OWLS™ Program

Outdoor Water Laboratory SchoolOutdoor Water Laboratory School™ (OWLS™)


STEM TREE of KNOWLEDGE EDUCATION™ (STOKE™), Outdoor Water Laboratory School™ (OWLS™), and OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Program

The STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Education Program excites children to get involved in science.

The STOKE™, OWLS™ Field Trip and OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Programs are two distinctly innovated fun educational curriculum’s in which the first part consists of children participating in a field trip to a south west Florida waterway:

Curriculum I:

OWLS™ Field Trip Program:

The OWLS™ Field Trip is designed to spark the children’s curiosity, in a setting outside the classroom. This unique outdoor education approach offers hands on schooling and practical web based curriculum with fun and educational water projects and research during and after the field trip.


Curriculum II:

OWLS™ Adopt a Waterway™ Program:

The community benefits when an entire class of students after the OWLS™ Field Trip Program, adopts a waterway and periodically visits the area to monitor environmental quality, and clean up if necessary. The children and adult participants get to put in practice the knowledge learned with the experience from the OWLS™ Field Trip Program and classroom discussions.

Continued participation by the children in field trips and implementation of projects in school and the community is beneficial in multiple ways. The children and participants experience the ability to actually make a difference in not just their community but on a much larger scale globally and at the same time have fun in learning about water science and ecology.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who has an interest in cleaning up and protecting freshwater waterways is encouraged to take part in OWLS™ Field Trip and OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Programs.

Participant Groups May Include:
  • Student clubs, classes or organizations
  • Local businesses and corporations
  • Fishing, boating or other outdoor organizations
  • Scout troops
  • Civic organizations
  • Churches and faith-based organizations
  • Sports teams
  • Any group that wants to improve the environment
Benefits to Educators Who Want to Clean Things Up!

The program is flexible, challenging, meaningful, and can be integrated into all subject areas and can be adapted to classes with special curriculum needs or requirements.

  • Participating teachers can adapt OWLS™ Field Trip Program, and OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Program activities to their specific situation and needs.
  • In using a hand’s on approach like OWLS™ Field Trip Program and OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Program the interrelationships of all the components and processes in biology are then truly relevant for the student, and not an academic exercise.
  • Students are intrigued by the world around them; therefore the environment is a natural and effective tool for teaching STEM science, technology, engineering and math.

Curriculum I:  The OWLS™ Field Trip Program

Sect. I: Choosing the Field Trip Site:

When choosing the site, OWLS™ considers the following:

•           Where are available access points?
•           Is the approach safe and convenient (short hike from transportation or school; free of poison ivy etc…).
•           Is there enough fairly level space along the bank to accommodate the students and equipment?
•           Are there bridges or docks nearby that can be used to sample deep water?
•           Is the site representative of the waterway?
•           Has any previous testing been done at that site by the state water quality monitoring agency?

We then, after discussing the foregoing with the teachers or organizers select the sampling site or sites based on these points; collectively we visit the site(s) before the field trip day.

Sect. II: Choosing the Sampling Stations at the Field Trip Site:

The number of stations depends on the number of students participating, and what questions you address with your program. Examples:

  1. If you want to establish baseline information on the water body’s overall health, select a wide variety of stations to insure random sampling.
  2. If you know where a discharge source comes into the waterway, set up three sampling stations: one control station above that point, a second one immediately downstream from the discharge, and a third further downstream of the impact where the water has at least partially recovered from the impact.
Sect. III: Choosing Your Project Goals:

Research and obtain (or have the students gather) information about the waterway such as maps and information on the watershed boundaries, geography, geology, recreational uses, fish and wildlife data, water quality data, demographic information, as well as development and employment information.

The more information you have at hand, the easier it is to get a clear picture of the watershed. Based on the information you find about your waterway, brainstorm ideas to determine what project the young people want to address.

Sect. IV: Classroom Presentations Prior Field Trip

The following classroom presentations may assist the teacher or organizer in preparing Sect: III. The teacher or field trip coordinator will present either a printed copy or class room presentation of the following OWLS™ material.

