The Columbia River Virtual Field Trip takes us on a journey-not
only a journey along a mighty river but also a journey into
the heart of a watershed. The river itself begins in a wetland
area and ultimately drains waters from 259,000 square miles
of land (an area the size of France!) including the Canadian
province of British Columbia, and parts of seven states (Idaho,
Montana, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada), on
course to its final destination-the Pacific Ocean.
waters of the Columbia River Basin have been the lifeblood
of diverse ecosystems and the peoples whose lives and livelihoods
have depended on the river for thousands of years. It is easy
to understand that the waters of the Columbia River and its
tributaries are common to all who live, work, and play in
the Basin-human and non-human alike. But to find common ground
between and among the people, plants, animals, fish, nations,
states, organizations, agencies, tribes, and livelihood groups
who are part of the Basin community is more challenging.
For all who call the Columbia River Basin home and who recognize
the simple yet profound bonds we share, there is also much
that divides us as well. Conflicting needs, wants, values,
and attitudes regarding the resources and uses of the Basin
impair our abilities to work together to make lifestyle and
management decisions that can restore and sustain the Columbia
Basin's ecological and cultural foundations. The vision of
a coordinated and sustained effort to educate adults and children
alike about issues of the wildlife, water, air, and land shared
throughout our common home must also recognize and embrace
our diverse cultural values, economic traditions, histories,
and priorities. Issues such as salmon restoration, water quality,
and energy supply heighten the sense of urgency with which
we must deal with connections that transcend the political
boundary lines along which we typically define our communities.
is agreement that we need to educate ourselves, students,
teachers and community members -in all of the social and scientific
complexity-in order to preserve the health and integrity of
our shared home-the Columbia River Basin. We must learn to
think of ourselves as members of communities beyond human
construct. We hope that The Columbia River Virtual Field Trip
will offer you an exciting means to discover more about the
Columbia River Basin and offer knowledge and resources to
help create and maintain healthy and sustainable relationships
between people, communities and their natural environments.
Trip Grade Level and Content This virtual field trip was
designed for middle and high school students and their teachers,
but contains information that can be useful for students and
citizens of all ages. On this journey, the field trip stops
tell amazing stories-stories that flow like water itself,
weaving through the diverse landscapes and perspectives of
a mighty river system.
So come along and explore the Columbia River's
issues and challenges
ready for an exciting trip-you'll soon get to know one of
the great rivers of the world!
Field Trip to begin your journey along the mighty Columbia!