Helping children understand and value our natural world
A generation of children who value the natural world and take an active role in its protection
Everything Splash does is guided by its mission, in relentless pursuit of its vision.
Sacramento Splash is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping local children understand and value their natural world through science education and outdoor exploration. We believe that all children deserve the opportunity to learn and play in nature. We offer a variety of environmental science programs designed to introduce Sacramento area kids to the wonders of science by teaching them about local habitats. Whether you are a teacher looking to make science relevant for your students or a parent looking for a fun weekend activity, Splash has lots to offer!
Splashers share these values and beliefs:
We are united by a deep respect and love of nature and believe that access to nature is the birthright of every child.
We think education is good and valuable in its own right and that science is best learned through hands-on exploration.
We believe that educating and empowering children is the key to social change. This is a long-term investment and we perceive our work to be ‘planting seeds’ that may sprout years or even decades in the future.
We focus on local habitats because that is where citizens can make the greatest impact.
We believe every child should have the chance to discover his/her personal passion. We give children the opportunity to explore the world around them and perhaps discover a scientist within.
We believe that children are capable of great things and we stand ready to facilitate that greatness.
We believe in the power of grassroots organizing. We agree with Margaret Mead “that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
We value pragmatism above ideology. We recognize that the natural world faces complex problems that require creative solutions.
We realize that some people do not share our values but that does not make them bad or wrong. We work to build bridges and find common ground.
Common sense and a growing body of scientific evidence suggest
that time spent in nature is essential to the healthy development
of children. Studies have shown that children who spend time
playing and learning in nature tend to be healthier, less
anxious, better able to cope with adversity, and more cooperative
than children who spend most of their free time indoors, focused
on television or video games.
When surveyed, the vast majority of parents say they wish their
children spent more time playing outside, but it can be hard to
get kids into nature these days. Most of us live in urban areas
where there is more pavement than grass, more street lights than
Even if we are lucky enough to live near a natural area, gone are
the days when we could shoo our children out the door, telling
them not to return until the streetlights come on. The world has
changed, but Splash is here to ensure that today’s children can
still experience the wonder of nature exploration.
Based at Mather Field, an island of open space less than 20
minutes from downtown Sacramento, Splash offers a safe way for
kids to enter nature’s outdoor classroom. At Splash, kids can
learn about the world around them, spend time with caring adults,
find out about careers in science, and learn how to take care of
The future health of our environment demands that we raise a
generation of children who are willing and able to protect it. At
Splash we believe that people value what they understand and they
protect what they value. With this in mind, Splash has integrated
science education, child development, and environmental
stewardship into programming that is fun and engaging for kids.
For more about how Splash benefits children, their families, and
our environment, please view the pages below.
The Splash program began in February 1999 to fulfill two needs.
One was the need of a consortium of water agencies to build
awareness of Sacramento’s water resources and the public’s role
in their protection. The other was the desire of Eva Butler, a
local biologist, to encourage science education by introducing
children to vernal pools and streams. Splash emerged from their
common belief that nature inspires learning, and informed kids
can help protect water and habitat.
In 1997, Eva began volunteering at Crocker Riverside Elementary
to share the magic of vernal pools with her friend’s class of
fifth graders. With funding from the consortium, a small team of
local scientists and educators assembled to create two curricula
to meet the complementary objectives of science education and
water resource protection.
While the Splash classroom programs offer thousands of students a
once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience nature in our urban
environment, we believe that kids deserve multiple opportunities
to discover, explore, and connect to the living world around
Our series of public programs give children and their parents
opportunities to explore the wildlands at Mather Field
with local scientists who love sharing what they know about
life in the great outdoors. These experiences at Splash can open
eyes, warm hearts, and expand minds to possibilities for future
Sacramento Splash is blessed with an enthusiastic and creative
team of educators. Some are professional scientists, while others
are former classroom teachers, but they are all united by a
passion for sharing the wonders of nature with children and their
The Splash Education Center is a private facility that houses
Sacramento Splash. The building is centrally located at Mather
Field, facilitating exploration of more than 1,000 acres of
high-quality vernal pool grasslands that surround it.
The Center hosts class trips for schools that participate in the
Elementary Program. It also serves as a meeting facility for
organizations working on issues related to science education,
natural resource conservation, watershed management, and
connecting youth to the outdoors.
The facility is open to the public for events such as Splash’s annual Celebration of
Vernal Pools event and Vernal Pool Public Toursled by