Bring Watersheds to Life!

Bring watersheds to life! Help raise $2500 to bring hands-on, fun learning experiences to classrooms throughout Tillamook County AND to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Tillamook Bay's designation as a Bay of National Significance!

Building Mountains in the Classroom (and valleys,  streams, lakes, and estuaries!). We are strong believers that learning through doing is one of the most effective forms of education - for people of all ages! What better way to learn about how water moves through a watershed than by building the mountains and valleys yourself, making it rain, and seeing the water flow to a stream into a lake?

Augmented Reality Sandbox brings watersheds to life. To help bring watershed science into the classrooms of Tillamook County, we're building an Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox. The AR Sandbox is the cutting edge of educational instruments. Using a computer projector and a motion sensing input device (a Kinect 3D Camera) mounted above a box of sand, it projects contour lines and a color map simulating a landscape. As you interact with and shape the sand ,the colors and lines change, showing different landscape features. You can even make it rain by holding your hand above the surface! The rain flows down the slopes to the lower surfaces (rivers and lakes).  See the video below for a full demonstration!

$2500 supports experiential learning. We're raising $2500 for the construction of an AR Sandbox for Tillamook County (which includes all of the supplies, materials, and hardware), the development of customized lessons plans for different grade levels, and to support bringing the tool to each school during the 2019 - 2020 school year.

How can you help? Donate today! Your donation will go directly to constructing the AR Sandbox and bringing it into classrooms starting in September. 

Why Now? We're Celebrating! On July 1st, 1994, Tillamook Bay was officially designated as a Bay of National Significance and the process begun to develop the Tillamook Bay National Estuary Program (now Tillamook Estuaries Partnership ). That day in 1994 was the culmination of years of work from our local community to recognize the importance of Tillamook Bay and the significant issues influencing water quality, habitat and salmon populations. We've been honoring that legacy all year with special events Celebrating the Bounty of the Bays and we can't think of a better tribute during the official 25th anniversary month, than to raise money to support environmental education in Tillamook County! Donate $25 in honor of our 25th anniversary!

Who is building the AR Sandbox? Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP) is incredibly lucky this year to have Chris Sutherland on our team. Chris is part of the VetsWork: Environment  program with Mount Adam's Institute, an eleven month AmeriCorps career development internship program for military veterans in the natural resources management, public lands, and environment sector. He is a retired Coast Guardsman who thoroughly loves working in habitat restoration and enhancement.  Chris has elected to build the AR Sandbox and help develop the lesson plans as part of his Community Action Project. Thank you Chris!

How will we use the AR Sandbox?

Inspire Creativity. The AR Sandbox is the perfect tool for illustrating different features of earth's surface. Piling the sand builds mountains and valleys, digging creates rivers and lakes, and just the movement of your had can start a rainstorm. The right mix of creativity along with curriculum helps student to be innovative and encourages them to learn new things. 

Enhance Learning. Interacting with the sand demonstrates how different landforms are created and how earth's surface changes through natural processes like erosion and deposition. Teachers can incorporate the tool into their classroom lessons, providing an extra layer in their curriculum.

Encourage Play. Who doesn't remember how much fun it was to play in a sandbox? The AR Sandbox provides a unique opportunity to combine fun with hands-on learning. Bringing play into the classroom helps to improve focus and attention.

Engage in Discovery. We'll bring the AR Sandbox to students in Tillamook County along with customized lesson plans for different grade levels. Our goal is to improve our students understanding of watershed and earth sciences through experiential learning, helping students discover how the world around them works.

Join us in bringing this incredible learning tool to Tillamook County!

The Augmented Reality Sandbox was developed by the UC Davis W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES,, supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1114663. For more information, please visit

More information about Tillamook Estuaries Partnership: The Tillamook Estuaries Partnership is dedicated to the conservation and Restoration of Tillamook County's estuaries and watersheds in their entirety. Part of 28 National Estuary Projects around the country and in Puerto Rico, we work to protect and restore the health of our estuaries while supporting economic and recreational activities.

Tillamook Estuaries Partnership is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible. If you'd like to donate by check, send donations to Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, PO Box 493, Garibaldi, OR 97118. Include AR Sandbox in the note field. Donations can also be made online HERE .

Fundraising team (2)

Alix Lee
Garibaldi, OR
Tillamook Estuaries Partnership
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
Christopher Sutherland
Team member

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