What’s Making That Hole in the Ground?

Do you have something digging holes around your home or farm?  Use this diagram to help diagnose common holes and tracks left by animals.

Virginia Watersheds

Where does the water flow?

Streamer

Explore America’s larger streams.  You can trace upstream to their source or you can trace downstream to where they empty. The interactive map helps you learn about the larger streams in our area and the places they pass through.  Streamer is a resource found at the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Renewable or Non-Renewable…what’s the diff?

Children (and adults) often do not know which resources are renewable and nonrenewable. Use this activity, from Project Learning Tree, to learn what these terms mean and discover why sustainable use of natural resources is so important.

Soil Is Alive!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service bring you this educational booklet packed with information and activities to learn how soil is alive beneath our feet and all the magical properties and surprise soil holds.  Grades 3-4.

Sketch a Scavenger Hunt

Search high and low for items on this list! Sketch and label what you find.

Extra Credit: Find 3 different tree leaves—compare and contrast.

A Waterproof Case book

Follow Michelle Tuesday, a Private Investigator.  She hasn’t nabbed a big-time thief, or solved a high profile whodunit, but she does do important work. Inspector Tuesday is an expert in animal cases. It’s because she can talk their language. The Inspector has been summoned by the residents in a worried watershed for HELP!  Read more, gather the facts and help solve the Waterproof Case written by Deborah Rodney and illustrated by Jessica Bonin funded by and created for World Water Monitoring Challenge.

A History Lesson in Soil Conservation and a Snack!

Students learn about the small fraction of the planet available for growing food and ways this important land can be protected. This two-part lesson is an excellent way to introduce students to the importance of preserving soil and soil’s role in feeding billions of people.

Students will also view historical images of the Dust Bowl and read a diary entry representative of the time. Students learn how human actions can effect soil, and in turn, the landscape and people. In the second part of the lesson, students look at what was learned from the Dust Bowl, and changes it made in farming methods and soil conservation practices.

Pop Quiz

How many macroinvertabrates can you identify?  Take the quiz.

What’s That Smell…Energy From Garbage Experiment

The average person in the United States creates about four pounds of trash every day! Some of this trash break down at the landfill. Have you ever driven by a landfill and wonder why does it smell? Decaying garbage creates an odor because a gas is being created as the trash decays. You can’t see the gas, but you can smell it! That trash, even when it’s decaying, contains energy!

Crumpled Paper Watershed Activity

A watershed is the land area that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and rivers, and eventually to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays, and the ocean.  So if you are in the Rivanna River Watershed (part of the larger James River Watershed) or the North Anna River Watershed (part of the York River Watershed), all the rain that falls on your property eventually goes to the Chesapeake Bay.  What??  In this activity using a piece of crumpled paper, markers and water– students create a watershed model to demonstrate the geographical flow of water across the landscape, and the relationship of natural/cultural activities to water quality impacts.

Soil Buddy 

Germinating a bean sprout in a cup has graduated…this activity will help students identify and understand the three requirements all plants need to germinate and live while watching their Soil Buddy grow.  Send us pictures of your new Soil Buddy.

Science Podcasts 4 Kids

Follow this link and discover 19 websites that offer science podcasts for kids (…and kids of wonder and kids at heart).                                                                                                Photo by Phil Voystock- Cook Forest State Park, PA

DESIGN A POCKET PARK

You (yes, you) have been asked to provide some advice on the park design in order to make it more environmentally friendly.  Click on link to find out more.

BirdSleuth Explorer’s Guidebook

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology wants to help get kids outside and enjoying the backyard, neighborhood, and local parks. Take kids on a habitat scavenger hunt, create a sound map, and test bird ID skills with this adaptable activity book designed to be used by families, school groups, and anyone looking for a fun way to connect to nature. Geared towards fourth graders, this step-by-step guide will help to explore our country’s diverse habitats and the birds that live there.  This BirdSleuth Explorer’s Guidebook is available as a free download in both English and Spanish!  Click on the link above for more details.

Explore Macroinvertebrates

To the river!  Macroinvertebrates.org offers a tool for interactive views of freshwater macroinvertebrates.  Zoom in, zoom out, move left, move right to see the dorsal, lateral and ventral view of our local river residents.  This site will help you closely explore the macroinvertebrates that are living in our waterways and their populations help to indicate water quality based on their pollution tolerance.

Edible Soil

Pencils down, grab a spoon and dig into this tasty soil layering activity.

