Posted March 13, 2024

California Water Service (Cal Water) brought students out of the classroom and to the ocean and wetlands for some hands-on learning about water and conservation recently. As part of Cal Water’s Aqua Adventures, the utility funded field trips where students got their hands wet while learning for three classrooms in its service areas.

Aqua Adventures is a new addition to Cal Water’s revamped conservation education program, “Tap Into Learning,” in partnership with DoGoodery. The program, previously known as Cal Water’s H2O Challenge, has been teaching students about the importance of water conservation for 10 years. Travel costs are one of the biggest hurdles for schools when it comes to funding field trips, so having not just entrance fees, but also travel costs funded was important to Cal Water and the teachers.

“We are excited for this new offering as part of our ‘Tap Into Learning’ program,” said Ken Jenkins, Cal Water’s Chief Water Resource Sustainability Officer. “We hope to continue to inspire students in our service areas to learn more about water and our changing climate.”

Students from Livermore, Salinas, and Westlake Village were chosen at random from classrooms in Cal Water service areas that applied for the field trips. Fifth- and sixth-graders from Livermore explored California Academy of Sciences’ aquarium and indoor rainforest in San Francisco, sixth-graders from Salinas tested river water quality at Scout Island Outdoor Education Center in Fresno, and Westlake Village fourth-graders dove into the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

Gill Short, fifth and sixth grade teacher at King’s Classical Academy in Livermore, said she was grateful for the opportunity.

“As a small school, we do not always have the means to pursue different experiences for our students, even when those opportunities are right on our doorstep,” Short said.

Chasette Harper, sixth-grade teacher with Henry F. Kammann Elementary in Salinas, said she was happy to see her students do something new.

“I’m happy my students get to learn about water quality testing, which is something we wouldn’t have been able to do this year,” Harper said. “I also want my students to learn that learning is not just in the classroom, but also outside the classroom.”

Fourth-grade Westlake Elementary teacher Molly Upton said her students loved learning about sea life and ways to conserve water in California.

“It’s a good way for the kids to learn and then to teach others some ideas of what they can do to save water as well,” Upton said.

Besides Aqua Adventures, Cal Water also offers $100 Water Smart Grants to teachers proposing classroom water projects. Applications are open year-round to teachers in grades 4 through 6 working in a Cal Water service area. For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, visit