Education & Community Outreach

Photo: David Hagen

WALKS, TALKS & LECTURES

We offer a variety of opportunities for kids and adults to experience and learn about the shrub-steppe and the importance of protecting these wild spaces.

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.

 

The CCC Trail Talks program offers school groups
an environmental education experience in the field.

 


 

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 using CCC lands for educational purposes.

COMMUNITY WALKS

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

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” FOR SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN

Trail Talks is Cowiche Canyon Conservancy’s hands-on outdoor learning program for school-age children. Trail Talks is an interactive, educational, field trip program with learning stations and nature walks — all focused on the Web of Life at Snow Mountain Ranch. All field trips include a lesson on the Web of Life, and 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

 

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.

Scheduling

To schedule your visit or learn more about Trail Talks, email eco@cowichecanyon.org 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 eco@cowichecanyon.org.

Transportation Assistance

To help all schools and students access field trips, we are thrilled to to announce a Transportation Grant available for the 2019-2020 school year. To apply, download the application here and return it to eco@cowichecanyon.org. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email eco@cowichecanyon.org 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 eco@cowichecanyon.org.

Please consider the following conditions in 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

WINTER LECTURE SERIES

Each winter, CCC partners with Yakima Valley College to offer a Winter Lecture Series which includes monthly talks on a variety of topics related to the shrub-steppe. Check back in the fall to see the schedule for 2020.

Past 2019 Lecture Series

 

January

“How I Fell for Lomatium” by Terri Knoke, Washington Native Plant Society

 

February

“Bringing Back Salmon & Steelhead” by Alex Conley, Yakima Basin Fish & Wildlife Recovery Board

 

March

“Beavers: Their Landscapes, Our Future” by Ben Goldfarb, Independent Environmental Journalist, Author

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Hiking Winter Frost Snow Mountain Ranch Recreation Shrub-Steppe Photo: James Legatt
Photo: James Legatt
Cowiche Canyon Conservancy Uplands Snow Hiking Shrub-Steppe Trails Yakima, WA Conservation Photo: David Hagen
Photo: David Hagen

EARTH DAY

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

FALL COLORS WALK

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