High School Students Participate in
Citizen Science Projects
High school statistics students measuring plant populations
April showers bring May flowers and lots and lots of field trips! The Wetlands Watch Education Program Staff has been busy hosting Pajaro Valley High School statistics and chemistry students at West Struve Slough for our annual Project Tierra Citizen Science plant population and water quality monitoring programs. During plant population field trips, high school citizen scientists monitor the presence of native vs. non-native plants to assess the status of restoration sites that were planted with native plants during 2006–2009. Rain fell on one such field trip this year,
but students rose to the occasion and still had a lot of fun!
By monitoring the water in the sloughs, chemistry students learn about real-world chemistry, studying human impacts on the oxygen and nitrogen cycles in the wetlands. Measuring the levels of dissolved oxygen, turbidity, temperature, and nitrates in the water allows them to assess the health of the wetland compared to other sites in Watsonville with different land uses such as agriculture and industrial.
The results are in, and you can rest assured that due to the Watch’s ongoing restoration work we are making measurable progress toward our goals of realizing a thriving slough system.
National Trails Day
Saturday, June 4th is National Trails Day, and we will be celebrating with a bike ride on the City of Watsonville’s extensive trail system (see trail map). Join the staffs of the City of Watsonville Nature Center, Trips for Kids, and Watsonville Wetlands Watch on this exploratory bike ride around the wetlands. We will meet at the Trips for Kids Launch Pad at 345 Harvest Drive in Watsonville (directions) at 10 am and ride the City trails around the sloughs, ending back at the launch pad at noon. Contact the Nature Center for more information at 831-768-1622.
Birding Tours a Soaring Success
Red-Winged Blackbird. Photo by Jeff Bleam
The Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the Monterey Bay Birding Festival together sponsored two bird walks celebrating International Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 14. The tours, attended by 46 enthusiastic birders, broke into three groups that visited several locations in the sloughs. A variety of birds were observed, and especially memorable were the two Bald Eagles and elsewhere a pair of Ospreys attending their nest. Particularly enjoyable on one tour were the clownish plumage and antics of Pied-billed Grebe youngsters and the sight of eight soaring American White Pelicans against a blue sky.
Overall, it was a remarkably beautiful day of bird watching with a total of 57 separate species seen across the four locations. There were some first-time birders with us and many attendees expressed their joy at what they saw and learned. At the conclusion, many said that they planned to come back for more birding in the future. One new birder said: “I learned so much and my awareness expanded in ways that make me feel happy. I am still smiling and looking forward to more encounters and connections.”
Sincere thanks go out to tour leaders Debbie Diersch, Nanci Adams, Bob Culbertson, Shantanu Phukan, Rich Palm, Dobie Jenkins, and the volunteers who helped spread the word about this special day.
Falconry as a Window into Nature
On Wednesday evening, July 20, please join us for a delightful outdoor evening presentation with Falconer Kenny Elvin. He will talk about his extensive experience with raptors and what he has been able to observe about the ways animals interact and form relationships in nature. He will introduce you to his Great Horned Owl, Boggs, and his other thrilling falcons and hawks. He will also fly his falcons for us. This is an evening not to be missed!
We will also have tours of our Native Plant Demonstration Garden. The talk is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the outdoor classroom, overlooking the beautiful wetlands, behind the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center. Please dress accordingly. Click for map/directions. Admission is free but you must reserve a seat online by clicking here. For more information, contact Kathy Fieberling at 831-345-1226 or email@example.com.
Tour the Pajaro River with the Pajaro Valley Ohlone Indian Council’s Patrick Orozco
Patrick Orozco shares the history of native Californians in the wetlands
On Saturday, July 16,Pajaro Valley Ohlone Indian Council chairman Patrick Orozco will lead a special tour along the Pajaro River. He will tell stories, sing, and share his experiences and knowledge about local native culture and history. Patrick, descendent of native Californians, has been researching and teaching about native culture for over 20 years. He delights and inspires students by visiting schools and sharing remembered songs and stories, dances and regalia.
This family-oriented tour, hosted by the Watsonville Wetlands Watch, starts at 10 a.m. Meet at the City of Watsonville’s Pajaro River Park, behind the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Clearwater Lane just outside of Watsonville (directions). The tour is free, but you must register by clicking here. For more information, contact Kathy Fieberling, 831-345 1226, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth Saturday Community Restoration Day
Volunteers make a difference by helping to restore our wetlands
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 Saturday, June 25. We will work from 9 a.m. to 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.
Employer Match Programs
Can Double Donations
Photo by Denise Murphy
Does your employer have a matching gift program? A matching gift program is a corporate philanthropy program designed to support the nonprofits which a company’s employees are passionate about by matching donations made by employees. Approximately two-thirds of company’s match donations to 501(c)3 organizations, including those that support environmental and educational programs like the Watsonville Wetlands Watch, so there is a good chance that your company will too.
Ask your employer about their matching gifts program and sign-up if they have one so that your gift to Watsonville Wetlands Watch can be matched – you and your employer, together, will be supporting critical wetlands restoration and educational programs so important to our community. Please consider making a donation today. Thank you!
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.