Purpose: Bring awareness prior to field trip on principal purpose of the field study and provide participants with insight of topics that will be covered. The STOKE™ in classroom follow-up program is optional but recommended.

K-4 classroom pre field trip presentation

[Time allotted 30 minutes] Please contact us on form below for entire Free Teachers Aid

Where does our drinking water come from?
The Water Cycle:
  • Slide presentation
  • Thirstin’s water cycle animation 
  • Children’s water cycle activities
  • Children’s Q & A – family project
  • Thirstin’s water activity book
Discussion Questions
  1. What is the water cycle and why is it important?
  2. What is happening to the water in each section of the animation?
  3. Identify the part of the water cycle that each section shows.
  4. Describe the phases of the water cycle that you observed in this animation.
  5. Make a sketch that shows how the phases are related
What is a watershed and aquifer?

[Time allotted 30 minutes] Please contact us on form below for entire Free Teachers Aid

  • Slide presentation
  • Groundwater illustrated
  • Children’s classroom project
  • Thirstin builds an aquifer – family project
Discussion Questions
  1. What is a watershed?
  2. Give two examples of watersheds in different areas. You can select the area where you live and one other.
  3. Look at a watershed in a specific area. One example is the Great Lakes. Where does the water leaving the lakes go? Where does the water feeding into the lakes come from?
  4. Is there a well-known watershed near your home?
  5. Approximately how much of the United States’ land is part of the Mississippi River watershed?
  6. Can you trace rain that falls on your school’s roof through all of its potential watersheds?
K -1 STEM Water Cycle

TEACHERS NOTE: Field Trip Monitoring Equipment

OWLS™ provide all equipment that is necessary for the children’s water sample collection and analysis lab. Safety is one of our main concerns and all equipment is top of the industry standard when it comes to your child’s safety.

Sect. V: Introduction to OWLS™ Field Trip Program 

[Time allotted 45 minutes]

With the preliminary information pre field trip day in hand, the group visits their waterway to record observations, take samples and actually analyze their samples in the field. With this said, lets look at a typical Outdoor Water Laboratory School Field Trip day…an exciting learning experience at Pinellas County waterways

We begin the day by furnishing the participants with the following items:

  • Outdoor Water Laboratory School Field Trip Lab Notebook and Water Manual. (this 40 page manual and lab notebook is a wealth of information that the participants can keep and enjoy with their family and friends)
  • Clip Board and pen to take lab notes and enter their observation notes.
  • 2 sets of latex gloves
  • Baseball cap and tee shirt
  • Small spiral OWL notebook and stickers to have as keepsakes of their outing

We then proceed and briefly give an introduction to the children regarding STEM TREE of KNOWLEDGE EDUCATION™ (STOKE™), LoveTheWater™ and OWLS™, and what we do through our organization within the community and globally to educate and research water issues. Next we discuss what scientists do in the field and in the lab and what the children will be doing during their field trip. Using posters to refer to, we talk about the water-cycle, south west Florida’s watersheds and the main purpose of the participants research during the field trip. [What is the overall condition of south west Florida’s watershed and freshwater?]

The “Scientific Method”

The “Scientific Method” is discussed and how we will be using it during the course of the field trip is covered with a question and answer period. The following steps are reviewed and discussed:

1. Ask a question
2. Make observation and do research
3. Form a hypothesis
4. Perform experiments
5. Test hypothesis and accept or reject hypothesis
6. Make a conclusion
OWLS™ Field Trip Lab Notebook Procedure

We begin by showing and explaining to the children why their Field Trip Lab Notebooks are important for recording the day’s events and findings, referring to the foregoing stated scientific method during this discussion. The children learn how to use their cell phones and lab tops to obtain and enter necessary data into their lab notebooks.

Sample description: Fresh Water
Location Bay Vista Park
Address: 7000 4th st south St. Petersburg Florida
GPS coordinates 27° 42’17.58” N   82° 38’ 27.76” W
Barometric pressure (mmHg): 776.75

As the children are entering their data into the Lab Note sheet, the reasons for each entry are explained and questions by the children of “why is this information important?” are discussed.• We wrap up this stage with a brief safety discussion.

