How Do I Join?
Educators and Students
Participation in The River Mile is very flexible. Getting started requires a little bit of training for everyone, regardless of experience. This includes the "Introduction the The River Mile Webinar," and the ArcGIS Online and Field Investigations workshops. To get the most out of your and your students' participation in The River Mile it is highly recommended that you participate in additional training such as the following: Crayfish, Project WET, Project WILD, Project Learning Tree. Additional training is scheduled as needed.
For those already doing field investigations or resource projects with an agency, the community, or on school property, you really don't have to do anything new! Educators who are experienced in using inquiry, science methods, conducting field investigations and using outdoor classrooms will just need to participate in the introductory webinar and the ArcGIS training to get started. Then utilize The River Mile's essential question (How do relationships among components of an ecosystem affect watershed health?) to tie all of your projects together. Additional resources, training and networking opportunities are available to expand projects and share and learn from other groups. No one needs to stop what they are doing, just tweek it to have real world meaning beyond the project and share with others in the network.
For groups that have never done field investigations or do not have any existing projects, after participation in the introductory webinar and the ArcGIS training, it is recommended that your first site visits focus on observation skills and getting to know the site. To save time, observation skills can be developed while at school. Once a group gets to know their site they are encouraged to develop field investigations or projects of special interest to their group and site. You'll want to participate in additional training in project-based learning, field investigations and natural resource field methodology as you move into more in-depth experiences.
The goal is to have multiple grade levels working with the same site so during each site visit students learn new skills and information. Younger students learn observation skills they need when they are working with the more complex investigations in the higher grades. If a site is on Lake Roosevelt, National Park Service staff provides assistance and guidance in the development of projects or recommendations for other resources and materials.
Participation in networking is one of the key components for participation in The River Mile. If you haven't already, Like The River Mile's Facebook page. There are actually two of them. One is a group the other is a page. Both will be updated regularly. In addition there are quarterly electronic newsletters, monthly webinars and Blogs. Once your registration has been received you should start seeing email notices fairly regularly. If you don't start receiving these within a week or so, please contact The River Mile's coordinator.
All groups provide a GPS location of their site, an ArcGIS online map of their site, and a blog, facebook page or webpage/website about their project(s) which are shared with the world at large through The River Mile's website maps. These maps help link projects together, tell the stories of the watershed and show the distribution of participation.
For students to get the most out of their participation it is recommended that you conduct a minimum of 2 site visits per year with your students. These site visits need to be in different seasons as well. To really be able to detect changes at your site monthly visits are necessary. Your first site visit is an initial descriptive site visit. What do you see and where do you see it? Your next site visits can be field investigations you or your students design. You might also choose to participate in The River Mile Crayfish Study.
For all of your site visits, data collection is important. Collect basic water quality samples (temperature, pH, conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen if you have a meter), identify who uses the site and how (plants, animals and humans). Then share your data through your ArcGIS On-line map(s), reports, newsletter articles, webinar presentations, and NatureMapping.
If you are in NE Washington you might participate in some additional activities such as The River Mile's Natural Resource Career Skills Day, Student Science Symposium or the Balde Eagle Festival. If you are not close to these events you might look around your local watershed for similar activities which support your project.
How do I find and select a site?
If you don't already have an appropriate site (with water that eventually gets into the Columbia River) begin by identifying several sites that might work. Identify the agencies/organizations that manage these sites, list the pros and cons of each site as an outdoor classroom, and then select a site. Contact the managing agency/organization and discuss what you want to do and obtain permission to use the site.
Write a description of the site and use it on your webpage. Develop a map of your site and for your project, submit participant registration form if you haven't already done it, participate in training and then share your experiences and data.
Resource Specialists and Environmental Educators
Resource managers, agency personnel, and environmental educators interested in participating in The River Mile, at least one person from your organization should participate in the introductory webinar, ArcGIS Online and field investigations training. There are many ways you can help; serve as a watershed coordinator for your area, provide additional training, work with the groups in your area on their river mile projects, write articles for the newsletters and do presentations for the monthly webinars for example.
How Do I Join?
Ready to join the network? Registration is open periodically now through the 2014-15 school year. Much of the ground work which will ensure the success of The River Mile is still being developed and tested. Everyone who joins in these early expansion tests will help shape the future of the program. We are aiming for full program availability for the 2015-2016 school year as part of our National Park Service Centennial Celebration in 2016!
We anticipate open registration by May 2015. Watch this website for additional open periods between now and then.
Registration is currently open through September 30, 2013. We anticipate it will open again for spring 2014. To register submit the registration form by email, fax or snail mail to the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area's Education Specialist.
Join the network of educators, students, resource managers and environmental educators throughout the Columbia River Watershed!
Did You Know?
Fire is a natural part of Lake Roosevelt's dry forest and desert environment. Park fire fighters, to protect nearby landowners, manage the forest by extinguishing any wildfire, as well as thin, pile up, and burn excess vegetation in winter. Prescribed fires may be lit to burn what is left.