All right my Watershed heads!
Well here you are. You wait six years to become the top dogs of your elementary school and have this FREd / Watershed Year and the craziest thing happens. So first, this is history! Accept it! And the measure of a great Mountain Kid is when the unexpected happens, we make something even better out of it. I am serious. So no, we aren't going to do this like we usually do but we may just do it better! Our Plan B is still taking shape but the adventure is inevitable. This is watershed after all! Okay?
Now that we have that out of the way we can focus on where we are. We are in the Upper Feather River Watershed, the largest and wettest watershed in the Sierra Nevada. It is where the Sierras end and the Cascades begin and we even have the Great Basin Desert coming in from the east. Being a Mountain Kid anywhere would be solid but here it becomes epic. No matter where you live, you are part of a tributary to the Feather River that not only flows to the Pacific Ocean, but is also diverted all over the state to grow food and hydrate this big state!
We of course start where we live and look at our big backyard! To begin the story of our water you have to climb to the high ridge and mountain peak. We find that first drop of water and watch it flow and grow as we go through the year. It's that drop that we follow riffle by rapid that ultimately leads down into our towns, valleys, canyons and finally to the front yard. We don't ask where our water comes from until we really know and understand where our water comes from.
So if we are going to be homebound and stuck anywhere, this is the place to be stuck! Let’s make the most of it! The other plug for our situation in 202-2021 is that you my Mountain Kid friends, are more free. Every day you can "Go Watershed" and get outside to explore. Rather than explore one creek as an entire class (sure that would be fun) you are each going to do that on your own and so we will follow dozens of creeks. "Divide and conquer!" as my many times Great Grandfather Attila the Hun used to say.
You should be tried and true Mountain Kids by 6th grade! Still, look to the list below to remind you of simple things you can do on any mountain day to own your Mountain Kid label.
- Go outside everyday
- Record the moon phase every day
- Record Sunrise & Sunset time every day
- Calculate the length of the daylight and darkness every day
- Lay out under the stars often. Go out and see how different the sky looks every month. Learn 4 new constellations every season. Start with the Northern Triangle and its 3 constellations. Then Draco, the Dippers and Cassiopeia. Next the Pleiades, Taurus and Orion.
- Become a better weather forecaster. Yes our storms tend to come from the ocean and the west. Watch the meteorologist and know what is coming before it arrives. Make a weekend forecast every Friday!
- In a safe place and with a parent, show your polar bear grit and jump in the cold creek at dawn. Video the plunge and you will be entered in to the FREd Polar Bear Club.
- On a piece of wood, write down a message for the folks at the ocean and throw it into the river. Tell them that you may be delayed but that you are still coming.
- Write your water drop story. From the headwaters to where it ends. End your story "…to be continued," or, if you are really imaginative, research where our water goes and write a creative end at the Pacific Ocean
- Field journal one watershed adventure once a week as you explore and follow your water spot or your water drop. More on that...,