• Speleothems in Miller's Chapel.

    Oregon Caves

    National Monument Oregon

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  • Cave Tours Closed for Season

    Cave Tours are closed for the winter. Tours will resume April 26, 2014. All trails on the monument remain open.

  • Road Work

    Crews are removing brush along highway 46 beginning in the lower parking lot and moving down the highway. Work is scheduled to last until April 20, 2014; expect delays.

Watersheds: Through the Mountain and to the Valley

Students test the pH of Cave Creek.

Students Test the pH of Cave Creek.


Due to federal budget cuts this program is not offered in 2014. We encourage you to see what education programs are available via our Watershed program partner, the Siskiyou Field Institute. To schedule a field trip or find a program please visit their website and use the contact information presented: http://www.thesfi.org/Page.asp?NavID=663.

Watershed curriculum remains available to educators for their use as teaching tools.

Thank you and hope to see you in the Cave this year.

Oregon Caves partnered with Siskiyou Field Institute to provide Watershed: Through the Mountains and to the Valley

"I have toured the caves several times with my family but never with a clipboard, journal, and flashlight around my neck. Testing the water and looking at the rock formations as a scientist was more fun than [I had] as a tourist!” -Anonymous narrative from a local 6th grade student

This curriculum-based program gives students the opportunity for hands-on, scientific investigations of Illinois Valley watersheds. Cave Creek, flowing from the mouth of the cave at Oregon Caves National Monument (OCNM), is a headwater tributary to the Wild and Scenic Illinois River. Deer Creek joins the Illinois River near Siskiyou Field Institute's home, the Deer Creek Center (DCC). Students compare and contrast OCNM and DCC watersheds by examining topography, geology, and waterways by conducting water quality tests, practicing the scientific method, and determining stream health.

An Outdoor Educator from SFI Presents the Watershed Program to a Local Middle School.

An Outdoor Educator from SFI Presents the Watershed Program to a Local Middle School.


Grades: 6th-8th
Ranger Classroom Presentation: 45 minutes
Field Trips: At OCNM, 3 hours from 9:00-12:00 and at DCC, 4 hours from 9:00-1:00
Program Logistics
Teachers can select from the following choices depending on the time constraints and level of interest.

  1. Students receive a classroom presentation, followed by a field trip to each site. Teachers can decide if they would like to have two day trips, or more closely link the experience by staying over night at DCC. These visits could also be spread out over the academic year: one visit in the fall, one visit in the spring.
  2. Students will receive a classroom presentation and then go on a field trip to one site. During that field trip students will receive some information about the other sites watershed for comparison. Information on the web will also help give students a virtual snapshot of the site they did not visit.

Watershed Lesson Plans

In the Classroom Before Outdoor Educators Visit...

Back in the Classroom...

Did You Know?

Scorpion under ultraviolet-DYK

Scorpions fluoresce or glow under ultraviolet (UV) black light. They can glow electric green or blue. Scorpions fluoresce because they contain a fluorescent protein in the upper layer of their exoskeleton. This layer is like your fingernail, but even more protective and tough. The special protein inside is thought by scientists to serve as an ultraviolet sensitivity mechanism, perhaps allowing the scorpion to avoid burning itself by staying exposed too long to damaging light levels.