Activity Overview

Grades: 2nd-5th
Time: 20 minutes to one hour
Adult support needed? Self-guided student activity, youth will need adult supervision for outdoor portion

Want to help keep rivers clean and learn about your neighborhood at the same time? Investigate your neighborhood to find the nearest storm drain. Storm drains are openings in the sidewalk or street that connect to underground pipes. Storm drains play an important role in keeping our communities safe because they help to prevent streets from flooding when it rains. However, any water that flows into storm drains eventually ends up in the river or the ocean without being treated or cleaned. Similarly, any trash or other type of pollution that flows into a storm drain will also end up in local water bodies. We can help keep our river and the storm drain cleans by knowing that only water should go inside the storm drain and teaching others about storm drains. In this activity, youth will:

  1. Investigate and draw a storm drain in their neighborhood.
  2. Watch videos to learn about stormwater runoff and the storm drain system.
  3. Take action: draw a poster or record a video to teach people about keeping storm drains clear of pollution.

Virtual Activity Guide

It’s as if CWC educators were in the classroom with you! Join CWC staff as they guide youth through the activity. Youth are taken step by step through the activity. You may choose to use the Virtual Activity Guide instead of the Activity Guide PDF as all the same information is provided in this Virtual Activity Guide.

Supports Next Generation Science Standards:

  • 4-ESS3-2. Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment. 

Materials Needed:

  • Worksheet PDF: Only Rain Down the Storm Drain
  • Pencil and markers
  • Cell phone camera (optional)


  1.  View or print the worksheet. No printer? No problem! View the worksheet online and grab blank paper to follow along.
  2. Investigate: Follow worksheet directions to find and observe a storm drain in your neighborhood.
  3. Watch video: Watch this video by NCTTOG E&D to learn about stormwater runoff and storm drains.
  4. Take action: Draw a poster or record a video to teach people about keeping storm drains clear of pollution.
  5. (Optional) Share your poster or video with us! Send an email to or tag @CoastalWatershedCouncil on Instagram or Facebook.

Additional Resources:

Thank you to the City of Santa Cruz, City of Capitola, Santa Cruz County and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for supporting the Coastal Watershed Council’s Environmental Education programs.
To all of the Watershed Rangers students, teachers and program partners, although we will not be able to see you in classrooms, field trips and after school programs right now, we hope to provide you and your loved ones with online resources and activities during this time. We know that parents, teacher and lifelong learners are seeking ways to stay engaged and active, and we’re going to be working to bring activities to you through the Coastal Watershed Council blog. Please share these resources and activities with friends, neighbors and parents groups and stay tuned for more.

Additional resources:

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