Columbia Springs


We want to help you understand and steward the natural world! Here are some examples of what we do and some tools that you can use at home. 

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Going Green

Here’s what Columbia Springs does to be Green


We use old yogurt containers and old newspapers to make planters. This activity allows kids to grow microgreens in our recycled containers with our “homemade” onsite compost.


All our staff participate in an onsite compost program. Compost created onsite is used for activities at community events and site maintenance projects.


We provide added habitat and food (other than what our 100-acre natural can provide!) for local birds with the presence of a number of birdhouses and bird feeders on our site. We recently became a part of a Douglas Squirrel rescue program and now have housing and food for squirrels as well.

Rain Collection

We have a rain-barrel installed in a garden demonstration site that we use to water our plants during the summer. This is a great example of how to garden without increasing your water bill.

Green Materials

Cleaning of all facilities is done by staff using our handmade green cleaning kits. We use microfiber clothes for all our cleaning so we don’t need to dispose of paper towels after a cleaning project. We even painted our new Visitors Center with recycled paint.


We love planting trees (and shrubs and herbaceous plants). When we do, we plant native trees that are well suited to this environment and require little water inputs. We use our compost and mulch on all our newly planted landscaping to enhance moisture retention, continuing to decrease the need for water during times of hot weather.

Stewardship Resources

We build strong watersheds that in turn help us build strong and resilient communities. Help build your community today!

Healthy watersheds provide more ecosystem services to our communities; ecosystem services include providing clean water and air, regulating localized climates, increasing resilience to disturbances like fires, floods, and windstorms, and cycle nutrients needed for food crops and animals.

You can be an environmental steward in your own backyard by planting trees, removing invasive species and putting up bird feeders or bat houses.

The American Psychological Association supports the findings of the positive impacts nature has on our attitudes, development, mental disorders, etc., saying, “Increasing evidence demonstrates the many benefits of nature on psychological and physical well-being, including reduced stress, greater physical health, more creativity, and improved concentration.”

“Outdoor activities can help alleviate symptoms of Alzheimers, dementia, stress, and depression, and can improve cognitive function in those recently diagnosed with breast cancer.” – University of Washington College of the Environment

Sign up for a Stewardship Saturday event to help us protect and restore the natural area at Columbia Springs!

Washing State Parks Junior Ranger Program

Connect with parks all over WA state to learn how to protect them through fun activities!

Leave No Trace Guidelines

Leave the world better than you found it! We follow these guidelines and you can too.

Thayer Birding Software - free download

Learn to identify and protect birds in your area with the code ColumbiaSpringsYoungBirder.


Science and Nature Video Activities

How to Draw a Salmon

Lesson by Environmental Educators Megan Wadleigh, Katie Woollven and Shelly Skolfield
2nd – 5th grade

Do you like drawing? Follow along with Columbia Springs educator Megan to learn about salmon anatomy while doing art!

This video will walk you through the external characteristics of a coho salmon and leave you with a beautiful drawing once you’re done. You may even be surprised to see some features that you didn’t know about!

Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Salmon life cycle origami chatterbox

Video by Environmental Educator Megan Wadleigh
Kindergarten – 5th grade and beyond

Here’s an easy salmon craft to help you learn more about different species and life cycle stages of salmon! Download the template from NW Steelheaders… then watch the video to follow along with our Columbia Springs educator.

After you’ve completed this activity, you’ll have a beautiful origami chatterbox adorned with different species and life cycles of salmon. Watch the video for full instructions! 

Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Salmon StoryTime!

Video by Environmental Educators Katie Woollven and Shelly Skolfield
Kindergarten – 5th grade and beyond

Join Columbia Springs educator Shelly Skolfield for a very special storytime with our Columbia Springs salmon!

These fingerlings are almost ready to be released and are curious about life in the stream. Salmon Stream helps people and fingerlings alike learn what life is like for a salmon in the wild.

Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Salmon life cycle yoga

Video by Environmental Educator Katie Woollven
Kindergarten – 5th grade and beyond

Join creative movement specialists Julie Sparling and Jenn Patton on a journey through the salmon life cycle! Shrink down to egg size and experience the life of a salmon from beginning to end, swimming from the river to the sea… and back again.

In under 15 minutes you’ll learn about the salmon life cycle while using your whole body. Watch the video or visit this link for full instructions! 

Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Bug Out Scavenger Hunt!

Video by Environmental Educator Megan Wadleigh
Kindergarten – 2nd grade

Bugs live all around us! What kinds can you find? Use this activity to explore the wild world of bugs in your own backyard, as you walk around the block or in a local green space! 

Use our bug scavenger hunt to guide your exploration! No printer? Copy this on your own paper or draw your own bug scavenger hunt!

Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Meet a Tree

Video by Environmental Educator Shelly Skolfield
Kindergarten – 5th grade

 Trees are amazing and provide oxygen, habitat, shade and so much more. Get to know a tree near you with this multi-sensory activity! Watch the video for directions or click here for written instructions.

Want more tree fun? Check out this website that has all sorts of tree-related activities for you to try out.

Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Un-Nature Trail

Video by Environmental Educator Katie Woollven
Kindergarten – 5th grade

Having keen observation skills is a important scientific skill and can help you find all kinds of interesting things in nature as you explore your backyard, neighborhood or local park. Use this game for a quick and easy way to hone your observation skills to notice the unusual!

Watch the video for instructions or check out the written instructions on this website.

 Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Salmon Habitat Scavenger Hunt

Video by Environmental Educator Megan Wadleigh
3rd – 5th grade

What do salmon need from their habitat in order to survive? Go on a water’s edge discovery hunt and complete a scavenger hunt determine if salmon have all that they need to survive! Use this activity by any lake, stream or river near your house. 

Download the scavenger hunt to use for this activity here!

 Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Sound Mapping Activity

Video by Environmental Educator Jenna Kallestad
3rd grade – Adult

Listen to the world around you, what do you hear? This sensory activity is great for students of all ages! Slow down, close your eyes, listen, and soak in the sounds of the ever-active birds, plants and animals around you.

Check out written instructions for this activity here!

Teachers: Get this as a SeeSaw activity

Salmon Habitat and Life-cycle Activity

Video by Events & Communications Intern Kathryn Lampe
4th grade – Adult

 Salmon are a super important part of our ecosystem. Learn about what they need and why through this demonstration of salmon charades, a stream model, and more.​ This activity is great for all ages.

Check out the salmon charades and stream model written instructions for a Family Nature Day at home!

Outdoor Education Resources

Here are a few quick and easy ideas for ways to connect with nature at home and in your own backyard from our education team. Download our Activity Booklet, or find it at our Nature Play Area, for offline activities in your neighborhood, backyard or favorite park!

Backyard Birdfeeder

Use recycled materials to build your own backyard birdfeeder with this quick and easy at-home craft. Fun for all ages!

Nature Bingo

Can you find all the items on our nature bingo boards? This all ages activity is great on your own or with a friend! You can also make your own!

Snag Scavenger Hunt

Did you know that we have nine special snags at Columbia Springs? Use this worksheet to locate all of the snags and discover why they are important! 

Plant ID Activities

What plants live near you? Use this guide for ID then complete this survey to share what you found! Practice your ID skills with this matching game. 

More Nature Activities!

Check out this resource of some of our favorite, simple activities for students to connect with nature. 

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