Falcon Cam

Peregrine Falcons once nested on the cliffs in Virginia’s mountains they now nest on city buildings, bridges and other tall structures as well as cliffs.  In cities, falcons use special boxes placed on the roofs of buildings to nest in. These are called hacking boxes.  The falcons are nesting in downtown Richmond, Virginia.  Hatching to begin any time now.  Watch them on the Falcon cam.  More information can be found at www.dgif.virginia.gov.  Photo courtesy of DGIF

CB WS

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Maps and Maps and Maps

Here, you will find The Chesapeake Bay Watershed in a variety of views—Geographical, Land Use, Pollution, Aquatic Life and many more.  Start exploring.

Aquatic Crusader

Nonpoint Source Pollution Awareness & Activities–understanding the characteristics of water, that precious resource we are trying to protect and understanding how it interacts with other elements in the environment, some of which pollute it and cause problems for people and animals.  This EPA link shares seven experiments for you to try that will teach you the characteristics of water.

Put A Ring On It

Put A Ring On It

What can we learn about a tree’s life and history by examining tree rings? During this session, students will learn how to analyze tree rings and how dendrochronologists use tree-ring research to improve our understanding of past climate and environment.  Presenter: Cari Leland, Lecturer in Earth & Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  (Grades 3-5)

DGIF Backyard Bingo

Backyard B-I-N-G-O

EYES WIDE OPEN…LOOK, BUT DON’T TOUCH.  Looking for a fun outdoor activity?  It’s amazing how many different things you can spot in your own backyard. Print out these Backyard Bingo sheets and head outside to see what you can identify and find!  Courtesy of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Soil 4 Teachers

K-12 Soil Science Teacher Resource

Teachers, here it is! A bank of many lessons and hands-on activities all about soils and topics related to soils. You can search for materials by grade level and/or subject and/or type of lesson.

Pollinator Field Day Guide

Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators?

Participate and Celebrate in Stewardship Week, April 26-May 3.  The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) established Stewardship Week 65 years ago to educate the public on the importance of soil health, water quality, pollinator habitat and other conservation topics.

Now here’s the buzz…NACD takes flight to foster education and awareness of pollinators in this activity-packed guide. The Pollinator Field Day Curriculum Guide provides interactive learning opportunities for students in K-8 grades. This is a free, downloadable PDF for local printing. You must complete a survey to download the document. For more information and to get started go to the NACD webpage.

“Stewardship Week helps to remind us all of the power each person has to conserve natural resources and improve the world.”

Water Cycle

The Water Cycle

Where does water come from and where does it go?  This interactive lesson from Project Wet will help you find your way from beginning to end again and again.

For a little more fun…

Take a Spin – Water or Land

Energy Origami

Energy Origami

The Sun, Biomass and The Wind take on beautiful shapes and colors now try these designs at home.  Brought to you by the national Energy Education Development (www.NEED.org).  Check out their website for more games, puzzles and activities.

C3 Virtual Climate Camp

Climate Camp with the Community Climate Collaborative

Activities, videos and online books for all ages…stave off boredom and remain engaged on helping the climate.  Follow this link to the Community Climate Collaborative (C3) and join the team as C3 created these weekly virtual and interactive activities throughout Earth Month for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22).

Soil Expert Patch

Become a Soil Expert and Get a Patch to Prove It!

From now until June 30, 2020, while supplies last – students 3rd grade and above, this is a great opportunity for you to earn the Soil Expert patch from the state association, the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts and your local District—Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, proudly serving Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson Counties and the City of Charlottesville.

So what is soil and why is it so very important?  How on earth is soil formed?  Did you know there are types of soil, layers of soil…even a State soil?  How might you conserve this natural resource?

Students can earn the Soil Expert patch by reading and following the directions in the 2020 SOIL EXPERT GUIDE, then complete the Google form.  Reach out to Lauriston by email to answer your questions at lauriston.damitz [@] tjswcd.org.  After you complete and send the Google form, as directed, the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts will review your answers and then send you the Soil Expert patch while supplies last.

Can you dig it?  Have fun.

Watershed Patch

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and Living in Your Watershed!

From now until June 30, 2020, while supplies last – students 4th grade and above, this is a great opportunity for you to earn the Living In Your Watershed patch from the state association, the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts and your local District—Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District, proudly serving Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson Counties and the City of Charlottesville.

Did you know you also have a Watershed Address? This guide will help you learn about Watersheds and your place in it.  You will also learn about natural and manmade resources and how you can help prevent water pollution.

Students can earn the Living In Your Watershed patch by reading and following the directions in the 2020 LIVING IN YOUR WATERSHED GUIDE, then complete the Google form.  Reach out to Lauriston by email to answer your questions at lauriston.damitz [@] tjswcd.org.  After you complete and send the Google form, as directed, the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts will review your answers and then send you the Living In Your Watershed patch while supplies last.

Let the good times flow and have fun!