Watersheds: Through the Mountain and to the Valley

Students test the pH of Cave Creek.
Students Test the pH of Cave Creek.


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 and Preserve (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...

Last updated: October 3, 2021

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19000 Caves Hwy
Cave Junction , OR 97523


541 592-2100

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