EnviroScape Watershed Model

children using watershed modelNVSWCD offers training to teachers, interns, youth group leaders, and adult volunteers in the use of a 3-dimensional watershed model called EnviroScape®.

We use the model to demonstrate how different land uses affect water quality. Rain (from a spray bottle) carries soil (cocoa), fertilizer (powdered drink mix), and animal waste (chocolate sprinkles) to a lake, where the effects of the pollution become plainly visible. Land use includes a residential neighborhood, golf course, construction site, farm, and roads. The model is also used to show ways individuals and communities can help reduce pollution that ends up in our streams, lakes, and rivers.

Training takes about 1 hour and is available by appointment at the NVSWCD office, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905, Fairfax, Virginia 22035. There is no charge for the training. Trained volunteers may borrow the model on a short-term basis when it is not in use.

To learn more about EnviroScape training, contact NVSWCD's EnviroScape coordinator or call 703-324-1460, TTY 711.

Enviroscape correlates to the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) for science:

Grade K


K.5 The student will investigate and understand that water flows and has properties that can be observed and tested. Key concepts include:

  • the natural flow of water is downhill
  • some materials float in water while others sink


K.10 The student will investigate and understand that materials can be reused, recycled, and conserved. Key concepts include:

  • materials and objects can be used over and over again
  • everyday materials can be recycled
  • water and energy conservation at home and in school helps preserve resources for future use

Grade 1


1.8 The student will investigate and understand that natural resources are limited. Key concepts include:

  • identification of natural resources (plants and animals, water, air, land,
    minerals, forests, and soil)
  • factors that affect air and water quality
  • recycling, reusing, and reducing consumption of natural resources

Grade 2


2.8 The student will investigate and understand that plants produce oxygen and food, are a source of useful products, and provide benefits in nature. Key concepts include:

  • plants provide homes and food for many animals and prevent soil from
    washing away

Grade 3

Living Systems

3.6 The student will investigate and understand that environments support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources. Key concepts include:

  • water-related environments (pond, marshland, swamp, stream, and river)
  • dry-land environments (desert, grassland, rain forest, and forest

Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

3.9 The student will investigate and understand the water cycle and its relationship to life on Earth. Key concepts include:

  • water is essential for living things
  • water supply and water conservation


3.10 The student will investigate and understand that natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species. Key concepts include:

  • human effects on the quality of air, water, and habitat
  • the effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms
  • conservation and resource renewal

Grade 4

Living Systems

4.5 The student will investigate and understand how plants and animals in an ecosystem interact with one another and the nonliving environment. Key
concepts include:

  • influence of human activity on ecosystems


4.8 The student will investigate and understand important Virginia natural resources. Key concepts include:

  • watershed and water resources
  • forests, soil, and land

Grade 5

Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

5.7 The student will investigate and understand how the Earth's surface is constantly changing. Key concepts include:

  • weathering and erosion
  • human impact

Grade 6


6.5 The student will investigate and understand the unique properties and characteristics of water and its roles in the natural and human-made environment. Key concepts include:

  • water as the universal solvent
  • the action of water in physical and chemical weathering
  • the importance of water for agriculture, power generation, and public health
  • the importance of protecting and maintaining water resources

Living Systems

6.7 The student will investigate and understand the natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems. Key concepts include:

  • the health of ecosystems and the abiotic factors of a watershed
  • the location and structure of Virginia's regional watershed systems
  • divides, tributaries, river systems, and river and stream processes
  • wetlands
  • estuaries
  • major conservation, health, and safety issues associated with watersheds


6.9 The student will investigate and understand public policy decisions relating to the environment. Key concepts include:

  • management of renewable resources (water, air, soil, plant life, animal life)
  • the mitigation of land-use and environmental hazards through preventive measures
  • cost/benefit tradeoffs in conservation policies

Life Science

LS.11 The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms are dynamic and change over time (daily, seasonal, and long term). Key concepts include:

  • eutrophication, climate change, and catastrophic disturbances

LS.12 The student will investigate and understand the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. Key concepts include:

  • environmental issues (water supply, air quality, energy production, and waste management)

Earth Science

ES.7 The student will investigate and understand the differences between renewable and nonrenewable resources. Key concepts include:

  • fossil fuels, minerals, rocks, water, and vegetation
  • resources found in Virginia
  • making informed judgments related to resource use and its effects on Earth systems
  • environmental costs and benefits

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