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Creating Memorable Experiences Around Water

Whether you come to a River Talk, hear from our staff at a volunteer event, or have the Cumberland River Compact in your classroom, we want you to leave being able to share something new and exciting with someone you know as well as leave with the skills to make positive change.


Explore science lessons designed to connect your students to Tennessee’s environment. Standards-aligned lessons are available for grades K-12 and are free for educators.

View Lesson Plans

Youth & School Programs

Creek Critters

Creek Critters is an interactive, environmental education program for youth, where we bring the creek to you! The goal of our Creek Critters program is to get kids interested in science and in our precious water resources at a young age.

Creek Critters teaches students what lives in their creek and empowers them to take action to protect their environment! The program is aligned to 4th Grade science standards but can be adapted for other grades.

In the Creek Critters program, we arrange to visit a local school (churches or community groups are also welcome to host if interested) and teach 3-4 classes about local waters and aquatic organisms. The program is open to all schools on a first-come, first-served basis.

Learn More and Request a Program

Experiential Education Programs

Bring the Cumberland River Compact to you through an in-person program. Our experiential education programs create memorable experiences through hands-on activities led by our enthusiastic educators. Programs focus on watersheds, the water cycle, pollution, biodiversity, and more, and are available for K-12. Programs are aligned to Tennessee State Science Standards with details available on our request page. 

Learn More and Request a Program

Virtual Classroom Programs

We offer virtual programs that bring place-based environmental education straight to your classroom! Programs options include Creek Critters, What’s Up with Water Pollution, Get to Know Trees, and Career Chats. Our virtual programs align with Tennessee State Science Standards and are open to schools across Tennessee.

Learn More and Request a Program

Family Engagement Programs

We offer in-person or virtual family programs for your school, community organization, or homeschool group. During these programs, we will facilitate a suite of activities to explore the natural world through demonstrations. Contact us through the form below to learn more.

Nashville Youth Climate Summit

The Nashville Youth Climate Summit is a participant-driven educational event coordinated by and for youth to create an opportunity for learning, dialogue, and action on climate change. The Cumberland River Compact partners with the Mayor’s Youth Council at the Oasis Center for an annual Youth Climate Summit.

Learn More About the Summit

Life Support

Preferred Grade: 4th-12th

In partnership with the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts, the Cumberland River Compact put together the “Life Support Curriculum” for students in grades 4-12. This free curriculum features easy-to-understand text, illustrations, puzzles, and lab activities to help students explore the water cycle, watersheds, and the work people do to provide clean water. The booklets are great for classroom teachers, non-formal educators, and home school groups.

Download the Curriculum Here: Teacher Edition

Download the Curriculum Here: Student Edition

Cumberland River Curriculum

The Cumberland River Curriculum explores the river through art, science, and historical perspectives. The curriculum is supported by the Henry Laird Smith Family Foundation for the Harpeth Hall Winterim. Through the 3-week course, students learn the value of water, the importance of the Cumberland River through time, the ways art can be used to advocate for environmental changes, and the innovative solutions for water quality that can be applied to their school campus. The experience is specially designed for Harpeth Hall’s Winterim, but aspects can be modified for high school classes. Fill out the form below if you’d like to learn more about hosting a school program.

Our Youth Education programs are supported by the Henry Laird Smith Family Foundation, Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation, CAT Financial, Piedmont Natural Gas, the Nashville Predators Foundation, and Colonial Pipeline.

If you have more questions about our programs, please fill out the form below.

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River Talks

In April of 2014, Cumberland River Compact began hosting River Talks: An Educational Series at the Cumberland River Compact’s River Center. River Talks feature a variety of educational talks and are broken down into five series: History of the Cumberland, Natural World of the Cumberland, Travelers on the Cumberland, Spirits on the Cumberland, and Innovations and Solutions for the Cumberland. These events bring experts, artists, researchers, professionals, and characters of the river together to share their knowledge and experience. All events are free and open to the public. Don’t forget to reserve or bring a lunch!

Stream the Latest Episode

More Talks

Send us your feedback, questions, and future topic suggestions by emailing us at or leaving us a voice message at 615.933.8837

We look forward to being with our River Talks community once again!


Join your fellow local businesses, civic groups, watershed associations, churches, schools, scouts, and others in adopting a local waterway in the Cumberland River Basin!

Learn how to adopt a stream

Nashville Waterways Consortium

Through educational opportunities, outreach events, public awareness, these five Middle Tennessee non-profits work to enhance the overall health of our water.

Learn about Nashville Waterways Consortium

City Nature Challenge

Biodiversity is everywhere, even in thriving urban areas like Nashville. Join us each Spring for the Nashville City Nature Challenge as we compete with cities all around the globe to show our city’s wonderfully diverse urban wildlife! We need YOU to be a citizen scientist and document the wildlife you see in your backyard, schoolyard, or local park. During the Nashville City Nature Challenge, snap a photo and upload your wildlife observations to iNaturalist. You will be helping us understand what plants and animals call Nashville home.

Want to check out observations from previous challenges? Check out the project pages below:

City Nature Challenge 2020

City Nature Challenge 2019 City Nature Challenge 2018 City Nature Challenge 2017