Come experience the Petaluma Watershed for yourself on one of our tours, kayak trips or through programming at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center. Our Sunset Wine & Cheese tours are a great way to relax as you meander down the River on our 17-foot cruising barge with our knowledgeable River docents. Or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, come explore the Watershed on your own steam by checking out one of our fleet of canoes, kayaks and row boats during our free Boating at the Barn program every Sunday from 10am to 1pm.


Looking for a way to spend some quality time with the family, learn about local history or just connect with nature? Friends offers unique hands-on programming at the River Heritage Center to engage the community on the River. Our Green Heron Nature Camp for 6-12 year olds builds nature awareness through outdoor exploration and meaningful play. Our individual and family programming at the DYRHC includes workshops on boat-building, marsh medicinals, wilderness survival, nature awareness and more.




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!




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.

Beginning in 2014, public educators throughout Petaluma will began to implement the new California Common Core Curriculum Standards. Friends of the Petaluma River, along with a host of other community organizations, is committed to supporting Petaluma educators and the implementation of new Common Core curriculum that focuses on our community’s most important natural resource, the Petaluma River and Watershed.

The Watershed Classroom is designed to support the implementation of exceptionally engaging curriculum about the Petaluma River and Watershed with the goal of inspiring youth, improving local education, and conserving and celebrating our local environment. Participating educators will receive a $500 stipend to use to design and implement their new curriculum.

To date over 1700 students have learned about the Petaluma Watershed in Petaluma City Schools through this program in subjects like Environmental Sciences, History, Geography, Art, Biology and more. Visit our website, to learn more about current projects and teacher resources.

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





This exciting nature awareness program connects children to the Petaluma River Watershed through hands-on learning and exploration. Through these experiences youth will learn habitat ecology, flora and fauna of the tidal marsh, and how to interact with wildlife in a healthy way. 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.

Our camps foster enthusiasm and stewardship of the River by establishing a connection to nature through meaningful outdoor play and experiential learning. This camp is tailored to activities that will engage youth in their curiosity and knowledge of place.

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.

Tuition:  $250/wk

$300/wk 5

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

Monday through Friday 9:00AM – 3:00PM

2017 Camps Are Over – Thank You to Campers and their Families for a Wonderful Summer on the Petaluma River!



Sign up today for our 2017-18 Session!


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.

This program is run at Open Field Farms outside of Petaluma. Program hours are 9am to 3pm once a month.

2017-18 Session: October 14th, November 11th, December 9th, January 13th, February 10th, March 10th, April 14th

Register your child HERE.

Tuition: $395.00


Elderberry Blossoms supports young girls 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 8 month 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 gather over the Winter and Spring months exploring the Watershed; hiking, navigating the River via paddle boats, making herbal medicine and culinary creations, creating primitive fire including cooking over the fire, wildcrafting with both edible and medicinal plants, basic rope making, sewing and more.

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

This is a 8-month program for girls 9 to 12 years of age. Camp takes place one Saturday each month. Participation in all dates is not required but is highly recommended as lessons and skills build throughout the immersion program. Hours are 9am to 3pm each day.

Camp Dates: October 14th, November 11th, December 9th, January 13th, February 10th, March 10th, April 14th / Optional Camp out: May 19th – 20th

Tuition: $395.00 / Camp out: $85.00




Based in practices of nature connection, Badger Tracks will work with young boys 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,. We will end in the Spring with an overnight camp out and celebration.

This is a 8-month program for 9 to 12 year olds. Camp takes place one Saturday each month. Participation in all dates is not required but is highly recommended as lessons and skills build throughout the immersion program. Hours are 9am to 3pm each day.

Camp Dates:  October 14th, November 11th, December 9th, January 13th, February 10th, March 10th, April 7th / Optional Camp out: May 19th – 20th

Tuition: $395.00 / Camp out: $85.00




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!


BOAT BUILDING 2016 Flyer_1What better way to experience the Petaluma River’s history, habitat and beauty than from your very own boat! Friends invites you to come and learn about boat building in one of our Boat Building Workshops at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center. Whether you are a beginner or you already possess wood-working skills, we are working to craft a boat building experience just for you!


Boat Building Workshop: Beginning Techniques for Basic Boat Designs
Students will learn about basic boat building with simply designed canoes. This workshop will go over beginning tool use, basic mechanics of boat building, and elemental design. Students get hands-on experience while building an actual boat. Groups have the option to take the boat they build home with them. This workshop is recommended for adults and children 8+. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m

Cost: Adult $45.00; Youth $35.00

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