Yuba Watershed Experience Center
In an effort to enhance the educational experience for all Yuba County residents, especially youth, and to create opportunities to learn about, explore and develop an appreciation for the natural resources available in Yuba County, a collaborative group of various organizations passionate about the Yuba River watershed has joined together to develop the Yuba Watershed Experience program.
Modeled after similar educational facilities such as the Sonoma Water Westside Education Center in Healdsburg, and interpretive centers like Big Break Regional Shoreline Visitor Center in Oakley, this facility, staffed by credentialed teachers, will provide in-classroom curriculum and activities for all grade levels, as well as a first-class riverfront facility for field trips, offering hands-on experiences to solidify the lessons learned in the classroom. Additionally, the facility could be designed to accommodate conferences, leadership retreats, recreational opportunities and more.
The initial partners in planning for this concept include: Yuba Water Agency, Yuba County Office of Education, Yuba Community College District, South Yuba River Citizens League, Yuba River Endowment and the superintendents from school districts throughout Yuba County.
(Images: the Yuba Watershed Experience Center was inspired by facilities like these)
Enlightening people of all ages to the wonders of the Yuba River watershed through experiential, interactive, educational adventures.
The educational goals of this program are to enhance educational opportunities for the residents of Yuba County, with curriculum opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art, math, environment, culture and history, using the Yuba River as the foundation for the experience.
Target audiences include: K-12 schools, college students, and even career prepatory programs. K-12 programming will be designed to meet state standards, ensuring that the programs assist the schools in curriculum programming without creating a resource or funding constraint.
The overarching goals for the center include improving Yuba County’s quality of life and economic prosperity through enhanced education, and to spark community pride. Additionally, residents will gain a better understanding of the critical importance of water and develop a strong appreciation for the natural resources in their own community.
Next Steps/ Timeline
Development of this program is in its infancy. In 2019-2020, the collaboration will be evolving the concept further, reaching out to community partners and educators to further understand needs and how best to use this model to accomplish collective goals. However, water-related programming is already making its way into schools, while the concept continues to be developed.
Funding and Needs
It is anticipated that this will be a multi-million-dollar project, with long-term funding requirements of several hundred thousand dollars per year for operations and maintenance.
Assuming that the community expresses interest in such a facility and determines it and the associated curriculum programs being developed would be beneficial to the people of Yuba County, Yuba Water Agency is capable of funding all aspects of this project and program, from construction, to staffing, including teacher(s) salaries, operations and maintenance, and material costs. Expansions of the programs outside of Yuba Water Agency’s core missions may require supplemental funding from other agencies, grants, or community sources. The goal is to design a program that can enhance the curriculum and educate the public about water without causing any further financial or resource constraints for the schools.