Come experience the Petaluma Watershed for yourself through Friends’ unique, hands-on programming connecting the community to our River. Discover the River on your own steam in one of our kayaks during free Boating at the Barn or participate in one of our on-going activities at Steamer Landing Park like our Nature Camps and Stewardship Days.  Our programming at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center offers great ways to spend some quality time with the family, learn about local history or just connect with nature. Read on for descriptions and registration links for our programs.



Sunday’s Boating at the Barn program is entering its third year shepherded by stellar volunteer Eve O’Rouke. Eve and crew are at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center every Sunday from 10am to 1pm checking out boats to the community. Our growing fleet includes rowboats, canoes, kayaks and a sailboat, all of which can be checked out for free by the public after a short safety demonstration. Come explore the Petaluma River and Watershed for yourself!

*Please check the tides before going to the barn. Due to the lack of dredging in the River, when the tide is beneath 2ft, we cannot go out. Current closures include: May 5, May 19, June 9, June 23, July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 18, Sept. 1

Days with amended hours due to tides:

Closing early 12/12:30 – May 12, May 26,

Late Opening 11am – June 2, June 16, Sept. 15 (Program will run from 11-2pm on these days)


IMG_4164Friends of the Petaluma River believes that educators are our community’s most important resource. By teaching Petaluma’s youth, our teachers are guiding future generations of Petalumans whose decisions will determine the health and vitality of our wetlands and other natural resources.

Friends of the Petaluma River is committed to supporting Petaluma educators and the implementation of curriculum that focuses on our community’s most important natural resource, the Petaluma River and Watershed. Participating educators will receive a $500 stipend to use to design and implement their new curriculum.

To date over 3000 students from 13 different schools have learned about the Petaluma Watershed through this program. Visit our website, to learn more about current projects, teacher resources or to sign up to participate.

Contact Stephanie Bastianon at (707) 763-7756 or [email protected] for more information.



This exciting nature awareness program connects children to the Petaluma River Watershed through hands-on learning and exploration. Activities for camp include naturalist games, primitive skills, canoeing, crafts, bird watching, identifying wild edibles and fresh farm food crafting. We will explore the River by boat experiencing the hidden treasures of the River.

We keep our camp sizes small so we can focus on each individual camper and ensure the best possible experience and connection with the Petaluma River. We currently have a 4:1 ratio of campers to staff.

For more information please contact Stephanie Bastianon at [email protected], or call (707) 763-7756.

WINTER CAMP UPDATE: We are excited to offer our first Winter Camp for winter 2019-20. This will be just like our summer camp but with more time for crafts and an emphasis on winter activities like candle-making, fire by friction, cooking by the fire and felting wool. We will also spend some time looking at the changes that are taking place in the Watershed as we move into Winter.



Dates: Dec. 30th – Jan. 3rd (No camp on Wednesday, Jan. 1st)

Tuition:  $200/wk (sorry we cannot pro-rate if you miss dates)

Camp meets each morning at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center @ Steamer Landing Park.

Monday through Friday 9:00AM – 3:00PM (except Wednesday)


Want to support ongoing stewardship of the Petaluma Watershed? Adopt a creek! Businesses, schools/classrooms,  community groups and individuals that want to make a difference in their community creeks, can directly benefit a local creek. With support from Friends, Adopters help remove trash and monitor conditions in their Creek. Adopters will be recognized at the creek site, on the Friends’ website and through social media marketing. Commitments are a year in length. Creek sections are approximately 1 – .5 mile in length.

Sign up today to adopt a creek and we’ll work with you to create a plan that fits your team’s needs. Be a part of the solution to River pollution – Adopt a creek!

There are 3 ways to participate:

  • Sponsor a Creek – sponsors fund cleanup activities at their creek and receive recognition for their support at the creek, on Friends’ website and through our social media channels
  • Adopter – adopters volunteer in groups to provide cleanup, restoration, and monitoring at their creek site. Adopters are also recognized on our website and at the creek.
  • Sponsor/Adopter – fund a creek site and volunteer to steward it!


Sign up today for our 2019-20 Session!

This is a 8-month program to immerse youth in nature, allowing them to gain skills and comfort in the outdoors. Camp takes place one Saturday each month at Open Field Farm.  Lessons and skills build throughout the immersion program growing participants’ knowledge and understanding. Hours are 9am to 3pm each day.

We will end in the Spring with an overnight camp out and celebration.

Camp Dates: October 12th, November 9th, December 14th, January 11th, February 8th, March 14th, April 11th, May 9th / Camp out: May 9th – 10th (Camp out for Badger Tracks and Elderberry Blossoms only)

Tuition: Badger Tracks & Elderberry Blossoms – $475.00 / Fox Kits – $400.00


IMG_8430Fox Kits gives boys and girls ages 6 – 8 a chance to immerse themselves in the natural world of the Petaluma Watershed. At this age children are still discovering their environment. Fox Kits seeks to strengthen this connection and create a sense of comfort in young people out in nature. By engaging youth in meaningful play, exploring the watershed and letting our imaginations be wild we will foster a sense of place and an appreciation for nature.



Elderberry Blossoms supports young girls ages 9-12 and 13-16 in developing strong and healthy relationships with themselves, their peers and nature.  In a time of transition into adolescence Elderberries provides a foundation allowing for a deepening in their connections to the Earth, their skills, capabilities and inherent sense of awe and wonder.  We will help to foster these connections through our time out in nature immersed in the practices of earth skills in the Petaluma River Watershed.  Through the course of this program girls will have the opportunity to grow deeper into themselves as blossoming individuals, including growth in their self esteem and self confidence.  We will explore the Watershed; hiking, navigating the River via paddle boats, making herbal medicine and culinary creations, creating primitive fire including cooking over the fire, wild-crafting with both edible and medicinal plants, basic rope making, sewing and more.



Based in practices of nature connection, Badger Tracks will work with young boys, ages 9-12, transitioning toward adolescence to build deeper and resilient relationships with themselves, others, and the natural communities around them. Over the course of the spring and winter, youth and mentors will meet monthly to immerse ourselves in the natural communities of the Petaluma River Watershed, engaging in practices aimed toward greater awareness of and connection to this place and to ourselves in it. These practices will include animal tracking, wild-crafting, earth-based skills, learning to work with wild edible and medicinal plants, and more.

We will work together in developing healthy peer to peer and mentoring relationships.



417513_311148592267085_946952769_nDoes your business want to help protect and conserve the Petaluma River? The Petaluma River isn’t only a place to recreate and enjoy nature, it is also a working River. It was estimated by the Petaluma Downtown Association that the Petaluma River brings over 1.3 million to the local economy annually. We want to give local businesses the opportunity to tell their customers that they support a healthy and vital Petaluma River.

Our River Friendly Business program has two tracks, one for small businesses and one for larger businesses (those with over 25 employees). Download information for small businesses HERE or large businesses HERE.

Our dual marketing strategy will let  your customers and our supporters know that your business is committed to celebrating and conserving the local environment.

Sign your business up today by clicking HERE

Call (707) 763-7756 or email [email protected] for more information.