Sect. VI: OWLS™ Field Trip Observations of Water and Watershed Surroundings:

[Time allotted 30 minutes] Analyzing environment and properties of the freshwater area.

The participants begin their observations by physically taking count of the following on their own: 1) Fish 2) Birds 3) People 4) Trash cans 5) Polluted areas 6) Boats 7) Human Activities.

They observe any pollutants and take notes of visible water conditions, such gas on water or floating debris etc… The participants then go back to the outdoor lab work area and after filling in their lab notebooks they compare findings with each other to formulate a data average:

• Total Fish Observed Average 22
• Total Birds Observed Average 75 -100
• People Observed Average 120-150
• Trash Cans Observed Average 10
• Polluted Areas Observed Average 32
• Cars Observed Average 50-70
• Boats Observed Average 15
Human activities• Walking with pets • Fishing, pole and net • Eating, drinking, and smoking • Riding air boats
Sect. VII: OWLS™ Field Trip Collection of Water Samples for Analysis

[Time allotted 30 minutes] Collecting the samples to study and formulate a conclusion Once the participants have completed calculating averages and data recording, they put on their gloves and proceed down to the pre arranged water sample sites and begin the next stage of collecting the water samples.

Sect. VIII: OWLS™ Field Trip Analyzing the Water Samples

Visual analysis of water samples [Time allotted 20 minutes] • Brief introduction and hands-on instructions are given to the children regarding the proper set-up of the microscope and water analyzing equipment.


• The participants are shown the safe and proper way of handling of water samples, test tubes, beakers and preparation of microscope slides.• The children then take study samples of the water they had collected.

• Prior to microscope analysis of the sampled water, the children use a magnifying glass to see what is evident in the water without further use of magnification with the microscope.

Microscope analysis of water samples [Time allotted 20 minutes]

• After the children note what could be seen in the water samples with the naked eye and magnifying glass a slide is prepared to be viewed under the microscope.  Children are amazed to find protist microorganisms in the water that they just inspected with a magnifying glass.

Sect. VIII: OWLS™ Field Trip Testing of the Collected Water Samples

Visual analysis of the water samples collected [Time allotted 20 minutes] A brief introduction of the fundamentals of each water test is discussed with the children .• The children participate in the testing and recording of the following:

Parameter Value
Temperature (deg C): 23°
Ambient: 25
pH: 7.9
Specific gravity: 1
Conductivity:  No reading taken
TDS (mg/l): 420
Salinity (ppt): No reading taken
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l): 120
Ammonia (mg/l): .5
Nitrite (mg/l): No reading taken
Nitrate (mg/l): 2.50
Sect. IX: OWLS™ Field Trip Conclusion

Question: What is the overall condition of south west Florida’s watershed and freshwater? Data evaluation:. The data in section V-VIII is then evaluated by the participants. Once the children analyze the information they have gathered they come to an agreed conclusion:


The children agree that to come to a final conclusion they should come back and reevaluate their findings by retesting and re-observing the watershed and waterway. The children agree that they have learned and now have a clearer understanding of the scientific method. They also acquire a greater appreciation for the value of our water and the environment.  The children agree that the experience was a fun field trip while learning field water testing techniques.

Curriculum II: 

OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Program

How Does the Program Work?

Volunteer groups select an island, boat landing or section of river or creek and conduct litter pickups at least two times a year for two years.


OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ program is an excellent public outreach tool for communities to involve citizens of all ages.  It is a volunteer program in which participants “adopt” any waterway in their area to study, clean up, monitor, protect, and restore. Through these activities, the adopting group or organization becomes the primary caretaker of that stretch of stream in the watershed.

OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ program supplies trash bags gloves and Lab Note Sheets, water sampling equipment and all volunteer groups are recognized on Love The Waters™ website. When possible, permanent signs acknowledging volunteer groups will be placed at or near their adopted section of waterway.

OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Program: How Do I Become Involved?

Are you concerned about clean sustainable water, and wonder what you, your school or organization can do about it?  Or perhaps you live, work, or play near a waterway, and wonder if it’s healthy?

Groups supported by local cosponsors (civic organizations, sportsmen clubs or service clubs) agree to monitor and evaluate their adopted waterway and take action together to improve their adopted waterway. OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ is designed for volunteer groups, scouting groups, youth organizations and teachers to collect information about their waterway and put it to work.

