CW3E and Yuba Water Agency Bring Science to Life for Students at Browns Valley Elementary School in Yuba County

February 14, 2023

Browns Valley Elementary School students in Yuba County recently had the opportunity to learn about weather forecasting and natural resource management first-hand from the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes and Yuba Water Agency.

In mid-January, researchers Chad Hecht and Anna Wilson spoke with kindergarten and third-grade students about a weather station that CW3E operates at the school with support from Yuba Water, and how that data informs weather forecasting and water management in the region. This was the first time CW3E had a chance to talk with students about the weather station since it was installed in April 2021.

During CW3E’s visit, students explored the variety of instrumentation at the station, including the inside of a tipping bucket rain gauge. Third-grade students learned about how the weather station’s instrumentation works, what they measure, how the observations can be useful to understanding the atmosphere and how this knowledge and research can be used to improve forecasting and water resource management.

Students were also able look at the data coming in from the station in real time using graphs, which aligns with third-grade learning objectives. This was also an opportunity for Chad and Anna to highlight the importance of observations at this specific weather station as a key part of a larger, watershed-wide network.

The students were actively engaged throughout Anna and Chad’s visit, asked numerous questions, and explained with great enthusiasm the rain gauges they had recently designed and collocated with the weather station.

One week after CW3E’s visit, Yuba Water visited the third-grade class to connect how data from the weather station directly supports decisions by Yuba Water and other natural resource management agencies in the region. Yuba Water’s director of resource planning, John James, explained how weather data fits into the agency’s management of the Yuba River watershed and New Bullards Bar Reservoir, which is near the school and is critical to flood risk reduction and water supply reliability in the region. The discussion gave students the opportunity to ask more questions about the watershed and how it is studied and managed, especially during times of flood and drought.

CW3E and Yuba Water Agency are grateful for the opportunity to work with Browns Valley Elementary School students and teachers, and we look forward to our next visit!

CW3E’s Anna Wilson discusses the Browns Valley Elementary School weather station with the 3rd grade class.

Yuba Water Agency’s John James leads a discussion on the Yuba watershed in the Browns Valley Elementary School 3rd grade classroom.