The Reserve strives to assist students in developing an appreciation for nature, as well as a passion that produces future stewards of the watershed. Over 1,600 elementary and middle school students visit the Reserve annually to experience their local environment.
Through partnerships with the Escondido Creek Conservancy, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, and San Diego Zoo, third through sixth grade students are engaged in a discovery and inquiry-based program that spans the full Escondido Creek Watershed, the largest watershed in the Carlsbad Hydrologic Unit.
Children get the chance to see how water moves through a watershed from its headwaters, through the City of Escondido, into the Elfin Forest, down to the San Elijo Lagoon, and into the Pacific Ocean. They learn how their actions affect the quality of the water in the creeks, the lagoon, and the ocean, as well as the natural environment around them.
Students are immersed in nature for a day and have the opportunity to question, investigate, and discover. During their visit they are able to observe a hawk soar, enjoy the beauty and stillness of a riparian oak forest canopy, and rock-hop over a stream.