This study investigates young adults' conceptions of rivers by using drawings and interviews as a measure of their understanding of scientific concepts. The goal of our exploratory pilot study was to discover if language or culture had any obvious direct influence on people's conceptions of rivers. We gathered six volunteers from distinct linguistic and cultural backgrounds to participate in this study. Three of our participants spoke only Spanish, two were bilingual and one only spoke English. The interviews were videotaped and transcribed for analysis, and for the Spanish speaking volunteers the transcribed interviews were translated. The drawings and interviews were analyzed and categorized into the five levels of understanding identified by Dove ( 1999) and for specific content and features. In the examination of the drawings and the interviews we realized that most of the drawings were incomplete based on their answers from their interviews and that the content of the rivers were mostly perceived in a rural setting. Once the participants' interviews were assigned an understanding level, we compared and contrast one participant to another to see if we could find any differences or similarities. According to our measurement of participants' levels of understanding, only two of our participants had the highest level of understanding and the rest of the participants fell under level 3. The two with the highest level of understanding were from two different cultural backgrounds and spoke different languages. The other four were either bilingual or spoke Spanish only. Our results show no clear correlation of either level of understanding or conceptions ofriver systems with language ( or, by extension with culture) at least within this limited, exploratory subject pool. However, we did find an unexpected relationship between subjects' conceptions of rivers and whether or not they had lived in the Imperial Valley or Mexicali for the majority of their lives. Subjects who had recently relocated to this region or who had spent significant time outside of this region and who had had significant exposure to natural river systems had conceptions that were more scientifically accurate. Subjects whose experience was limited to the geographical area around El Centro and Mexicali consistently held conceptions of rivers which more closely resemble irrigation canals rather than natural rivers.