Assemblyman Alejo and Mayor Cervantez consult with the Watch’s Restoration Director Jonathan Pilch.
On an unseasonably warm day in December, two local and state officials took time from their busy schedules to tour our wetlands restoration sites and learn from our own Wetland Steward high school interns about the power of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch’s educational programs. California State Assembly Member Luis Alejo and Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantez met with staff, students, and board members to hear about the accomplishments and future goals of Watsonville Wetlands Watch (WWW).
Students Celeste Espino and Margarito Jerry Rodriguez, members of our 2013 and 2014 classes of Wetland Stewards, explained how valuable the Wetland Stewards program has been to them as students at Pajaro Valley High School. Both college-bound, they said the program has had a powerful personal impact on them as they’ve worked with children, discovered the importance of the sloughs, and learned how to communicate that importance to the community. Click to read entire article.
New and Highly Productive Native Grassland Restoration Projects
Steve Pederson of High Ground Organics, his field crew, and WWW restoration specialists transplanting native grass and wildflower plugs in a grassland area on Hanson Slough.
Developing efficient and effective ways to restore the Pajaro Valley’s native grasslands is a key part of the Watch’s mission. This past month we trialed a new method of mechanical transplanting and planted just over 20,000 plants in a single day, including 6,000 California poppies on the Land Trust’s Watsonville Slough Farm. 20,000 plants planted in a single day is a new WWW record!
Many of the plants were grown at our nursery facility at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center and the rest of the plants were grown at a local commercial nursery in town. All of the expert and specialized tractor work and hand labor was donated by High Ground Organics, a neighboring farm on Harkins Slough. In addition to their commitment to producing local and organic produce and a community supported agriculture program, High Ground Organics greatly values restoration and conservation work in the Watsonville Sloughs. Irrigation, equipment and expertise were also donated by Reiter Berry Farm and Lakeside Organics, two of the Pajaro Valley’s great local growers. This project was a true collaboration between conservation organizations and local growers to enhance the environment of the Watsonville Sloughs and Pajaro Valley!
Presentation — Habitat Gardening and Landscape Design; an Ecological Approach
On Thursday, March 20th, the Watsonville Wetlands Watch is hosting local horticulture expert Rich Merrill, who will take us on visual tour of his own beautiful and fascinating backyard in Scotts Valley. He'll describe the plants and microhabitats, including the “hardscape” microhabitats in water elements, rocks/boulders, mulch, etc., best suited for attracting and nurturing beneficial insects and other useful garden creatures.
Backyard habitats—created with both native and "exotic" plants—are delightful spots where you and your family can enjoy attractive plants, birds, beneficial insects, native bees, butterflies and other animals. Since many vegetables and herbs can also attract and feed beneficial wildlife, habitat gardens can also serve as a source of food for the family. And not least, they conserve water and support biodiversity—both essential to everyone's long-term well-being.
The City of Watsonville in partnership with Watsonville Wetlands Watch has developed an Adopt-A-Trail Program where volunteers can assist with maintaining, enhancing and monitoring the City of Watsonville’s over 6 miles of public access trails and trail heads. Volunteers, such as individuals, families, businesses, community and service organizations, churches, schools and scout troops, are invited to adopt trail sections.
We launched the program on Feb 1, 2014 in honor of World Wetlands Day, and are accepting applications through March 31, 2014. Our first volunteer training workshop will be on April 12, 2014.
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 Feb. 22. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-566-4938.
Our Donors are the Best!
All of us on the staff and board extend our most sincere gratitude to every generous donor who made a gift to The Watch during our year-end appeal. You made a huge difference! You helped raise more than $25,000 to support our restoration and education programs in the year ahead. Thank you for the positive impact you will make in our community through your gifts. We are excited about what we will be able to achieve in 2014 with you as our valued partner.
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.