with children or adults (approximately 40 minutes), with the help of an Enviroscape model, to demonstrate how what we do on the land affects our water quality. Non-point source pollution originates from various diffuse sources such as agricultural runoff, urban stormwater, atmospheric deposition, and other scattered activities.

Working with the simulated land uses depicted on the model, non-toxic household products are sprinkled on the model until the audience “makes it rain”. Two models are available, the standard model shows a typical watershed while the restoration model includes stormwater management, or green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), features.


Kids playing in the stream table model.

Water Changing Land

Stream dynamics / Bank erosion / Climate

A presenting team will set the stage for a meandering channel through the simulated streambed. As water flows through the EmRiver EM2 stream model, observers will see how particle size gradients influence erosion, accretion, and channel migration in the floodplain. Adjustable water flows show how storm events lead to the collapse of banks and build up of gravel bars. Flood – drought extremes predicted with the changing climate can be addressed.

The model requires a minimum of one hour for setup and breakdown. This program is suggested for occasions where a single setup can be left in place for 4 hours or more with groups of 6-10 individuals moving through at intervals of about 30-45 minutes (depending on age group).
An area of Native Plants blooming.

Native Plants

To Soak-in or Run-off

Vegetation matters! A presenter discusses why native plants are crucial to ecosystem health. From pollinators to migratory birds, to water quality, native plants are key.

Paired with a short infiltration demonstration the audience can see how native plants encourage water to soak through soil while impermeable (pavement) and less permeable (turfgrass) produces runoff instead of groundwater recharge.

Learners will also be introduced to the problem of invasive, non-native species in our region.

Aquifers

The Groundwater Connection

The Groundwater Model shows learners how water moves from the clouds to their kitchen sink and what can go wrong (contamination!) below ground.

Easily paired with stormwater or native plant topics.






Water flooding a culvert under a road.

Stormwater Basics

SCREEN-SLOW-SOAK-STORE

A variety of teaching tools may be used to introduce what happens once rain falls to earth. A presentation on how land use influences the quality of our surface water and the quantity of groundwater resources.

Solutions to stormwater problems are presented – from backyard practices to engineered landscape features.

Macroinvertebrates

Collect and Investigate

A presenter will introduce the ecological role and sensitivities of macroinvertebrates. Indicators of stream health, their study is engaging and informative.

Once collected, students can take a closer looking using digital microscopes to view our underappreciated macroinvertebrates.




Trees that have been overgrown with invasives.

The Problem with Invasives

When Plants get Pushy

An onscreen presentation explains what makes a non-native species and invasive, how to recognize and control the problematic plants.

An individual placing live stakes into the bank of a stream.

Live Staking: Backyard Stream Repair

A Low Cost Method

Learn how to stabilize eroding streambanks using the power of plants. Understand which conditions are appropriate for the method, how to obtain live stake material, and how to install the stakes to maximize success.






Hands holding a plastic container of vegetables and vegetables wrapped in a cloth.

Reducing your Plastic use

Tips and Tricks

You’ve heard – plastics are everywhere. Hear how you and your family can reduce your reliance on single use and other plastic products.


Other Topics, not limited to:

  • Backyard Wildlife Habitat
  • Native Plants in the Garden: Selection, Use, and Maintenance
  • Why did my Native Garden fail?
  • Climate Change and Global Warming
  • Composting
  • Stream Bank Erosion Monitoring
  • Native Plants for Birds

Ready to Request a Program? Start Here!