Education & Outreach

SSCAFCA is dedicated to educating students, adults and the Southern Sandoval County community as a whole on the issues of flood control and watershed management.

SSCAFCA supports school based education through: RiverXchange, Arroyo Classroom, the Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team, collaboration with the Rio Rancho Children’s Water Festival and Rio Rancho Public Schools S.A.F.E. (Students Achieving For Excellence) Program.


riverxchange title bar

RiverXchange is a standards based curriculum developed in New Mexico to help fifth grade students understand:

  • watersheds
  • water in our society
  • river ecosystems

Since 2010, SSCAFCA has provided RiverXchange curriculum within its jurisdiction. RiverXchange integrates water resource topics with computer technology, student writing, and a hands on curriculum to meet specific measurable outcomes. The SSCAFCA sponsored fifth graders are partnered with “high tech pen pals” in another part of the U.S. or world. The students share with their pen pals throughout the school year about what they are learning related to their local river.

Students in New Mexico learn about stormwater, arroyos and the Rio Grande watershed through classroom guest speakers and a field trip to the bosque. Awareness of local water issues helps empower students to make decisions regarding their local water resources. For more information on the RiverXchange program, visit: SSCAFCA sponsors schools in the City of Rio Rancho, Village of Corrales and the Town of Bernalillo.

Arroyo Classroom

arroyo classroomSSCAFCA’s Arroyo Classroom program for third graders began as a pilot in 2013 to promote safety near natural arroyos, awareness of the local environment and to teach students about the arroyos’ value as wildlife habitat. As part of the educational standards, SSCAFCA wants to inform students about habitats in their neighborhoods and the animals that make their homes in arroyos. Students learn that something as simple as “scooping the poop” (cleaning up pet waste), picking up trash and debris, and staying on trails to reduce erosion and sediment can have a direct impact on stormwater quality. Stormwater isn’t cleaned and carries whatever it picks up directly to the Rio Grande River.

The program focus areas: arroyo classroom website

  • Arroyo Safety-know when it’s safe to be in or around a sandy natural arroyo
  • Animal and Plant Adaptations – learning about the plants and animals that live in our arroyos and how they are adapted to survive in the desert climate
  • Burrowing Owls – learning about burrowing owls, their lives, their habitat, and why their populations are threatened in some areas
  • Bats – learning about how many mosquitoes a bat can eat each night, and how they control insect populations naturally in our arroyos, ponds and areas that attract large amounts of flying bugs

Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team

The Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team (MRGQST) was formed in 2004 to educate individuals and businesses on how to reduce stormwater pollution by keeping trash and other pollution out of our stormwater system.

SSCAFCA is helping to prevent stormwater pollution to keep the Rio Grand! Visit the Mid Rio Grande Stormwater Quality Team website to learn more:

20110310 BernCo Stormwater PresentationThis year the MRGQST awarded a grant to engage high school students in creating a peer relevant video on stormwater quality. Students from Sue Cleveland, Rio Rancho and Bernalillo High School. worked through a variety scenarios in an attempt to capture the audience’s attention on the relevance of water quality. They began with a grand vision of the apocalyptic proportions in the “Zombie POOPocalypes”, where mutations could occur if humans didn’t do their part to keep stormwater clean. This came from the discovery that stormwater in the Middle Rio Grande goes directly to the river through channels and arroyos. This water isn’t treated in a waste water treatment plant so biological contaminants along with other items the rain water picks up can affect drinking water and the water in our rivers. But after much consideration and script revisions the students narrowed the scope of the video to reflect a very simple thing each of us can do to keep the Rio Grande.

Click on the video below to check out the 2013 High School Stormwater Quality-Message.

For a short music video version click on the video below.

Thank you to the students who worked to create the video, the Intel Computer Club House of Bernalillo, the in-kind support of local business and non-profits.

Rio Rancho Children’s Water Festival

RRCF LOGO FINAL for websiteAlong with community outreach and awareness activities, SSCAFCA supports the Rio Rancho Children’s Water Festival. Water education at the elementary school level is an important component of the water conservation initiative for the City of Rio Rancho in order to create a sustainable water supply by improving water use efficiency by its citizens, encouraging water management, and promoting water conservation.


Rio Rancho has approximately 1,600 fourth grade students. Most of these students receive little or no formal water resource education.

Water Bugs

The Rio Rancho Children’s Water Festival improves the understanding of good water management principles by the students, teachers and parents who participate in this festival. The principal focus of the Festival is to educate fourth grade school children about water and its relationship to human and other natural resources in a fun and interactive atmosphere. The program vision is to:

  • Introduce students and teachers to new ideas, options and solutions so they will conserve and protect water for the future
  • Lay the foundation for further learning
  • Reach as many students and teachers as possible

The Festival has been designed specifically to introduce and explain new and unfamiliar water management tools to the present and future water users and managers. Research concerning water conservation education indicates the targeted group of the Festival, fourth grade students, is ideal for achieving long-term goals. Through sharing at home and with friends, family and extended family, the expected 1400 participants represent an ultimate audience of 10,000 to 15,000 people throughout the Festival program. Learn more here: City of Rio Rancho.