Regional San & Sacramento Splash introduce Project AWE, a hands-on educational experience for students

Press Release
Regional San & Sacramento Splash introduce Project AWE, a hands-on educational experience for students

Sacramento, Calif. – The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) in partnership with Sacramento Splash (Splash) has opened the doors of the historic Nicolaus Dairy to students throughout the Sacramento region. Following extensive renovations to much of the property, the Nicolaus Dairy is now home to Project AWE, the Sacramento region’s latest immersive educational experience offering hands-on field trip experiences in the areas of Agriculture, Water, Energy, and the Environment (AWE).

“After piloting the Project AWE curriculum with elementary classes and youth programs in Elk Grove, we are excited to invite students from throughout the Sacramento region to experience Project AWE and the Nicolaus Dairy,” said Christoph Dobson, Regional San’s General Manager. “The Splash team has helped us breathe new life into the historic property by administering a unique learning experience that highlights the importance of environmental stewardship and understanding where our food comes from.”

Project AWE preserves local history for the community, while promoting sustainable practices and environmental stewardship through grade-level specific education programs focused on next generation science standards.

Nicolaus Dairy History + Activities:

  • German immigrant John Henry Nicolaus purchased 500 acres of land in the Sacramento Valley in 1890, where he and his wife, Lena, established the dairy and raised their eight children.
  • The family continued to own and operate the dairy until 1980, when Regional San purchased the property as part of its 2600-acre Bufferlands that surrounds the regional wastewater treatment plant.
  • Recently, the Regional San Board of Directors decided to restore the property to its post-WWII appearance and offer community educational opportunities.
  • Project AWE began as a collaboration between Regional San, Splash, and the Elk Grove Unified School District, designed to provide age-appropriate educational curricula in area classrooms and immersive learning experiences at the Nicolaus Dairy.
  • Learn more on the Nicolaus Dairy Fact Sheet here.

Mackenzie Wieser, Chief Executive Officer of Splash, said the aim of the Project AWE program and the Nicolaus Dairy field trip experience is to help students connect the dots between what they learn in the classroom and what they experience at home.

“Young people today have a lot of experience with digital technology, but not as much experience with the physical realities that shaped the lives of those before them,” said Wieser. “It’s well worth our time to give them a more complete understanding of what it’s like to live and work on a farm, in a format that supports classroom curricula and educational standards with hands-on experience.”

Learn more about the hands-on opportunities available for students in the Project AWE video news release here.

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About Regional San

Regional San owns and operates the regional wastewater conveyance system and the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is located near Elk Grove, California. We provide wastewater conveyance, treatment and disposal service to about 1.6 million people throughout the Sacramento region, and our treatment plant is the largest wastewater treatment plant of its kind west of the Mississippi River. Learn more at

About Sacramento Splash

Splash is an environmental education, non-profit organization dedicated to helping local children understand and value our natural world through hands-on science education and outdoor exploration. Learn more at

About Project AWE

Project AWE is a collaborative effort the offers robust educational opportunities at the historic Nicolaus Dairy, owned by Regional San and located at the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant near Elk Grove. Project AWE curricula is focused on the history of California dairies and farming in balance with nature. Learn more at

CONTACT: Paige Bedegrew, Public Information Manager
(916) 204-5864 (cell) or (916) 875-1442 (office)


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