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Earth Month In Action: Seattle Students Help Restore Native Landscapes at the Cedar River Watershed

When The Downtown School in Seattle needed a place for their high school students to do service learning, they called SPU’s Cedar River Watershed Education Center.  

The Center, just 35 miles east of Seattle, is a gateway to one of earth’s gems – the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. The watershed provides drinking water for 70 percent of the 1.5 million people living in the greater Seattle area, and protecting this precious resource is something we all can help do.    

During multiple visits to the watershed, students at The Downtown School have been removing invasive, non-native plants and learning about the source of the water coming out of their faucets at home. They are discovering how restoring native landscapes is good for the earth, its wildlife, and the quality of their drinking water. 

“I think that more people should learn about the watershed, as having knowledge of where your water comes from makes you feel safer drinking it,” said Kyle, a student at The Downtown School.  

His classmate Alex added, “Before coming to the Cedar River Watershed, I actually had no idea where Seattle’s tap water came from. I guess I just assumed it came from somewhere but never knew where. This was answered when I volunteered at the Cedar River Watershed.” 

On the school’s most recent March 25 visit to the watershed, 12 students helped remove invasive blackberry from the Education Center grounds. After a couple hours of earth work, the students broke for lunch and had a surprise visit to Cedar Falls waterfall, where they were amazed to see the pristine source of their drinking water that travels from the protected watershed deep in the Cascade Mountains to Seattle homes.   

“For me, the most memorable part of the day was the trip up to an idyllic waterfall in the watershed. Not only was it a strikingly beautiful and pristine location, but seeing our drinking water flowing down a cliff, on its way to our house, was very cool to see. The waterfall feels so much more magical knowing that the only people that are allowed near it are people like us, on a tour,”   

Kyle, a student at The Downtown School

Alex concluded by saying “I learned a lot not only about the invasive species taking over the area but also about how this is where Seattle’s drinking water comes from. I especially found it really interesting and cool how the Cedar River Watershed uses natural features as an advantage to filter the water.” 

Like Kyle and Alex discovered, we invite Seattle customers to experience the wonder of the Cedar River Watershed and learn why it’s one of earth’s most valuable resources. Find out how to take a tour and enjoy all of the programs, features and exhibits the Education Center has to offer. 

Learn more about how SPU is making everyday investments in our planet.