California Conservation Corps Foundation Sponsors
On a recent Saturday, 60 hard-working and enthusiastic volunteers from the California Conservation Corps worked alongside our restoration staff to restore native habitat along West Struve Slough on the Watsonville Sloughs Ecological Reserve. The volunteer day was sponsored by the California Conservation Corps, a state-wide job training corps where local youth work to create and maintain trails, restore native habitats, and fight fires throughout California; they are also given the opportunity to earn their GED. The corps members worked with Watsonville Wetlands Watch restoration staff to remove invasive plants, install hundreds of straw bales and yards of wood chip along the waterway to keep invasive plants at bay, and prepare the areas for plantings this winter. The site is now ready for the many students and volunteers that will work with our staff as we continue to plant thousands of native plants this winter. We salute the California Conservation Corps and Foundation for their support for the Watsonville Sloughs.
Burrowing Owls Return
For the past five years, Burrowing Owls have wintered on the Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area adjacent to Pajaro Valley High School, which is a site that has been a focus of Watsonville Wetlands Watch’s grassland restoration efforts. This year there are three birds, an increase over the one or two birds that visited in the past. The Burrowing Owl is a grassland dependent bird and a California Species of Special Concern. Its numbers have been in decline due to urban development, ground squirrel control efforts, and intensive agriculture practices. The Burrowing Owls' annual return is evidence of a healthy grassland habitat, and a gauge of the success of our grassland restoration efforts.
Presentation: Falconry –
A Window into Nature
On Wednesday, January 14, the Watsonville Wetlands Watch is hosting falconer Kenny Elvin, who will talk about the ancient art of falconry. Flying raptors is as much about the area you fly and quarry as it is about your chosen “hunting partners”. These birds fly like their lives depend on it and interact with animals, wind patterns and the falconer. Kenny Elvin has been a licensed falconer for 12 years and flown in a wide variety of settings. Making a connection with each bird and dog is a chessboard of decisions. Come and enjoy this discussion and bring questions. Kenny will be accompanied by live birds.
Docent (and WWW Board President) Debbie Diersch
leading a field trip station
Our 2015 Docent Training Program begins in late January. Docent training is a fun and interesting way to learn about the natural and cultural history of the wetlands from experts, and to receive training for becoming a field trip facilitator. These interactive sessions include Wednesday evening presentations and Saturday field trips, visiting sites not normally seen by the public. Join our dedicated team of trained docent volunteers who facilitate field trips, lead tours, participate in special events, work in the greenhouse and native plant demonstration garden, conduct water monitoring, and much, much more. For more information, contact Kathy Fieberling at firstname.lastname@example.org, 831-345-1226 or click here.
December Community 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 December 20. 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.
Our Shared Legacy
The wetlands will always need protection and care. By increasing public access and raising awareness about the value of our wetlands, the Wetlands Watch helps encourage our community to protect and preserve them for future generations.
There is another way to help secure the future of the wetlands. Recently, a small group of wetlands supporters formed Watsonville Wetlands Legacy, an association of donors who have included the Watsonville Wetlands Watch in their will or estate plan.
There are significant tax advantages, permanent recognition and other benefits in making a planned gift to Watsonville Wetlands Legacy. If you would like to consider the wetlands as your own living legacy, find out more by visiting our new web page: Click here
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.