Audubon Adventures


Activity 1
printer-friendly versionActivity 1
Map Your Watershed
dingbatTeacher-led Classroom Activities
Science, Research, Geography, Art, Civics


What is a watershed and where is yours?


Students create a map of the watershed they live within and find out how they can protect it.

Student pairs will need:

  • Paper and pencils
  • Access to the EPA website My Watershed at or other reference materials about your local watershed
  • Local and regional maps

Suggested time:

One class period for making the map, another for writing e-mails or letters

What to do:

  1. Discuss watersheds in the classroom. Make sure that students understand what a watershed is. (See “What Is a Watershed?” in the Background for Teachers essay.) Reinforce the concept that all living things within a watershed are linked by that water—for better or worse. Polluted runoff from a city street or local farm affects the water quality downstream and contaminates groundwater.
  2. Have student pairs create a map of their local watershed using information from the EPA website and local maps as references. Challenge pairs to include the school’s location on the map and the names of local rivers, lakes, and steams that drain into the watershed.
  3. Invite each student pair to write an e-mail or letter to a group working to protect their local watershed. Encourage them to ask what students and young people like themselves can do to help. Note that most watershed pages found through EPA’s Surf Your Watershed website include a “Citizen-based groups at work in the watershed” link. A local Audubon chapter is another source of contact information. To find your local chapter or center, click here.

    Photos: kahj19/iStock; Matt Rath/Chesapeake Bay Program/Flickr Creative Commons.