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Larger-than-life watershed maps helps students learn about PNW waterways, pollutants

Kids are getting hands-on with the help of a larger-than-life map of Oregon's waterways.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Some local students are getting hands-on lessons about our beautiful rivers and streams, and how to keep them clean. Over the last couple of months, the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership has been working with Portland State University to come up with the Pacific Northwest Watershed floor map.

When it’s all unfolded, it becomes a larger-than-life map measuring 16 feet by 20 feet.

“When you open this map up, kids get the wow factor and they’re really excited about learning watersheds when they see a lesson like this,” said Audra Brown, the environmental educator for the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.

Brown said the program is designed to teach kids about the environment and what they can do to keep our waterways clean and pristine. The floor map has rivers from all over our area and the Pacific Northwest. The biggest thing students learn is how pollutants can impact our rivers.

“Each of these puffballs represents a different kind of pollutant that we see in our waterways like motor oil and pesticides,” said Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky who’s the communications and outreach coordinator with the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.

Organizers hope this project inspires students. They already started the pilot program with an elementary school in Scappoose. Later this spring, they plan to bring this map to more than twenty schools in the Portland metro area.

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