Thousands of students just like you spend a day rafting and exploring Alberta Rivers each year. These students enjoy an amazing field trip as crewmembers aboard a floating science laboratory!
Many parents and teachers have helped make RiverWatch a success. After a day helping supervise on the river, adults often say, "We never did anything like this when we were in school! " We're always pleased with what they're saying about RiverWatch.
We're very proud that RiverWatch Science was recognized with the 1997 Prime Minister's National Award for Teaching Excellence. It's hard to top that!
"Through your dedication and skill, you have opened doors for these young people to exciting studies and careers, and in turn are doing your country a great service. You are an inspiration to fellow educators and all those involved with Canadian youth. Please accept my warmest congratulations and best wishes for continued success."The Right Honourable Jean Chretien
RiverWatch is designed to give you real-life and hands-on experience with environmental science. Participants are asked to accept four challenges.
The key to creating a great RiverWatch science adventure is our 15-passenger inflatable rafts. You can think of them as large rubber busses or fully equipped floating laboratories!
Alberta RiverWatch uses inflatable rafts that are approximately 7 m long, 3 m wide and 1 m high. Each of these professional quality rafts can comfortably seat up to fifteen passengers.
RiverWatch rafts are used to transport science students from study site to study site along a ten-kilometer section of their local river. There is a qualified and experienced guide in each raft to assist students with paddling and water quality monitoring.
Tens-of-thousands of students have participated in the RiverWatch Science Program since it started in 1995. The safety and comfort of students is always of utmost priority. A combination of policy, equipment, procedures and training have kept the program accident free:
We ask that each RiverWatch raft has onboard a school-based representative and this is often a parent volunteer. More than 600 parents accompany their students as RiverWatch volunteers each year. This is amazing, much appreciated and a necessary component of adult/student supervision ratios.
The parent’s role is one of general supervision and assistance and likely more so when accompanying junior high school grades.
Please introduce yourself to your river guide for the day and ask how you might help.
At the two shoreline test sites, it’s really a help if parents step-up and volunteer to supervise and troubleshoot the Dissolved Oxygen Test. There are lengthy instructions to read and complicated techniques to follow. Students will benefit from a bit of help and organizational advice from time-to-time.
And in addition to helping out, we trust that parents enjoy the day and learn more about rivers right alongside their students!
In the increasingly litigious and accountable age that we live in, there is no escaping the paperwork associated with a field trip. Some of the paperwork originates with local school boards; some is provided here for your use; and other forms are required by RiverWatch.
There is no escaping the inevitable, so get comfortable and take a look a look at what we offer or require here at RiverWatch!
We provide a suggested template for a Family Newsletter that you may customize to best suit the needs of your school.
Download PDF Documents
Simple line drawing maps have been created for each of the towns and cities that host RiverWatch Field Trips. The relevant map for a particular river should be included in the Family Newsletter as page six.
As a condition of participation in any activity offered by the not-for-profit Beyond Books Institute of Alberta or its RiverWatch Program, the undersigned freely accepts and fully assumes all risks, dangers and hazards to property and person. The undersigned also acknowledges that there is potential risk in all water activities and that a rafting experience may lead to expense, loss, damage, insult, injury, illness or even death associated with, but not limited to the following hazards:
Each raft can comfortably accommodate a maximum of 15 passengers. Please complete one of these forms for each raft group. Present forms to your RiverWatch guide upon arrival at the river.
The actual paperwork required for data collection out on the river amounts to just one sheet. The idea is to keep things simple - less to lose and less to get wet. No booklets - just one long sheet of paper.
Everything Is Provided
On the day of the field trip, RiverWatch will provide a datasheet along with a clipboard and a pen-on-a-string. Students won't have to bring any paper, binders or writing tools.
One For You and One For Us
The RiverWatch datasheets produce carbonless copies. Teachers take the top white sheet back to school and RiverWatch keeps the bottom yellow copy. Each raft group will complete one datasheet. Back at school, students use the datasheet to enter their data on-line to this web site.
A copy of the datasheet is provided here for your interest. A quick look at this page will probably tell you a lot about the intent of a day with RiverWatch!