Watershed Explorers is an outdoor education program that provides youth an opportunity to travel and experience the length of the San Dieguito Watershed. Explorers start their journey at the headwaters of the San Dieguito River on Volcan Mountain and then follow the path of the river visiting sites at Lake Sutherland, the San Diego Archaeological Center, Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead and finally, the award-winning Birdwing Open Air Classroom at the San Dieguito Lagoon.

Each visit focuses on a different theme providing a unique opportunity for participants to experience and learn about the many facets of the watershed from the natural world to its history and cultural significance. As they experience the outdoors, explorers develop a “sense of place” and appreciation for the environment - recognizing they play a role in preserving and protecting the natural and cultural resources of the watershed.

Officially launched in 2015, this program was developed in partnership with the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, San Dieguito River Park, San Diego Archaeological Center and Volcan Mountain Foundation as a way for each organization to expand our individual nature education programs.


Watershed Explorers is a “passport” style program that takes youth on a journey of the San Dieguito Watershed through a series of 5 separate field trips to the following sites:

Volcan Mountain

Lake Sutherland

San Diego Archaeological Center

Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead

San Dieguito Lagoon

Field trips are offered throughout the week starting at 9:00 am. Site activities vary and typically run between 2 to 4 hours (location dependent).

Upon completion of a minimum of 3 of the 5 field trips, participants earn the title of “Watershed Explorer” and receive the following to inspire them to continue to get outdoors and explore:

• Watershed Explorers string backpack

• Watershed Explorers hat

• Reusable water bottle

• Travel-size sunscreen

Target Grade Levels: Grades 5-12

Maximum Class Size: 26 students

Chaperone Ratio: 1 chaperone per 8 students

Transportation: Two 15-passenger vans are available to transport students

Suggested Donation: $5 per participant per field trip

Donations are accepted to support the cost of educational materials, transportation and program administration. If needed, the program may be offered free of charge to any school or organization that inquires.

Click HERE to make a donation.