Education & Community Outreach

Photo: David Hagen



We offer a variety of opportunities for kids and adults to deepen connections

to our shrub-steppe and the natural phenomena found here. 

CCC encourages the use of Conservancy property for educational field trips, science projects, community service projects, and other customized curriculum. Please let us know if you are interested in using CCC lands for educational purposes.


CCC Trail Guides host Community Walks on a variety of topics from wildflowers to butterflies, and birds to geology. Walks are family friendly.

Volunteer “Trail Guides” are trained on the botany, wildlife, and geology of Conservancy lands. As part of the Education Program, Trail Guides host events (on and off our trails) including Earth Day, Fall Colors, and a Winter Lecture Series. Trail Guides lead community walks at Snow Mountain Ranch and Cowiche Canyon and teach visitors about the rich diversity of wildlife that inhabit CCC lands, the unique geology and history, and the incredible web of life that connects us all.

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Hiking Recreation Shrub-Steppe Photo: David Hagen
Photo: David Hagen
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Wildflower Erigeron Daisy Snow Mountain Ranch Hiking Recreation Shrub-Steppe


Trail Talks is Cowiche Canyon Conservancy’s outdoor field trip program for school-age children. This program combines nature walks with interactive learning stations. Focused on the interconnectivity of life in the shrub-steppe, our field trips are designed to nurture an appreciation for the natural world while using lessons about natural phenomena to support the core science ideas and concepts of national science standards. All field trips include a lesson on the Web of Life. Groups are able to pick from a variety of learning stations and nature walks including:

Learning Stations

  • The Mighty Oak & the Web of Life – An iconic tree of the shrub-steppe, the garry oak teaches us about the interconnectedness of healthy ecosystems. Science Standards: LS1, ESS2, ESS3, LS2, LS4
  • When Plants Talk – Students explore the phenomenon of plant communication – how plants communicate in a special language used to call for help when under attack. Students discover how plants depend on insects for more than just pollination. Science Standards: LS1, LS4
  • The Promise of Pollination – Students learn the basic mechanics of the phenomenon of pollination. They describe the roles of butterflies and other pollinators in plant reproduction.Science Standards: LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4
  • Butterfly Life Cycle – Students learn to identify the many stages of butterfly development with a focus on the phenomenon of multiple caterpillar “instars.” They also learn about the importance of host plants. Science Standards: LS1, LS4
  • Geology – Go with the Flow – Students learn to think about deep time. Through observation, touch, and role play, they interpret the catastrophic forces and phenomena that shaped our modern landscape. Science Standards: ESS1, ESS2
  • Shrub-steppe Ecology: Love it Or Lose It – Students learn about the unique character of and threats to the shrub-steppe, our precious local ecosystem. Science Standards: LS2, ESS3, LS4
  • Climate Change: How it Works, Why it Matters – Students learn the fundamentals of how increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are warming our planet, why it matters for people and ecosystems, and what people can do about it. Science Standards: PS3, LS2, ESS2, ESS3  *(For Grades 5 and above)

Nature Walks

  • Meadow & Pollinators Walk – Meandering through meadow and riparian zone, this walk exposes students to a variety of pollinators and and their partner plants.
  • Stream Ecology – Students see first-hand how streams and floodplains, and the creatures that help form them, are valuable to an ecosystem.
  • Restoration Walk – Observe the differences between degraded, disturbed, and undisturbed land. See how fire can disturb, and how land can be restored.
  • Luminous Lithosol – Take the high road and venture into a magic land of rocks, wildflowers, moss, and cryptobiotic crust. (For Grades 4 and above)


To schedule your visit or learn more about Trail Talks, email or call (509) 248-5065.

To request a field trip for your school, please download and fill out a Field Trip Request Form and return the form by emailing it to

Transportation Assistance

To help all schools and students access field trips, we are thrilled to to announce that we have available Transportation Grants. To apply, download the application here and return it to 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email or call (509) 248-5065.

Planning Your Visit

To request a field trip for your school, please download and fill out a Field Trip Request Form and return the form by emailing it to

What to Bring?

