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January 2017
Happy New Year from Watsonville Wetlands Watch
In This Issue
Last Chance to Sign Up for Docent Training
Welcome Our New Executive Director
Celebrate World Wetlands Day With Us
Wetland Steward Places in International Competition
Noelle Antolin Awarded Citizen of the Year
Celebrating Our Volunteers
25 Years in Review
WWW Website
Join Our Mailing List
Last Chance to Sign Up
for Docent Training

 Docent Rich Palm exploring aquatic invertebrates

with students

Docent training starts on January 18th. It is a fun and rewarding 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 classroom presentations and Saturday morning field trips, visiting sites not normally seen by the public.
Join our dedicated team of trained docent volunteers who help with 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 831-345-1226, kathy@watsonvillewetlandswatch.org, or click here.
Welcome Our New Executive Director
Jonathan Pilch
Executive Director Jonathan Pilch
Beginning in the new year, Jonathan Pilch, will serve as Watsonville Wetlands Watch's Executive Director. Jonathan joined Watsonville Wetlands Watch to oversee our restoration work in 2005 and has worn many hats over the years, helping to build many strong partnerships and working with our dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters to grow our organization into the strong community institution it is today.
Jonathan will now work full time as our Executive Director, helping the organization to spearhead our many ambitious goals throughout Watsonville, the Pajaro Valley and the Monterey Bay.
Please join us in welcoming Jonathan to his exciting new position!
 Celebrate World Wetlands Day
With Us

Join us for a very special event on Saturday, February 4th, when we observe World Wetlands Day 2017! We invite community volunteers to work with us on an exciting restoration project on Upper Struve Slough along the City of Watsonville's Trail System. In addition to the restoration project, there will be variety of things to do, including fun kids' activities and a bird walk. This event is co-sponsored with the City of Watsonville.
Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. on the Upper Struve Slough trail at the lower parking area at the southern end of the Nob Hill Shopping Center in Watsonville, and work until noon. Gloves, tools, and snacks will be provided.
This year's World Wetlands Day is dedicated to "Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction." Worldwide, wetlands are an important part of a natural strategy to reduce risk from large storms and natural disasters.
Along the coastline, wetlands act as a natural protective buffer. For example, they helped avoid more than $625 million in damages from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Inland, wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flooding. During the dry season, they release the stored water, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages. When well managed, wetlands can make communities resilient enough to prepare for, cope with and bounce back from disasters even stronger than before.
Unfortunately, 64% of the world's wetlands have disappeared since 1900 making our remaining wetlands all the more critical to protect and restore. So come out with us on February 4th and help restore our own precious wetland habitat.
All reference data in this article is courtesy of the World Wetlands Day website.
 Wetland Steward Places
in International Competition

Maria Perez mentors elementary school students

Maria Perez, a Wetland Steward Mentor in the 2016/2017 class, received accolades in a recent article published by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, for her stellar accomplishment of placing second in the International "Project Green Challenge" competition. The event challenged high school and college students with tasks that would create a more sustainable planet. For her project, Maria created a lunch-time table at Pajaro Valley High where students could share donated food. "People that couldn't get food could grab it. I see it as a way to reduce food waste and hunger," Maria said.
Maria competed with 3600 other International students and 15 finalists to win second in the competition. She is truly inspirational! Read the entire story at Santa Cruz Sentinel.
 Noelle Antolin Awarded
Citizen of the Year

 Noelle Antolin leading a field trip 

Congratulations to Noelle Antolin who was awarded the Freedom Rotary Citizen of the Year for her work in helping local students become stewards of their environment during her time as Education Director at Watsonville Wetlands Watch.
Noelle joined the Watsonville Wetlands Watch as Education Director in 2007 and implemented steady improvements in our educational programs. We now provide educational programming in ecology, water quality and invertebrate monitoring, restoration, mentoring, leadership, peer-to-peer learning, and green careers to more than 2,500 students in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District each year.
Noelle retired from the Watsonville Wetlands Watch earlier this year to devote time to her family and business. Read the full story at Register Pajaronian.

Celebrating Our Volunteers

"Island Style" ukulele band Hoaloha
On Dec. 6, we hosted nearly 100 people at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration at the beautiful Pajaro Dunes Cypress House. With a Hawaiian theme, the party-goers enjoyed food fit for a luau, created up by Chef Rebecca Mastoris, while the sounds of the islands were provided by ukulele band Hoaloha. The lights and decorations, installed by our enthusiastic Wetland Stewards interns, and the wine and other beverages, provided by our Board of Directors, added to the festive atmosphere.
The success of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch is due in large part to our dedicated and generous volunteer team, and we can never thank them enough. Special thanks go to the donors and other contributors who made this event possible, including Pajaro Dunes Resort, Chef Rebecca Mastoris, Hoaloha, Target, Lakeside Organics, and Safeway.
25 Years in Review
Watsonville Wetlands Watch celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2016.

Thanks to your support, and the work by a strong community of passionate individuals and partners, we've been able to accomplish some amazing things.

Just take a look at some of the highlights!
  • 1,000 acres of conservation lands protected throughout the slough system
  • 120,000 native plants grown from our watershed and planted on restoration projects
  • 7 miles of trails maintained along the slough system to create an urban greenbelt for the health and enjoyment of the community
  • 34,000 hours of volunteer labor for critical restoration projects and education programs
  • 4,000 adults participated in continuing education through docent training, speaker series and tours
  • 16,000 students introduced to science and nature through hands-on, outdoor education programs
  • 87 Wetland Steward Mentors taught environmental sciences and nurtured to become tomorrow's leaders since the program began in 2007
  • Nearly 100% of the Wetland Steward graduates attended college
But that's just the beginning! We have a lot more planned for the next 25 years and beyond including climate change adaptation projects, expansion of our Green Careers program, expanding educational programs to ensure that EVERY child in the Pajaro Valley has access to hands-on outdoor environmental and science education, and continuing to protect and restore the health of the wetlands and our community.
We hope that you are as excited about our plans as we are and look forward to your support as we endeavor to achieve our future goals together.
 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.

Watsonville Wetlands Watch is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, federal tax i.d. #77-0519882.
Watsonville Wetlands Watch, PO Box 1239, Freedom, CA 95019