Bird Surveys Take Flight in the Watsonville Wetlands
By Bob Ramer
Black Crowned Night Heron. Photo by WWW Docent Denise Murphy
For many people, the Watsonville wetlands may be nothing more than the body of water that Highway 1 passes over just south of Watsonville. But for the staff and volunteers working with Watsonville Wetlands Watch, these complex interrelated fresh-water sloughs are the thriving ecosystem that has come under the auspices of Project Tierra, a citizen science wetland monitoring program. Project Tierra’s primary goal is to provide the scientific community with ongoing data on water quality and plant and bird populations that will inform wetland conservation and land management decisions in the Pajaro Valley.
To better understand how birds use the sloughs, Noëlle Antolin, Director of Education Programs at WWW, has been working with Bernadette and Bob Ramer and Steve Gerow to develop a protocol for surveying sites around the sloughs. Read more.
Congratulations to Wetland Stewards Class of 2012!
Wetland Stewards and staff from left: Kenneth, Victoria, Pablo, Xianjia, Samantha, Mayra, Mary, and Adrienne
at Pfeiffer Beach State park during a recent camping trip in Big Sur.
Each year Watsonville Wetlands Watch recruits six Pajaro Valley High School students, “Wetland Stewards,” to learn about the wetlands and serve as mentors to 200 students throughout the Pajaro Valley. The six who are selected for the Wetland Stewards program are taught the ecology of the sloughs and are introduced to teaching methods and tools which they then use to mentor other high-school and elementary-school students.
We wish to thank to the Wetland Steward Class of 2012 for all their hard work and dedication to educating others! Click here to read about the Stewards’ graduation projects, reception, and field trip.
A Wetland Steward’s Story that Goes Full Circle
Wetland Steward José Alanis at the 2012 Steward Graduation Ceremony
Last year, during a Wetland Stewards training session, education director Noëlle Antolin noticed that one of the pictures on the wall at the WERC resembled one of the teen interns she was training. She stopped mid-sentence to ask, “José, is that picture of the student with the binoculars you?”
Indeed it was. José’s first encounter with Watsonville Wetlands Watch was five years earlier as a 6th grader participating in the Wetland Stewards program as a student, rather than as a mentor. José remembers building owl boxes and visiting the wetlands with bird whistles.
Later, as a high school student, José was accepted into the Wetland Stewards program as a teen mentor. José was an amazing leader with his students because of his enthusiasm and
extensive knowledge of the wetlands. Even after he completed the Wetland Stewards program, he returned to volunteer for Watsonville Wetlands Watch to work with students and participate in restoration projects. Because of his hard work, demonstration of leadership,
and dedication to continue his involvement in conservation, José is this year’s recipient of the $1000 Hofmeister scholarship! He will be attending the University of California in the fall to study Environmental Science. When asked how it felt to receive this award, he said, “Awesome! I’m really grateful!” Thanks so much to Laura Hofmeister for making this scholarship possible!
Wetlands Watch Docent Joan Rose with Board member husband Lou, at the WERC
Joan and Lou Rose have been highly effective ambassadors for Watsonville Wetlands Watch over the years. To date, they have given outreach presentations to 27 local community service clubs and wetland tour groups. Their excitement and support for the organization and the wetlands is evident in every presentation.
The Rotary club of Aptos-Capitola recently gave the Roses an award and donation to support the good work the organization is doing. We wish to thank the Roses for their wonderful dedication on behalf of the Wetlands Watch!
Presentation: Weather & Climate Change, Facts and Fiction
On Thursday, July 12, Watsonville Wetlands Watch will host recently retired Cabrillo College instructor David Balogh who will talk about global weather and climate change and their local significance. David, who taught geography, meteorology, and climatology at Cabrillo for three decades, will discuss weather and the complex relationship between weather and climate.
Join us at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center for a fun and interesting presentation on a topic that greatly affects all of us, every day! From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Click for a map with directions.
Discover the Wonders of the Wetlands on a Wetlands Alive! Tour
Bald Eagles flying over the sloughs. Photo: Efren B. Adalem
People who attended our latest tour were thrilled to see a Bald Eagle. You and your family can also have a wetlands adventure by attending a fun tour of the wetlands and our Wetlands Educational Resource Center. This month’s tour dates are Saturday, July 14 and Saturday, July 28, starting at 10 a.m. Tours are free, but please call or email Kathy Fieberling, 831-345-1226, email@example.com, by Friday noon before the tour to reserve a place. Meet at the Wetlands Resource Center, at the top of the Pajaro Valley High School campus at 500 Harkins Slough Rd, Watsonville. Click for map/directions. For more information and additional dates, contact Kathy or visit our website at www.watsonvillewetlandswatch.org.
Come to our Annual Picnic!
You and your family and friends are invited to join us for an old-fashioned picnic/potluck on Saturday, August 18th from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. We will celebrate summer with good food, good friends, bird watching and a nature walk. Bring a dish or drinks to share, picnic plates, cups, flatware, etc., and a blanket or beach chair to sit on. We will provide tables for the food buffet and binoculars. The picnic site is on the Department of Fish and Game Reserve at the corner of Harkins Slough and Lee Roads. Please RSVP to Kathy Fieberling at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-345-1226.
Watsonville Wetlands Watch advocates for wetland issues, educates elementary, middle, and high school students, restores degraded habitats, preserves what remains whole, and teaches appreciation for the unique beauty and life of the Pajaro Valley wetlands. In cooperation with numerous other agencies, we support studies of and planning for these sites.