New Partnership Nurtures Young Scientists to Care for the American River by Christine Kohn May 21, 2019 Member Submitted News Elana, a first grader at Elder Creek Elementary School in Sacramento, dipped the litmus paper into the river as her classmate, Jason, held a thermometer in the water. The other children watching closely along the water’s edge, the young scientists learned how to test the river’s PH and temperature, both of which are critical to supporting salmon and steelhead that rely on the lower American River. The lesson is part of a new partnership between the Sacramento Water Forum and Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael to enhance environmental education for underserved elementary schools in the Sacramento region. The Water Forum represents a diverse group of water providers such as the City of Sacramento, business leaders and environmentalists focused on safeguarding the Lower American River for both drinking water and wildlife. A favorite location for teachers throughout the greater Sacramento area, the Nature Center provides education programs to kids from kindergarten through 8th grade and takes care of the 77-acre nature preserve located in Ancil Hoffman Park. “Many students may not realize how important water is in our ecosystem and that it sustains all forms of life,” said Effie Yeaw Nature Center Executive Director Torey Byington. “Our partnership with the Water Forum allows students to receive a one-of-a-kind nature experience that exposes them to the scientific principles and understanding that are keys to forming a relationship with our natural community—both to protect it and share it with others.” With support from the Water Forum and a Sacramento County grant, the center’s Urban Nature Program was enriched to include more hands-on discussions about where water comes from, where it goes and why rivers are important; water quality and its effects on salmon; and ways to protect the lower American River from pollution. The ultimate goal is to help students understand the importance of water to our community and environment, nurture a deeper connection to the river and inspire budding young scientists, said Water Forum Executive Director Tom Gohring. “Part of the Water Forum mission is to care for the lower American River and the American River Parkway,” Gohring said. “This partnership is helping us instill the value of the natural world, and specifically the American River, into our next generation of citizens, educators and civic leaders.” Learn more about the Water Forum and Effie Yeaw Nature Center at waterforum.org and sacnaturecenter.net.