Docents Benefit the Growing
Wetland Stewards Program
New docent Bill Adams and veteran docent Elissa Wagner work with students planting native plants
The popular Wetland Stewards program has grown significantly this school year. With our twelve high school Wetland Stewards interns, up from the nine interns last year and six interns in years past, we are able to serve four new schools this year and are conducting dozens more field trips. Docents play a key role in the success of this program by acting as mentors to the high school interns, who in turn mentor and teach the younger students.
To support this large number of field trips, there has been a real need to add to our existing cadre of stellar veteran docents. We are very pleased that the recent graduates of our Docent Training Program have stepped up enthusiastically to help. New docents start out by shadowing veteran docents and at this point many are moving into full docent roles. The new docents have helped students plant native plants around the Wetlands Educational Resource Center in an effort to build habitat and beautify the campus (see above photo), lead water quality and food web stations in the field with our Wetland Stewards, and this month a handful will dive deeper into water quality with high school chemistry classes as part of our Project Tierra Citizen Science program.
Thank you to our docents, new and veteran, for “stepping back” and supporting the high school mentors while they lead activities on their own this quarter. Sometimes it takes a bit of a push out of the nest to empower the next generation of environmental leaders to lead!
Presentation: Trailing Penguins in Patagonia
Penguin parent and chick. Photo by Nanci Adams.
On Tuesday, May 10, join birder extraordinaire and Watsonville Adult Education Birding Instructor Nanci Adams as she talks about her recent trip to Argentina where, as a volunteer for Earthwatch Institute, she participated in a penguin research program. She will describe her December adventures with the little guys in tuxedos, a.k.a. Magellanic Penguins, in a Patagonian penguin colony. Learn why you never stand directly behind a penguin in the wild, as well as other useful tips.
Join us for a special birding tour on Saturday, May 14th, as we celebrate one of the most magnificent wonders of the world — global bird migrations — on International Migratory Bird Day. We’ll explore the wildlife and beauty of the Watsonville wetlands, home and important migration stop-over site for over 250 species of birds. We are offering two tours, each led by local birding experts. The tours are free but you must register in advance. To register for the 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. tour, click here, and to register for the 10 a.m. to noon tour, click here.
Additionally, fun family festivities, including bird-related games and art activities, will be offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wetlands of Watsonville Nature Center, 30 Harkins Slough Road, Watsonville.
To learn more about International Migratory Bird Day, click here.
In honor of International Migratory Bird Day, writer, birder and new docent Shantanu Phukan has written an article about the complexities of bird migration.
The Robin is the state bird of Michigan— but not if patriotic Michiganders had it their way. As the state legislature was selecting its official bird some legislators argued that the Robin was a mere “snowbird” — appearing only in the summer. Such “infidelty,” they argued, should not be rewarded. It was instead the resident Chickadee that deserved the accolade, for it stuck by Michigan — rain, shine, or sleet.
Quaint as it now appears, the debate illustrates one common assumption — that our birds divide neatly into residents and migrants, with the migrants breeding ‘with us’ in our backyards, before dispersing to their wintering grounds in Central America. The reality, we are discovering, is more complex.
Many Hooded Orioles — summer breeders commonly found in the Watsonville sloughs, nesting in riparian areas and gardens, and especially where there are ornamental palms throughout California — migrate north to breed here in late March, and mostly disappear by the end of July. But where do they go? Not, as it turns out, to their wintering ranges. Instead, many Orioles migrate to a middle locale on the Western coast of Mexico — to the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, and southern Baja. And they appear there not merely as birds of passage, but to raise a second brood before moving even further south to spend the winter. In other words, instead of living their lives neatly — and disloyally — in two places, they inhabit three distinct regions. The unfaithful migrant just got really unfaithful. Click here to read the entire article.
Herbal Uses of Local Plants Tour
On Saturday, June 11, join herbalist Linda Vaughn and native plant expert Laura Kummerer as they take you on a walk to discover the medicinal and other qualities of native and non-native plants that grow in the wetlands. The walk is from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and starts at the gate to the Department of Fish and Wildlife Reserve at the corner of Lee Road and Harkins Slough Road in Watsonville. Expect to walk up to one mile on uneven terrain.
Admission is free but you must reserve a space online by clicking here. For more information, contact Kathy Fieberling at 831-345-1226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1% for Good Program
West Struve Slough
The Watsonville Wetlands Watch is the fortunate recipient of the Sereno Group’s 1% Program, in which the Sereno Group has pledged to give 1% of their gross commissions for a 90-day period to a charitable or community-minded group committed to making a positive difference in the communities they serve. This contribution will have a lasting impact on the Watch’s ability to bring meaningful change and improvement to our wetlands. Click to view the Sereno Group’s ad on behalf of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch. Thank you, Sereno Group!
Celebrate American Wetlands Month
American White Pelicans. Photo by Jeff Bleam
The month of May was designated as American Wetlands Month in 1991 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in an unprecedented partnership with federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit, and private sector organizations to celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to our Nation’s ecological, economic, and social health.
Please join the Watsonville Wetlands Watch as we teach others about the important role that wetlands play in our environment and the significant benefits they provide. Your gift supports us in critical wetlands restoration and educating our community about the beautiful wetlands we have right here and across the world. Please consider making a donation today. Thank you!
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.