Inside the Outdoors offers free water programs for Orange County students

Inside the Outdoors, OCDE’s popular environmental education program, is partnering with the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) to provide free water education programs to elementary, middle and high students across the county.

Available for students in grades three through 12, the programs provide water-focused presentations, assemblies, activities and guided lessons that give youth the opportunity to identify local water supply sources and the importance of using water wisely.

Registration is currently open for the following programs with both virtual and in-person options available.

Elementary assemblies

“Drip Drop” water assemblies provide the opportunity for students in third through fifth grades to participate in fun and interactive activities such as virtual detective rooms where students work together to solve the mystery of water challenges in their communities or examining existing water management solutions to conserve and protect local water resources.

Elementary school administrators can apply for the program by completing this grant application.

Secondary presentations

“The Wonders of H2O” presentations are currently being offered to students in grades six through 12.

The middle school program — offered to grades six through eight — provides students the opportunity to think critically about connections between human land uses and water quality through exploration of a fictional watershed. Students analyze water samples to identify sources of potential pollution and brainstorm strategies to monitor or minimize pollution.

For high schoolers, presentations highlight the history, biodiversity and importance of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its connections to our local water resources.

Secondary school administrators can apply for the program by completing this grant application.

Brea Olinda High School students host Water Expo
Brea Olinda High School students host a Water Expo to educate classmates and staff about the importance of water conservation (photo taken May 2016)

Why the focus on water? 

Inside the Outdoors Administrator Holly Steele explains that water programs help students establish a deeper understanding of local water supply sources, the value of Orange County supply sources and the importance of using water wisely.

“Incorporating California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs), the education program allows students to examine real-world local water challenges that directly impact their daily lives,” said Steele. “We know that our educators look to Inside the Outdoors and OCDE for quality educational experiences, and while classroom textbooks are required to include environmental principles and concepts, science education is more impactful and relevant to local students when they are provided with engaging, project-based experiences.”

According to MWDOC, the program provides Orange County youth the opportunity to develop not only environmental literacy, but strong informed decision-making skills.

“We are excited to be working with Orange County Department of Education’s Inside the Outdoors to bring innovative water education programs to Orange County students,” said MWDOC General Manager Rob Hunter. “These programs guide students to identify critical water issues that may impact our future and develop viable solutions within their communities. Through participation, students are equipped with the necessary skills to protect our resources for generations to come.”

OCDE’s Inside the Outdoors has been a leader in hands-on science and social science programs since 1974. The mission of the program is to empower students, teachers, parents and the community to explore natural areas and expand their knowledge, understanding and stewardship of the environment.

To learn more about Inside the Outdoors or to ask questions about water programs, email