Watsonville Wetlands Watch

2014 Habitat Festival and Native Plant Sale —

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014

Celeste Espino-Martinez,
Ernesto Robles-Rocha, Alexis Rodriguez-Camacho, Emmelie Avila-Rodriguez

This event took place in 2014.

The Watsonville Wetlands Watch presents the second annual Habitat Festival and Native Plant Sale, a fun-filled day for the entire family. Buy native plants, learn about their striking benefits, and see the possibilities for creating a delightful backyard habitat in your own yard or patio. We’ll have over 1000 plants of 45 different native plant species all grown here at the WERC nursery by staff, volunteers, and students.

Plus, we'll have new expert presentations and workshops, a fun Kids Zone, food, live music, live animals, nature walks, storytelling, face painting, films, info booths, a raffle with valuable prizes, and much more. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center in Watsonville (map/directions).

Celeste Espino-Martinez,
Ernesto Robles-Rocha, Alexis Rodriguez-Camacho, Emmelie Avila-Rodriguez
Wetland Watch Restoration Specialist John Pritchard advising visitor about native plants

Schedule of Events — Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Native Plant Sale — Buy Pajaro Valley native plants that attract birds, bees, butterflies,
and bats



  • 10:15 – 11:15  a.m. Wetlands Birding Basics

    Expert birder and birding instructor Nanci Adam will teach a class on “Wetlands Birding Basics” which will highlight connections between wetlands native plants and birds that rely on them.

  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. On Beyond Compost: A new way to look at soil organic matter

    Our keynote speaker is Richard Merrill, founder and former director of the Horticulture Program at Cabrillo College,  who will talk about building a soil ecosystem that promotes plant health and water conservation.

  • 1 – 1:50 p.m The Herbal Uses of Native Plants

    Herbalist and teacher Linda Vaughn will talk about how to use native plants and herbs for medicine, cooking and health.

  • 2 – 2:50 p.m. Xeriscape Gardening: Mediterranean Mounds with a Native Touch

    Sierra Azul Nursery owner and landscape/garden designer Jeff Rosendale will cover landscape design and implementation using native and other Mediterranean plants to create naturalistic and water wise gardens.

  • 3 – 3:50 p.m. Greywater Irrigation

    Ecology Action’s Sherry Lee Bryan will talk about using household greywater for landscape irrigation.

About the Speakers

Nanci Adams is a past president of the Santa Cruz Bird Club.  She began birding as a teen in South Dakota, and she now teaches two birding classes through Watsonville-Aptos Adult Ed. Her emphasis is on non-competitive, supportive birding and an appreciation of local birds and habitats.  She leads field trips for Monterey Audubon and participates in three bird surveys in the area.  She also helps train wetlands docents and high school stewards for Watsonville Wetlands Watch.  She has birded in all fifty states and in various locales in the world.  She is currently working her way through South American birds.

Rich Merrill presenting at 2013 Habitat Festival.
Rich Merrill presenting at 2013 Habitat Festival.
Image: Efren B. Adalem. © 2013 Ooh! Look! Photography

Richard Merrill
is founder and former director of the Horticulture Program at Cabrillo College, where he taught for 30 years. He has written several magazine articles on gardening and books including The Gardener’s Table: Growing and Cooking Vegetables Naturally (TenSpeed Press); Radical Agriculture, (Harper & Row); and Energy Primer: Solar, Wind and Biofuels, (Delta).

Currently Merrill runs his own environmental consulting service, Merrill Associates. He recently co-authored (with Joe Ortiz) The Gardener’s Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking.He is now editing an anthology called The Greening of Agriculture: Creating a More Sustainable Future for our Food and Farms. Merrill spoke at The Organic Summit conference’s plenary session in Washington state in 2009.

Linda Vaughn is a registered herbalist who lectures in the community and gives herb walks and herbal classes, including retreats at Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, CA.

Jeff Rosendale and his wife Lisa own Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens in Watsonville, California. He has been part of the world of horticulture in the Bay Area and Central Coast for the past 40 years as a garden designer and nursery manager/owner specializing in Mediterranean climate and other appropriate plants for water-conserving gardens and landscapes.

