How a watershed works can be difficult to imagine…even for adults. It is a complex system with biological, chemical, physical, and social processes that work together and rely on each other to function.
The Flathead Lakers have worked with local schools and teachers for nearly two decades to teach students about the watershed in which they are growing up. We want to foster an understanding and a sense of place that comes with education and feeling connected to the land and water and everything they support.
Last August, the Flathead Lakers were fortunate to receive a grant from the Greater Polson Community Foundation to purchase two EnviroScape models to use in our watershed education program. These models are invaluable tools for demonstrating how water moves through a watershed system.
The model represents communities like ours – neighborhoods, farm fields, construction sites, roads, mountains, rivers and lakes. The kids learn about and discuss the different kinds of pollution that can come from each area. With the help of Kool-Aide and cocoa to represent pollution sources, and armed with water spray bottles for rain, the students see how small sources of pollution can degrade the water quality of our rivers and Flathead Lake. They also can see how planting trees, installing silt fences, and other lake-friendly practices can drastically reduce the amount of pollution reaching our lake and its tributaries.
These models, along with our watershed education program for students and adults, are helping to create a community of concerned watershed citizens. Providing this education opportunity helps ensure that the clear, blue waters that benefit us and our communities now can be enjoyed by future generations.
If you are interested in our Becoming Watershed Citizens program or hosting an EnviroScape demonstration, please contact Flathead Lakers Education & Outreach Coordinator Hilary Devlin at 883-1341.