Ideally, every student will have the following:

  • Backpack or bag to carry things
  • Water – each student should have at least 16 ounces of water.
  • Snacks or lunch (students will carry their own)
  • Layered clothing for weather changes
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Sunscreen and sun-blocking hat


Please consider the following when planning your visit:

  • Limited parking is available. Accommodations can be made for parking specialized vehicles, buses and vans.
  • There are no permanent bathroom facilities, but there is a portable toilet available.
  • There is no drinking water. It is very important to bring adequate water for your planned activity.
  • There are no tables, chairs or covered shelters on site.
  • Visitors need to dress appropriately for the weather and wear shoes suitable for walking on uneven ground.
  • Children should be supervised at all times since the areas include steep rocky trails, cliffs, creeks, un-fenced bridges, and irrigation ditches.
  • School groups are responsible for providing an adequate number of chaperones in compliance with their school district policy, as well as insurance coverage during the time of their visit to the site.
  • You are visiting the natural habitat of a variety of plants, insects, animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, some of which bite and sting!  Rattlesnake sightings are common in Cowiche Canyon in spring, summer and fall. Poison oak can be encountered in Cowiche Canyon. Be aware of ticks in spring and yellow jackets in the fall at Snow Mountain Ranch.
  • No specimen collecting.
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Trail Talks Learning Interactive Hands on Program for Kids Snow Mountain Ranch Nature Walks Yakima, WA
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Creek Hiking Trails Yakima, WA Conservation Photo: David Hagen
Photo: David Hagen
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Snow Mountain Ranch Fall Colors Hiking Trails Yakima, WA Conservation Photo: David Hagen
Photo: David Hagen


Each winter, CCC partners with Yakima Valley College to offer a Winter Talk Series which includes monthly talks on a variety of topics related to life in the shrub-steppe.

Photo: James Legatt
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Meadowlark Bird Trail Shrub-Steppe Trails Yakima, WA Conservation
Photo: David Hagen


Tuesday, March 7, 2023 – “In Search of Meadowlarks: How Farming Practices Can Support Birdlife”  with John Marzluff, University of Washington Professor of Wildlife Science.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 – “The River’s Liver: Exploring the Hidden World of the Hyporheic Zone”  with Vanessa Garayburu-Caruso, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Earth Scientist

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 – “Better Living with Fire: Building Community and Landscape Resilience to Wildfire”  with Ryan Anderson, Kara Karboski, and Reese Lolley

Tuesday, February 8, 2022 – “Who’s Afraid of the … Light: A Natural History of Darkness”  by Zachary Schierl

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 – “The Odd Life of an Underground Owl”  by Courtney Conway

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – “Lichens: Hubs of Life and Creators of Worlds”  by Jessica Allen

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 – “Mountain Lions: Physiology, Ecology, and Safety”  by Michelle Blake

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 – “A Natural History of Mount Tahoma”  by Jeff Antonelis-Lapp, Evergreen College


CCC hosts an annual Earth Day event in Cowiche Canyon with talks and demonstrations on birds, life in the creek, butterflies, geology, and other related topics. Native plants and spring flowers are labeled along the trail. This is a self-guided hike along the trail through Cowiche Canyon with educational stations along the way. Trail guides are on hand to help guide participants to the stations.

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Wildflowers Clover Cushion Phlox Hiking Trails Yakima, WA Conservation Photo: David Hagen
Photo: David Hagen
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Meadowlark Bird Grass Snow Mountain Ranch Hiking Recreation Shrub-Steppe


Experience the gorgeous colors of fall in the Yakima Valley with Cowiche Canyon Conservancy’s annual Fall Colors Walks. Fall Colors Walks take place the 3rd Saturday in October starting at 10 am at Snow Mountain Ranch. CCC’s volunteer Trail Guides offer family friendly walks and hikes of varying lengths. There is no charge to participate. Trails at Snow Mountain Ranch have been developed from old farm and game trails and are not paved. Walkers should come prepared with layers of clothing for variable weather, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, water and a camera.

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Snow Mountain Ranch Fall Colors Hiking Recreation Shrub-Steppe Photo: David Hagen
Photo: David Hagen
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Snow Mountain Ranch Fall Colors Hiking Recreation Shrub-Steppe Photo: David Hagen
Photo: David Hagen