Sherry Lee Bryan is a senior program specialist with Ecology Action's pollution prevention/zero waste division. Ms. Bryan is the co-chair of the Central Coast Greywater Alliance, a collaborative group of contractors, building/planning, environmental health, and water utility staff that develop community engagement programs and resources to help Central Coast residents install code compliant, functional greywater systems. Ms. Bryan is a certified irrigation auditor (Irrigation Association), is a lead instructor and coordinator of the Monterey Bay Green Gardener Certification Program, and is co-owner of the water management company California H20rticulture Services. She has spoken extensively on the subject of greywater irrigation.


  • 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. Plant Propagation Workshop, led by Prolific Propagator Bob Leonard, with Propagation Demonstration from 10:15-10:45.  After 10:45 am, stop by anytime until 11:30 am for informal demonstrations and the opportunity to propagate your own plant(s) to take home.  Children welcome.
  • Noon – 1 p.m. Tool Sharpening Workshop with tool expert from the California Conservation Corps - bring your dull tools and sharpen them with the experts.
  • 1 – 2 p.m.  Rainwater Catchment Workshop and Demonstration Learn how to capture rain water for re-use in your garden and landscaping from the experts at Scotts Valley Sprinkler.  Participants will walk through two types of rainwater catchment system demonstration sites at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center and learn about both simple and complex designs, uses for captured water, sizing of catchment systems, costs, and designing a system to meet your specific needs.
  • 2 – 3 p.m. Tool Sharpening Workshop with Sharon Hazel from the California Conservation Corps - bring your dull tools and sharpen them with the experts.

Other Activities

Herpetologist Paul Haskins with snakes
Herpetologist Paul Haskin
  • Snakes Alive with herpetologist Paul Haskins at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m.   Learn about and hold native and exotic snakes.   .
  • Nature Walks at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Take a tour of the Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area adjacent to Pajaro Valley High School.  Discover the birds, animals, native plants and importance of the Watsonville wetlands with expert tour leaders.
  • Storytelling and Crafts at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Join author and retired theater teacher Joann Leonard for a captivating telling of “How the Spider Came to Be”, with participants helping to act out the story and craft making.
  • Native Traditions with Patrick Orozco at 3 p.m.  Our special guest Patrick Orozco, the chairman of the Pajaro Valley Ohlone Indian Council, will tell stories, sing, and talk about local native traditions.

Kids Zone

Patrick OrozcoThe Kids Zone will include fun activities for children of all ages, including storytelling and crafts, baking cookies in a solar oven, making terrariums to take home, giant bubbles, face painting, garden art, and more.  Our special guest Patrick Orozco, the chairman of the Pajaro Valley Ohlone Indian Council, will tell stories, sing, and talk about local native traditions.

Why Should I Plant Native Plants?

Native plants consume much less water than the non-natives. That’s a big plus given the current water crisis we face in the Pajaro Valley. As well, native plants are the foundation for a rich diversity of animal life. For example, native plants support a much wider array of insect species, and these insect species in turn support a greater variety of animals.

Native plants make a great foundation for a backyard habitat you can create at your own home. Choosing the right native plants means your yard can attract butterflies, birds, and other fauna. You can enjoy a patch of healthy nature and, at the same time, conserve water and help maintain the diversity of our animal population.

All proceeds from the Pajaro Valley Native Plant and Backyard Habitat Festival go directly to support the Watsonville Wetlands Watch — a 501(c)(3)  non-profit organization serving the community of the Pajaro Valley since 1992.

donate button

Get E-Newsletter

Share |
Search Only Watsonville
Wetlands Watch
California Wild Rose. Image: Copyright Curtis Clark  ©  Curtis Clark. Sambucus mexicana fruits, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sambucus_mexicana_fruits_2003-07-09.jpg Achillea millefolium. Yarrow. Image: H. Zell. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Achillea_millefolium_003.JPG. Western goldenrod. Euthamia occidentalis. Some rights reserved by Eric Hunt. http://www.flickr.com/photos/stonebird/2888072458/sizes/o/in/photostream/