Correcting water pollution also depends on good information. Regular water quality testing as set forth in the OWLS™ Field Trip Program provides the means for detecting and documenting problem areas that might otherwise go undetected.

This secondary water education program provides a foundation so that you can plan a monitoring program that suits your objectives:

  1. Is there new construction adding sediment?
  2. A septic not functioning properly causing low oxygen levels and little life?
  3. Is runoff from impervious surfaces like parking lots and streets adding pollutants and litter?


A community can tailor an OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ Program to allow participation from any group or organization within a watershed. The adoptions are as flexible and unique as the waterways themselves. Adopting a waterway is a great fun and educating program for youth groups, including church groups, scouts, and schools, but it can also be a great activity for adult groups, such as neighborhood associations, civic organizations, or businesses.

Levels of involvement can range from quarterly sample testings and litter pick-ups to monthly testing to one-time habitat improvement projects. The objective of the program is not only to remove litter, but also to improve the sustainable quality of the waterway. Waste collected from the adopted local waterways could spur local interest in maintaining and improving the water quality and aesthetics of all local waterways. It can also prevent such waste from moving downstream and potentially into the ocean, where it becomes marine debris.

How Can I Adopt a Waterway?
  • First, get your group who care about the environment together (classes, school groups, and organizations).
  • Register on our contact form below and we will confirm your registration by e mail..
  • By registering, your group agrees to evaluate your adopted waterway a minimum of twice yearly, and report the results to Love The Water™.
  • There are many ways to make use of your findings. Some groups choose to use the information to take actions they feel necessary to improve their adopted waterway on their own. For example, your group may decide the best action is to educate your community about the waterway through free community Water Seminars at a local library or community hall.
  • Participating educators or organization youth leaders may obtain Water Science Teacher’s Guides for K-12 students by contacting STEMeducation@lovethewater.com.  These guides present waterway monitoring in a ready to use activity format and are designed to help meet curriculum needs K-12.
  • For those who have not participated in OWLS™ Field Trip Program, The Water Science Teacher’s Guides contain detailed instructions for a variety of simple water quality tests as well as extensive resource material and chapters on safety, sampling, and data evaluation.
Benefits to the Community at Large

OWLS™ Field Trip Program and OWLS Adopt a Waterway™Program

Every year, USA corporations spend over $150 billion on advertising, but very little of it if any in some cases goes to improve quality of water and our environment.

Love The Water™  has figured out a way to connect some of those advertising dollars for the environment through the OWLS™ Field Trip Programs. The OWLS™ Field Trip Program and OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ raises private funding to help local municipalities fund the cleanup of waterways as well as water science education programs informing the public about how to mitigate the problem.

The contaminants entering waterways via storm drains include litter, pesticides, fertilizers, grease, paint products, automotive fluids, animal wastes, construction debris, and household chemicals. We are all contributors to non-point source pollution. To deal with this polluted runoff, the EPA requires local governments to ensure that stormwater runoff contains no harmful levels of contaminants, but it does not provide funding for governments to comply with this mandate.

This is where OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ comes into play. 50% of all local and national funding for OWLS Adopt a Waterway™ and OWLS™ Field Trip Programs will be directed back into the municipality to be utilized solely for the continuous improvement of the local waterway adopted through education and on hands programs.

In return, the participating businesses receive an advertising campaign that, depending on the level of sponsorship, includes road signs, television, radio, and magazine ads. Not only do the signs and advertisements promote the sponsoring business they market the business as one that is helping to improve the local communities environment. Signs used in the advertising campaign have a general message like This Cleaner Waterway by “Sponsors Name”. Business names and logos are displayed prominently on the signs, which are placed strategically along high-traffic roadways around the adopted waterway with the municipality’s approval.

Contact us to register and become a member:

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Group / Organization Name:’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Contact Name’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’E Mail’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Name of Adopted Waterway’ type=’text’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Date of Waterway to be Cleaned’ type=’text’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Aprx. Total Number of Volunteers’ type=’text’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comments Questions and Notes That We May Need To Assist You’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]