Slough School at Home

As risks associated with the spread of the coronavirus continue to sweep across our communities and confront us with new and unique challenges, we are thinking of our supporters, partners, students, and volunteers, and wishing good health and safety to all of you. All of our personal and professional lives have been impacted by COVID-19, and it has certainly tested us here at the Council with significant operational, programmatic, financial and emotional impacts. With students now learning from home, and parents balancing work, childcare, and other challenges, our staff is here to provide resources and activities that will allow our Slough School community to continue engaging in environmental education from home. 

Explore the resources below to continue learning about and improving the health of our watershed!

If you have any questions about these resources or other Slough School programming, please contact Jennifer Starkey.


When engaging in outdoor activities, protect yourself and others by:

  •  Staying at least 6 feet away from other people

  • Washing/sanitizing your hands after touching public surfaces (including play structures)



Below is a map of the Columbia Slough Watershed, which stretches across more than 18 miles of diverse landscapes and land use areas. The Slough includes 60 miles of remnant of lakes, wetlands and slow-moving channels that were formerly floodplains connected to the Columbia River.

Can you find where the Columbia Slough starts and where it ends?


The Columbia Slough Watershed is full of natural areas for your to explore! Listed below are some of our most accessible parks, as well as resources to guide your learning and discovery.


Jump To:

Columbia Children's Arboretum

Johnson Lake

Kelley Point Park

Salish Ponds

Smith & Bybee Wetlands

Wilkes Creek Headwaters

Whitaker Ponds 

Click on the image in each section to learn more about the park.

Columbia Children's Arboretum

In the 1970s, a group of students from Columbia Elementary School planted 8,000 trees in this area and turned it into a community nature park.  Trees from every state were brought to the arboretum and can still be found in the park, each identified with a unique plaque.


Johnson Lake

In the early 20th century, Johnson Lake was a hub for recreation, and remained crystal clear for many decades. However, after the Vanport flood of 1948 and the rise of industry in the area, the lake became heavily polluted. In 1996, it was donated to the City of Portland and has been maintained as a natural area ever since.

johnson lake.jpg

Kelley Point Park

Kelley Point Park is a large natural area in the Northwest corner of the watershed, located where the Willamette River and Columbia River converge before flowing to the ocean. In this park, you can find trails, two beaches, a canoe launch, and many natural spaces that provide essential animal habitat.

Kelley Point park map.JPG

Salish Ponds

Salish Ponds is a stunning park with ADA-accessible trails and structures, located between Gresham and Fairview. This park boasts four different land types, where you can explore its diverse native plant and animal life.

Can you find the river otters that call these ponds home? If not, try acting like an otter or bringing a fishing pole down to the ponds! 


Smith & Bybee Wetlands

Smith & Bybee is the largest urban wetland in North America, and a great habitat for critical animals like Pacific Chorus Frogs, Western Painted Turtles, and many bird of prey species. If you want to look for animals who call this place home, use the printable field guide below!


Wilkes Creek Headwaters

At this beautiful natural area located at 54th & Fremont, you will find the very beginning of the creek coming out of the side of a hill. This site was once an English Holly orchard, but has since been restored into an open meadow. The area includes a beautiful meadow at the park's entrance, but transforms into a forest beyond the bridge. Animals like owls and coyotes are known to frequent the area. 

WilkesHW PP27 2014-11-14.JPG

Whitaker Ponds

Whitaker Ponds is a wonderful park located at the center of our watershed. It provides habitat for many different critters, including beavers, otters, turtles, and fish. Can you find evidence of owls and beavers at Whitaker Ponds?


If you want to explore the park with an audio tour, download the Otocast app and search for the Whitaker Ponds podcast, created by a class from Alliance High School at Meek. Or, click on the button below to download a scavenger hunt!

Whitaker Ponds Map.JPG



© 2020 by Columbia Slough Watershed Council