Here you'll find resources and activities for local watershed education. The following are lesson plans developed with assistance through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, neighboring watersheds, and local educators. To schedule a guest visit with trained education staff or for assistance with activity planning, contact VLAWMO at (651) 204-6070.

Jr Watershed Explorer Workbook


The Junior Watershed Explorer workbook is a great way for children and families to learn about water resources and explore the Vadnais Lake Area watershed. The book includes a variety of puzzles, art activities, and locations to visit for kids of all ages!

Click here to download the workbook

Did your family download or complete the workbook? Please consider taking a few minutes to provide your feedback and recommendations on how we can improve the activity.

Workbook review survey

The first 20 completed workbooks will receive a FREE "Jr Watershed Explorer at work" T-shirt. T-shirts are available at the Vadnais Heights City Hall with a completed signature found on the last page of the workbook. Shirts and other prizes are reserved for families and children who live, work in, or go to school in the VLAWMO watershed. 

Raingarden Cards

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Raingarden cards are designed to either enhance the accessibility of an existing raingarden or model the process of planting a raingarden. The cards may serve as a tool for a large group activity focused on planting, or an individual field journal exercise. 

Raingarden Cards - Lesson

Raingarden Cards - Part 1

Raingarden Cards - Part 2

Field Journal Tips

Field Journal Sample

School-Specific Watershed Maps

Awareness of the watershed and how your school fits into it can compliment existing water and science curriculum. These maps convey the connection between the schoolyard and the nearest waterbody, and help tell the story of water in your area. Staff are available to help with integrating them into class activities. If you don't see your school listed, contact us to request a custom map for your school, childcare center, or office. 

AFSA High School:


Birch Lake Elementary: 


Central Middle School:


Chippewa Middle School:


Frassati Academy: 


Lakeaires Elementary: 


Lincoln Elementary: 


Vadnais Heights Elementary:


Visit our Waterbodies page to find lake fact sheets for the lakes around your school.

Stormwater Runoff Calculation


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Where is water draining on the schoolyard? How much runoff is generated on your schoolyard during a rain event? How do we create plans to manage stormwater runoff? In this lesson students think like engineers to observe runoff patterns, plan stormwater best management practices (BMP's), and estimate runoff volume on the schoolyard. For these activities, VLAWMO will generate custom maps and pinpoint key information (soil type, land use, etc. as well as provide essential materials.

Runoff Mapping - Lesson 

Runoff Mapping - BMP cards

Runoff Mapping - Map sample

Runoff Calculation - Worksheet

Runoff Calculation - Excel spreadsheet

VLAWMO GIS page: Measure tool found in upper right, for measuring surface area such as rooftops, turf, and pavement.


Raingarden Maintenance


Seasonal maintenance helps keep raingardens attractive and functional. VLAWMO is here to support your school in maintaining a raingarden or native planting. When maintenance is established as a routine school activity, the raingarden serves as an outdoor classroom in art, science, community service, and team building. 

Raingarden maintenance - Lesson

Custom school guide to raingarden maintenance (example)

A Tale of 3 Tails (and a wetland)

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Vern, Mel, and Estrella have discovered a big problem in their wetland home! Hear about their adventures to solve the predicaments effecting their wetland and how they work with neighbors to bring it back to health. This story-time-style activity showcases local projects, water resources, maps, and community initiatives to illustrate the VLAWMO watershed. Download the PDF below for a virtual "storybook", and find the story template in the notes of the slideshow. 

A Tale of 3 Tales: Powerpoint Story

Watershed StoryMaps

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Explore the watershed and discover our local wildlife with these engaging StoryMaps. Each one takes the viewer on a journey with maps, photos, and sounds, while explaining what mammals, birds, and amphibians mean for watershed health. 

Wildlife in the Watershed StoryMap

Frogs and Toads in the Watershed StoryMap

Additional slideshows showcasing wetland wildlife are found on our YouTube channel. 

Part 1: Tamarack Nature Center

Part 2: Vadnais/Sucker Regional Park

Part 3: Birch Lake Rotary Nature Preserve

Macroinvertebrates Field/Lab Day


Bring live macroinvertebrates into the classroom for study or travel to the Sucker Lake Channel (just south of hwy 96) for hands-on fieldwork. VLAWMO staff will guide students in sampling macroinvertebrates (water bugs) in the channel, identifying them, and using the data to assess water quality and watershed health. Students will gain skills in ecology, land use, field biology, data collection, and analyzing data to form conclusions. VLAWMO provides all materials including nets, Leaf Pack kits, sampling supplies, ID charts, calculators, and dry erase markers. Contact VLAWMO a minimum of three weeks in advance to organize either of these adventure-filled activities. 

Activity best suits groups of 18-24, age 4th grade and up.

Macroinvertebrates field day curriculum

Macroinvertebrates Leaf Pack lab day

The Watershed Game

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VLAWMO staff are trained and experienced in facilitating the watershed game. Developed by the University of Minnesota Extension and Northland NEMO, this game is a STEM activity that takes about 1 hour to facilitate. Visit the watershed game classroom version webpage for a description of the education standards and how the game is played. VLAWMO provides the game board and tools, and relates the game to features and issues in our local watershed. Game is best suited for middle to high school grade levels. 


Other resources for students and teachers


Watershed Mgmt Plan Public Meeting
The Initial Planning Meeting is a key stage in creating our next Watershed Management Plan…

Announcing the 2027-2036 Watershed Management Plan
You're invited to contribute to the launch of our next 10-year Watershed Management Plan.

2023 Recap Survey
Join us in evaluating our 2023 programming, feedback welcome from partners and public.


Schools within VLAWMO's watershed boundary have the unique opportunity to work directly with VLAWMO staff on class visits, lesson plans, and the installment of stormwater improvement projects on school grounds. Schools in the VLAWMO watershed include: 

Birch Lake Elementary, Chippewa Middle School, Lincoln Elementary, Lakaires Elementary, Vadnais Lake Elementary , Frassati Academy, Liberty Academy, AFSA High School, Children's Discovery, Oak Grove Knowledge Beginnings, and White Bear Montessori.