CoosWA's education programs are unique in our community and provide critical support/opportunity to youth who may otherwise be left behind in a traditional school setting.
The Coos Watershed Association is committed to enhancing our community. Since 2005 our outreach program has emphasized improving communication and fostering cooperation with landowners throughout the watershed.
We are also dedicated to ensuring that the youth of Coos County have an outlet to pursue careers and interests in applied sciences. We have created three education programs catered to meet their needs: Master Watershed Stewards, Community Stewardship Corps, and the Natural Resources Youth Leaders Program. In addition, we run a full-time, paid summer restoration crew with high school students across local schools through the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC).
Students Search for Salmon
Marshfield High School students explore native salmon habitat, look for Coho, and learn about restoration efforts to restore critical gravel beds
Looking for Life Small and Large
Students from the Harding Learning Center sample for macroinvertebrates at Matson Creek and learn what species' presence/absence can tell us about a stream
Harding Learning Center students plant red-osier dogwood as part of a native coastal wetland garden at the Coos History Museum
During the School Year
Master Watershed Stewards: Marshfield High School (8th-12th grade)
Master Watershed Stewards (MWS) is a 9-month after-school program that has served over 80 high school students since 2012. The program is open to 8th-12th grade students interested in exploring their local watershed on Friday afternoons. Participants are exposed to issues such as stormwater runoff, stream restoration, fish passage, native plant propagation, basic ecological principles and much more. Although core curriculum tenants are maintained throughout each term, this program is also designed for flexibility, allowing us to take advantage of local issues and projects as they arise and better meet community needs.
Community Stewardship Corps : Destinations Academy (9th-12th grade)
The Community Stewards Corps (CSC) program began in 2014 as a way to offer project-based learning for academic credit to students at Destinations Academy, a local alternative high school. Since its initiation, over 47 students (9th-12th grade) have participated in this 9-month program and worked on projects such as rain garden installations, trail repair, invasive species removal, and more. Each project emphasizes community connections and is specifically designed to build basic job skills, teamwork, and awareness of various environmental issues. This program also offers a college tuition voucher for participants who complete the required hours.
During the Summer
Natural Resources Youth Leaders Program: Southwestern Oregon Community College (9th-12th grade)
The Natural Resources Youth Leaders (NRYL) program is a 6-8-week college-preparatory, natural resources field program designed for low-income or first-generation college-bound high school students in Coos County. Participating high schoolers enroll as students at Southwestern Oregon Community College for the summer term and earn up to 3 college credits and a stipend through a Natural Resources Internship. Since 2014, 26 students have successfully completed this internship program with 100% of participants earning an A grade in the program.
Watershed Restoration Youth Crew (ages 16-18)
Each summer the Coos Watershed Association hires a small team of local youth (working four, ten-hour days throughout the 8-10 week season) to build invaluable leadership experiences, teamwork skills, and safe work practices as a jump-start for life after school. Students in this crew are also exposed to many of the basic principles of riparian restoration such as invasive plant removal, fence construction, and erosion control. Throughout the summer, but particularly over the course of the last week, students also learn about a wide variety of career paths and are encouraged to network with local professionals. Since 2012, approximately 50 students have participated in the Restoration Youth Crew. This crew is made possible by support from the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC). Positions on this youth crew are paid, and all inquiries about how to get involved should be directed to Shawna Faulkner (firstname.lastname@example.org).
When we teach students about our watershed, we often begin by saying “it’s all connected,” and that statement holds true for education as well. The time and energy we spend each year visiting classrooms, developing projects, and building relationships with local students directly impacts the future of Coos Bay and how we will manage our valuable natural resources. Through us, our students are connected to hands- on science learning and non-traditional educational opportunities. Through them, we are connected to the future.
"He [my son] gained some important and fun knowledge about the world directly around him and learned to work cooperatively with other students."
- Program Parent
"This program gave me an upper hand in achieving my goals of graduating high school with my Associate's and becoming an environmental scientist."
- Program Alumni