Posted on

2nd Grade – Water World

Water World! 

2nd grade, Creekside Charter School Enrichment

Instructors: Michelle McCay-Moran and Katrina Smolen


Instructor Bios:

A bilingual teacher of 25 years and a BA graduate in International Relations with Minors in Anthropology and Spanish, Michelle has taught environmental education, both in the US and abroad.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology specializing in Environmental Anthropology with research and thesis work focused on land and water use in urban and rural Mexico.  She is a long-time environmentalist and political activist.  Her passion for the natural environment and contemporary environmental issues facing our planet guide her to creative ways of teaching and engaging people of all ages in these themes as a top priority in her career.  Michelle has enjoyed heading up outdoor ed classes the last few years working with Creekside Enrichment Fridays as well as the Gateway environmental education program on Donner Summit teaching kids aged K-12 outdoor ed through history, biology, geology, archaeology and culture in our local Tahoe region.

Katrina Smolen comes to us as an expert hydrologist and watershed and ecosystem consultant for Squaw Valley, Donner Summit and the Tahoe region for more than 10 years.  She holds a BS in Geology with a Minor in Biology in her undergraduate studies and a Master’s Degree in Hydrology with research specializing in water quality management and wildlife enhancement in the Trout Creek watershed in South Lake Tahoe.  At present, Katrina works as an accomplished hydrology consultant specializing in land use and watershed management and her studies and extensive professional experience lend absolute authenticity and expert knowledge to our search for the inner workings of our local watershed, geology and environment.  Her passion for all things nature through her own work as a local hydrologist in the Tahoe region support our curriculum with invaluable information and experiences for our studies.  We are so fortunate to have her join our class!  THANK YOU Katrina!


Class Description:

Water World! will be a hands-on environmental/outdoor Education class for our 2nd graders at Creekside Charter and we have a fun-filled and action-packed semester of Fridays planned.  So, grab your backpack, hiking boots and water bottle and get ready to take off and dive into the world of water!

This class will focus on the many aspects of water in our local environment, including watershed, geology, biology, water cycle, precipitation, water storage and evaporation, conservation and just plain ‘ol fun with H20!  We will encourage and challenge students with experiential learning and inquiry-based experiments supported by a deepening of information and validation by experts in the field in our own backyard– our exceptional home in and around beautiful Lake Tahoe!

Please be prepared to send your child with the appropriate gear on a weekly basis for enrichment Fridays.  Students will need sturdy shoes for hiking, weather appropriate clothes (layers please!), a big lunch with healthy snacks and a water bottle. *Please note we will not plan to spend long periods of time outdoors in foul weather– but we WILL go out and study the effects of precipitation in our local environment as they occur around us.

PLEASE NOTE: After our first few Friday sessions we will head out into the field in the Tahoe basin to put our basic water knowledge to the test on Friday, Oct 3rd from 9:15-1:45 (leaving from and returning to the Rideout Community Center enrichment class site).  We will need parent volunteers to help us drive and chaperone. Please contact Michelle at or 530-559-5348 if you are able to join us as a parent volunteer for the day.  We will need a number of parent drivers to make this trip happen as that is our only means of transport.  We plan on a full day’s adventure at the lake, a watershed site visit and fieldwork.  Please be prepared to pack the following for your child (and yourself if you’ll be joining us): a hearty and healthy lunch (including snack), weather appropriate gear, sturdy shoes, sunscreen to reapply if needed (please apply in the morning before school!), a full water bottle.  Any field guides for local flora and fauna, and a camera and or binoculars may be included as desired but be sure all items are labeled with your child’s name!  We are hoping for a $0 cost trip.  Location and details are TBA.

In this class we are also planning to host afternoons with a variety of specialty teachers and guest speakers to enhance themes of water through art, legos, yoga, community guest experts and non-profit representatives from in and around Lake Tahoe.  We are so excited to share this wonderful opportunity with your children at enrichment this Fall– please feel free to drop in and join us!  Many days we will be in the field in the mornings so be ready to depart shortly after 9:00 if you’d like to get in on the adventure!

In water and wonder,

Michelle and Katrina