Welcome back, Clean Water Raingers!  I hope you all enjoyed a great summer in the Illinois River Watershed. Now it’s time to get back to work…schoolwork!  Going back to school is always an exciting time with new teachers, new friends, new subjects, maybe even a new school.

Since it is the beginning of the new school year, I want to remind you what Captain Marshall always tells students during our Clean Water Raingers Program:

“Everyone likes to eat, and every day your teachers give you a heaping plate of knowledge to feed your brain. They care about you and want you to succeed. Thank them for it.”



(TOP) Captain Marshall performs a Clean Water Raingers concert at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks.  (BOTTOM) Captain Marshall performs for Westwood Elementary in Springdale.

The Illinois River Watershed Partnership would like to be a part of your education also. We have a new Watershed Sanctuary and Learning Center in Cave Springs. It is a very special place and we look forward to sharing it with students and teachers in our watershed.


The Watershed Learning Center

WLC6Channels of spring water from Cave Springs Cave at the Watershed Sanctuary 

Why is the Watershed Sanctuary such a special place?  It has 24 acres of urban forest, 30 species of native trees, nature trails, a cave with endangered species, an underground spring, and a lake.  The Learning Center has two indoor cave experiences, an art and nature studio, the Clean Water Raingers library, historical library, and a large education space with interpretive displays.

GrayBatThe cave provides a home for two endangered species, the Gray Bat and the Ozark Blind  Cavefish, and contains a spring with a flow of 6-million gallons of water per day at a chilly 54 degrees.

The IRWP Watershed Sanctuary and Learning Center offers a variety of fun and educational opportunities including macro invertebrate surveys (bug kicking), water quality testing, guided nature hikes, art and nature programs, fishing, canoeing, service learning projects, watershed conservation education and the Clean Water Raingers program.SanctuaryCollageLauren Ray is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for IRWP. Teachers can email Lauren, laurenray@irwp.org, for more information or to schedule a field trip to the Illinois River Watershed Partnership Watershed Sanctuary and Learning Center.

We Hope To See You Soon!

Related Posts:

6 Summer Selfies at the Sanctuary

Learning Through Stewardship

Outdoor Immersion and Lifelong Learning


Additional Resources:

IRWP Clean Water Raingers Program

IRWP Watershed Sanctuary and Learning Center

IRWP Education Programming Guide