Critical learning often takes place outside. Both school children and adults make important intellectual and emotional connections to their environment through experiences and “teachable moments” when they are exploring, playing, or even relaxing in natural settings and places of historic and social significance. The San Joaquin River Blueway will open up access to the outdoors, providing educational opportunities for our region.

Valley residents and their visitors can become more engaged with the unique natural and cultural heritage of our region through interpretive opportunities such as class field trips, research projects, casual river visits, and guided tours. Along the banks of the San Joaquin, visitors might learn about Native American culture; the intriguing stories of California’s development; the natural life of the river environment; the importance of the San Joaquin in the State’s complicated water system; how farming in the area has supports a hungry nation and factors into the worldwide agricultural economy; and the challenges and rewards of the unfolding restoration program.

I spent all my childhood summers by the river ... it would be so hot in the summer that all the Indians would go down to the river to camp, right above where the dam [Friant Dam] is now. There were lots of willows and oaks and it was cooler there. We’d start camping by the river in June, through all of July and August, until the grape harvest started. We’d go back home to Table Mountain in September ... It was great for the kids; we really had fun. I remember seeing the salmon swim up the river, they were bright pink. And I learned to swim in the San Joaquin too.

Emily Sample Native American who grew up on tribal land at Table Mountain Rancheria