Educational Programs

Engage your students in learning about water pollution through hands-on activities and field trips. To learn more about the free classroom presentations and field trips available through Santa Barbara County or your city, please email or call (805) 568-3561.

Creek Kids Series (4th - 6th)

Creek Kids is a series offered to eligible schools in the County. The series includes two in-class lessons, a half-day field trip to a watershed center and a local creek and an optional service-learning project. Through the series, students will learn:

  • about watersheds
  • where water comes from and where it goes
  • what makes a creek healthy
  • sources of and solutions to water pollution
  • the dangers of plastic debris in the ocean
  • what students can do to protect water quality
Kids Santa Barbara beach clean up supported by Project Clean Water

To learn if your school is eligible for the Creek Kids Series administered by Explore Ecology , email or call (805) 568-3561.

A number of other fun and educational field trip opportunities are available in Santa Barbara County. For information on the following destinations, please call the number listed.

Water Quality and Watershed Related Tours and Presentations

South Coast Watershed Resource Center (K - 8th)

The Center features interactive exhibits, a computer center, a resource library, a watershed model and a water quality lab. The Center is supported in part by Project Clean Water and is available as a resource for teachers, student science fair projects and volunteer projects focused on creek restoration, beach and creek clean ups, and water quality monitoring. For more information contact Explore Ecology at (805) 884-0459 ext. 16.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (K - 12th)

Have fun with your students exploring the Mission Creek Nature Trail. Interpretive signs introduce key ecological concepts, highlight seasonal changes and encourage natural resource conservation. Call (805) 682-4711 to make an appointment.

Growing Solutions Restoration Education Institute (K - 12th)

Restoration topics may include soils, integrated pest management, nutrients and fertilizers, watering, landscape benefits, human uses and native plant propagation. Students may participate in native plant propagation in a greenhouse or restoration at an outdoor site. Call (805) 452-7561.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (4th - 6th)

On this tour, students learn about local plant communities and habitats. To schedule a tour, call (805) 682-4726 ext. 102.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours and Presentations

City of Santa Barbara El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant (3rd - 12th)

Students interact with plant operators and scientists to get the inside scoop on the strange and interesting physical, biological and chemical wastewater treatment processes. A microscope exploration of microbes gets students up close with these mysterious organisms that help to clean our water. Free buses available to City of Santa Barbara schools. Contact Madeline Ward at (805) 897-2672.

Carpinteria Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant (6th - 12th)

On this tour, students will learn about the history of the District, the collection system, and the equipment used to maintain the system. Staff will lead students through the plant so that they will become familiar with the steps required to produce clean water and the laboratory analyses that are conducted to ensure proper treatment. Pre-trip information describing wastewater treatment is available from the District office. To schedule a visit, call Mark Bennett, Treatment Supervisor, at (805) 684-7214 ext. 18.

Montecito Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant (6th - 12th)

Students will see live "sewer bugs" under a microscope, view a video of the inside of a sewer pipe and take a close-up look at the water treatment process. Tours will be tailored to the specific grade level. Call Diane Gabriel, Principal Engineer, at (805) 969-4200 to schedule a visit.

City of Lompoc Wastewater Treatment Plant (6th - 12th)

For students from K-4th, the tour includes a video outlining the water cycle and an overview of the treatment process. For older students, the tour includes a detailed discussion of treatment process and plant operations. To arrange a tour, contact Dale Ducharme at (805) 875-8405.

City of Santa Maria Wastewater Treatment Plant (K - 12th)

Students will have the opportunity to view the wastewater treatment process first hand. Call (805) 928-5022 to schedule a tour.

Laguna County Sanitation District (3rd - 12th)

This one-hour tour includes an overview of each step of the treatment process. Call (805) 739-8750 to schedule a tour.

To learn about available presentations on the topic of water conservation, contact Kalani Durham at (805) 568-3448.

Education Resources

The following are links to educational resources centered around water and water pollution. Many of the resources listed on this page are free to educators.

EPA Environmental Websites for Students and Teachers

This sites contains links to interactive educational resources focused on water for students of all ages and their teachers. Some highlights are online games, activities, virtual tours and electronic magazines.

California Coastal Commission Resources for California Educators

The Coastal Commission offers free resources for educators including activity guides, a curriculum, posters and a lending library. The site also features a Marine, Coastal and Watershed resource directory.

Water Facts and Fun

The California Department of Water Resources has student workbooks, teachers' guides, activity books, and other classroom resources available through their Water Facts and Fun catalog.

Water Quality Service Learning Projects

The California Water Boards have created this website to facilitate water quality service learning projects in 4th, 5th and 6th grade classrooms. Project ideas, lesson plans and teacher support are available online.

Water Resources and Watersheds

This U.S. Geological Survey site allows you to locate and find facts about your watershed.


This general education page for the U.S. Geological Suvey has numerous links related to water. A number of the sites are interactive and all contain great graphics to help explain concepts related to water.

Agua Pura

The Agua Pura curriculum is a free curriculum that teaches kids about watersheds, water quality, and salmon and steelhead.


The CREEC Network is an online, searchable environmental resource directory for California educators.

Whale Tail Grants

Through the Whale Tail Grants program, the California Coastal Commission provides funding for programs that teach students to value and take action to improve the health of the state's marine and coastal resources.

Coastal Art and Poetry Contest

The California Coastal Commission sponsors an annual art and poetry contest open to all California K-12 students.

River of Words

River of Words is a national environmental poetry and art contest.

Algalita Marine Research Foundation

The Foundation website includes printable handouts on plastics in the environment and an online store that carries DVDs and curricula on marine pollution.

Mountains To The Sea Watershed Curriculum

A comprehensive watershed education program that introduces both teachers and students to our local watersheds by studying the journey of water from the mountains all the way to the sea and focusing on the events and processes in between.

Water Education Resource Library

As compiled by Advanced Purification Engineering Corp.