NASA Scientists Help Wetland Stewards Understand Microbial Life
Six NASA scientists recently visited to explain the importance of microbial life to our Wetland Stewards high-school student interns. The scientists study bacteria that live in extreme environments, which may have features in common with environments on other planets and on the early Earth. By studying microbes living in environments that are very cold, hot, dry, salty, or otherwise atypical, we can learn about possible early-Earth ecosystems as well as about microbes that may exist on other bodies in our solar system.
After introductions and a short presentation, the scientists and Stewards visited Elkhorn Slough, where microbes can exist in a hyper-saline (very salty) environment. The water in parts of the slough can be three times saltier than the ocean. The Wetland Stewards got a chance to sample these microbes and grow them in test tubes. The microbes can be purple, green, orange, and even pink! The experience exposed our teens to new areas of science and advanced their understanding of aquatic ecosystems.
Speaker Series: Red-legged Frogs and Western Pond Turtles
in the Lower Pajaro Valley
Western pond turtle adult and hatchling. Photo: Gary Kittleson
California red-legged frogs and western pond turtles are cryptic and elusive native residents of the Watsonville Sloughs and the Pajaro River system. Although widely distributed in the area, both species are seldom observed and, therefore, poorly understood. Current, focused studies on the Santa Cruz Land Trust’s Watsonville Slough Farm and along the lower Pajaro River have begun to shed some light on the behavior and life history of these quiet, yet persistent, protected species.
California red-legged frogs
On Thursday, July 18, Gary Kittleson, environmental consultant for these ongoing studies, will describe the current state of knowledge about California red-legged frogs and western pond turtles in the lower Pajaro Valley. He will also share the preliminary results of his recent study of these frogs and Pajaro River turtles.
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. Admission is free but you must reserve a seat by contacting Kathy Fieberling at 831-345-1226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Wetland Stewards Class of 2013
Photo by Denise Murphy
On June 4th, Watsonville Wetlands Watch held a reception to honor this year’s Wetland Stewards interns. Friends and family of the interns attended, as well as docents and staff who have worked with the interns throughout the year. As part of the program, the wetland interns led activities that taught the audience about snakes, birds, plants, our watershed, and aquatic invertebrates of the wetlands. Other activities included migration hopscotch and making seed spheres. The evening ended with an awards ceremony to honor these ten amazing interns and all the hard work they have done over the past year. Congratulations and thanks to this year’s Wetland Stewards interns!
Hofmeister Scholarship Awarded to Marcela Uribe
Laura Hofmeister with scholarship recipient Marcela Uribe (left) and
past years’ recipients Rosemary Alvarez and Jose Alanis
Laura Hofmeister attended the Wetland Stewards’ reception and presented wetland steward Marcela Uribe with a $1000 Hofmeister scholarship award. She was awarded the scholarship for her dedication to educating students and the community about the Watsonville wetlands. Marcela will be attending San Jose State in the fall to pursue Sociology and Environmental Studies. Also in attendance were the previous two years’ Hofmeister recipients, Rosemary Alvarez and Jose Alanis. Congrats Marcela and good luck next year!
Experience the Wetlands
on a Wetlands Alive! Tour
Photo by Denise Murphy
Discover the natural wonders of the wetlands on this fun, family-oriented tour of the wetlands and our Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions). Upcoming tour dates are on Saturdays, July 13 and July 27, starting at 10 a.m. Tours are free, but please call or email Kathy Fieberling, email@example.com, 831-345-1226, by Friday noon before the tour to reserve a place. For more information, click here.
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 17th 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 binoculars and tables for the food buffet. The picnic site is on the Department of Fish and Wildlife Reserve at the corner of Harkins Slough and Lee Roads. Please RSVP to Kathy Fieberling, firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-345-1226.
4th Saturday Restoration Day
We invite you to help restore wetland habitat by planting native plants and removing exotic invasive plants as part of our monthly community work day, on July 27. We will work from 9 a.m. until noon, and we always make time for birding or a short hike around the wetlands. We supply the gloves, tools, and a snack. Meet at our Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions). If you have questions, please contact Mary Paul at email@example.com or 831-566-4938.
Support Our Work
You can partner with us as we protect, restore and foster appreciation of the Watsonville wetlands 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.