Struve Slough is a superb venue for an interpretive walk on birding, as the 2013 class of Docents-in-Training discovered on a bright Saturday morning in early February. Since veteran birder Bob Ramer lugged along his own spotting scope and shared his considerable expertise with the group, our three-hour visit flew by. So did kestrels and kingfishers.
Cindy Scott, an Environmental Educator from the Wetlands of Watsonville Nature Center, led nineteen of us around the pathway from Ohlone Parkway to Struve Slough, where we came to grips with borrowed binoculars and were able to spot, or at least to hear the distinctive calls, of some 55 different species of bird. Read more.
Celebrate Earth Day with
Wetlands Alive! Tour
Like our new docent class, you can discover the rich birdlife of the wetlands on a Wetlands Alive! Tour. We kick off our 2013 season with a tour on Saturday, April 13, just in time for Earth Day. Bring your friends and join us on a fun, family-oriented tour of the wetlands and our Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions).
Additional tour dates are on Saturdays, April 27, May 11, and May 25, starting at 10 a.m. Tours are free, but please contact Kathy Fieberling, firstname.lastname@example.org, 831-345-1226, by Friday noon before the tour to reserve a place. For more information, click here.
Speaker Series —
The Importance of Bats
Pallid bat, native to western US
Photo: Ralph Schardt
Bats are important pollinators, pest controllers, and seed distributors, and their populations are threatened. On Thursday, March 21, the Watch is hosting bat rehabilitator and educator Monique Lee who will talk about bats and how they are beneficial to the environment worldwide. Monique will cover the natural history of bats, including reproduction, habitats and behavior, and will talk about bat conservation. She will bring live California native bats for viewing and discussion.
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Fitz Educational Resource Center, at the top of the Pajaro Valley High School campus in Watsonville. Map/directions.
Our weekend Open House is moving to Saturdays. The Open Houses were being held on Sundays during the El Mercado Popular flea market, but the El Mercado flea market has recently moved to a bigger space at the Fairgrounds on Sundays. We are continuing our bilingual outreach by moving our Open House to take advantage of the Saturday Community Market at the High School.
When Watsonville Wetlands Watch first caught wind of the proposed flea market at Pajaro Valley High School in 2011, we were a little nervous about the impact it would have on the ESHAs (Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas) surrounding the high school. Now that they have left, we are sad to see them go! Since November of 2011, WWW has held Open Houses at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (WERC) every other Sunday during El Mercado Popular. Between the hours of 12 and 3 p.m. visitors of the market have stopped by to explore the wetlands through our exhibits and various activities. Over 1300 visitors walked through our doors from July 2012 through this January alone! We are pleased that through our Open Houses many more community members, particularly children, are aware of the importance the Watsonville Wetlands.
World Wetlands Day Grows at
Pajaro Valley High School
Wetland Stewards with costumes at photo booth
On February 1st, 2013, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the Wetland Stewards interns partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH) to celebrate World Wetlands Day at Pajaro Valley High School. In past years this event consisted of two or three tables, and this year the Wetland Stewards took it to another level with 10 activity and information tables.
As students walked into the main quad during lunch, there were tables where they could learn about the animals of the wetlands and how to get involved. At one table they were able to explore a model of their watershed, add pollution, and watch how it travels to the wetlands. In a mini-movie theater at the next booth, students could watch videos exploring the wonders of wetlands and a Leatherback turtle feeding in the ocean. The next three booths featured the WATCH alumni students leading activities and selling water bottles. At the last stop, students could dress up and take pictures to commemorate World Wetlands Day 2013! Wetland Steward Marissa Sanchez said World Wetlands Day was “Magical.... Having the opportunity to show her entire school what she does made her feel important.”
Our work with young people during field trips, school events, and Open Houses has successfully engaged and educated thousands of local youth, fostering knowledge and future stewardship of the wetlands. You can partner with us in our efforts by supporting us with your donation. Contribute online by going to our website or by sending 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.