Jefferson Elementary School's "Keeper of the Creek" Project

Kristin Erickson, a fifth grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary, along with Patti Warner, a 4-H Wildlife Steward, put together an urban stream enhancement plan that emphasized a hands-on wildlife education site along Dixon Creek as well as served as a community model for urban stream enhancement. The project is located in Corvallis, Oregon and includes the portion of Dixon Creek between Circle and Kings Boulevard behind Jefferson Elementary School.

1936 air photo of Dixon Creek near Jefferson Elementary School.

2002 air photo of Dixon Creek near Jefferson Elementary School.

To help fund the project, Kristin and Patti applied for a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Education program and were awarded $13,784. The main goal listed as part of the grant application included “working with local high school students, community members and organizations to develop, implement and maintain a stream restoration project for the section of Dixon Creek that runs by the school. The students will monitor water quality and work to restore the creek to a more natural state.”

Kristin and Patti also applied for and have been awarded a number of other grants and donations including one from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. This grant provided $3,665 worth of native bare root trees and shrubs to use in plant revegetation work.

Every class at Jefferson Elementary (K-5) has become involved in hands-on learning along the creek. Students have been involved with mapping, plant and tree identification and inventory, fish inventory, measuring creek velocity, drawing, and writing poetry.

any community partners, including Oregon State University's Extension 4-H, Benton County's Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife, City of Corvallis' Public Works Department, the Audubon Society of Corvallis, Earth Design Consultants, and the Conservation Biology Institute have volunteered their time.

More details about various activities can be viewed by following these links:

Other Dixon Creek study results

Tree identification and mapping

Historical air photographs

Media coverage

Stream insect surveys

Riparian vegetation restoration

Work parties and presentations

Trail interpretive sign posts

Water quality sampling

Kristin and Patti hope that the Keepers of the Creek project will become a perpetual project that will continue to enhance learning at Jefferson Elementary and for those in the larger community. Ultimately, they hope other community members will adopt and restore sections of urban creeks in Corvallis using this project as a model.

To get more information about the Jefferson Elementary School Keepers of the Creek project, contact Kristin Erickson (email: or Patti Warner (email: