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News from Watsonville Wetlands Watch
February 2010
World Wetlands Day
Docent Training Begins Feb. 24th
Intro to Birding Class
PVHS Student in Antarctica
Molly Underwood Joins WWW Staff.
WWW Staff Provides Educational Opportunities
WERC Greenhouse
Frog Breeding on SCLT Properties
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 February 2nd Is World Wetlands Day

White Pelicans in Local Wetlands
This year we will celebrate World Wetlands Day at the Wetlands Nature Center in Ramsay Park on Saturday, February 6th, from 9 a.m. to noon, with a nature walk to take place at 1:30 p.m. Jonathan Pilch, Restoration Director, and John Moreno, Trails Restoration Specialist, will be leading a restoration project. There will be an arts and crafts table, litter clean up, and other activities in the Nature Center at 1255 Main Street, Watsonville. Map. Learn more about World Wetlands Day.
Docent Training Begins Feb. 24th  
Docent working with Watsonville Student
Want to learn more about the wetlands? Like to work with kids? Or help with restoration or special events? Then don't miss WWW Docent Training starting on Feb. 24th. Shown at right is Pam Harris helping a Wetland Steward middle school student build a paper maché water insect model as part of an after school aquatic invertebrate study. Details.
Birding Basics Starts Up 

Great Blue Heron with sculpin in bill
This fun and fascinating class began on January 12th and is an introduction to many of the amazing birds here in our own community. Using digital slides and bird song recordings, students learn the basics of birding in a supportive environment. If you happened to miss the first class, another series begins on March 23rd. For more information, click here.

Photo by permission of Mike Yip, Vancouver Island Birds. ©Mike Yip.

WWW High School Student Docent
Goes to Antarctica

Students in Antarctic
Sandra Lobato, bottom photo, was one of 65 students, ages 14-19, who participated in Students on Ice, Antarctic Expedition in December 2009. The ship-based journey began in Ushuaia, Argentina and  traversed through the Drake Passage to arrive at destinations like the South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as the Petermann, Pleneau and Goudier Islands.  Students were accompanied by a team of 25 scientists, polar experts, educators, artists, leaders, writers, innovators and environmentalists.
Sandra Lobato
The goal of the Students on Ice program is “for students to experience a transformative connection with nature — a connection that changes the way they understand and act in this world.” This is accomplished utilizing experiential and problem-based teaching strategies. To read the student daily journals including Sandra’s, click here.
Molly Underwood Joins WWW Staff

Molly Underwood
The Watch is pleased to welcome Molly to our staff as our new Environmental Education Specialist. Molly leads the Wetland Stewards After School Program for middle and high school students and coordinates the elementary school Cycles of Restoration Program.

Molly graduated from Middlebury College in 2005, with a double degree in Biology and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology. Since then she has worked as a Sea Grant Marine Education intern for the University of Georgia, as an Outdoor Science Teacher for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, as a Lead Teacher for the San Francisco Zoo’s 2007 summer camp, and then as the Youth Program Coordinator and Lead Teacher and Coordinator for the Marine Science Discovery Program at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito for two years.

While at the center, she restructured the entire youth program and increased the number of youth volunteers from 15 to 85. She also received extensive training in evaluation and curriculum development while working under a NOAA B-WET grant for the Marine Science Discovery Program. While assisting Noëlle with educational activities, she is also pursuing an M.S. in Science Education.

WWW Staff Provides Educational Opportunities

One of our Wetland Stewards doing field work

Jonathan Pilch and Mary Paul will be teaching PVHS Advanced Placement Environmental Science students about wetland restoration and lead them through a group planting day on February 18th.

In partnership with UCSC’s Shennan Labs, WWW staff will lead all the PVHS chemistry classes in water quality testing activities at Hanson Slough on February 23rd, 25th, and 26th. We hope to see some future environmental scientists among them!
Noëlle Antolin, Education Director, has been working with a group of PVHS WATCH (Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats) students to research what aquatic invertebrates tell us about wetland water quality as part of Project Tierra. Students are creating posters and will be presenting them in March.

Students at outdoor chemistry workbench

WERC Greenhouse
Students working in greenhouse
The WERC Nursery is in production. Thousands of plants have been grown from locally collected seed stock and will be planted out in the coming months, and we have continued to maintain and utilize the Amesti Elementary greenhouse. We are also continuing the Project Workability job training program for Pajaro Valley High School students, who are paid through Santa Cruz County to work in the nursery once a week. Docents are contributing to nursery propagation and their assistance is greatly appreciated.
Frog Breeding on SCLT Properties
California Red-Legged Frog

We have begun the California Red Legged Frog Breeding Pond Enhancement Project on the Harkins Slough Unit of the Santa Cruz Land Trust properties. The project is funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service with matching funds from the Santa Cruz Land Trust. In hopes of encouraging frog breeding, the project will decommission a farm road and create an acre of new habitat surrounding the pond. This is the only known breeding pond for this frog in the sloughs. Planting of native plants in the area began in January.

Photo: California red-legged frog. Photo by Chris Brown. Public domain. Source.

Would You Like to Support Our Work ...
to protect, restore, and foster appreciation
of the wetlands?

Students doing restoration work in field
You can contribute online by going to our website; or send a donation in the mail to WWW, P.O. Box 1239, Freedom, CA 95019. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules for non-profit organizations and are greatly appreciated.
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.