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Non Profit Spotlight - Stephanie Rios, Education Programs Coordinator and Yesenia Jimenez, Watershed Education and Restoration Specialist talk to Steve about the Wetlands Watch ( and Watsonville Community Forest (

KSQD Community Radio - Host Mathilde Rand and guests Stephanie Rios and Aimee Mizuno discuss the hands-on approach to the educational programs of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch. WWW is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and fostering of appreciation of the wetlands of the Pajaro Valley. Click here to listen.

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By Aric Sleeper | Santa Cruz Sentinel

More than 50 trees were planted at the school

PAJARO — Nearly 100 community members gathered at Pajaro Middle School on Saturday morning to plant 50 new trees, from oaks to magnolias, on the school’s campus for the Plant a Tree for Pajaro event. The effort was spurred by the Watsonville Wetlands Watch and is a part of the larger community forest initiative intended to plant thousands of trees all over Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley.

“We’re really excited to transform this school campus,” said Jonathon Pilch, executive director of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch. “This area has one of the lowest tree canopy covers in the Monterey Bay and we started this project to both complement the larger watershed restoration work and also to increase the tree canopy because it does so much for the natural environment and human health.”

By: Johanna Miller | The Pajaronian

Since 2017, Esperanza Community Farms in Watsonville has provided affordable organic produce to hundreds of local families, while aiming to promote healthy eating, sustainability and economic justice. 

And now, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the No Kid Hungry Centering Equity Fund, Esperanza has linked two of its programs to also bring fresh, organic salads to a local school cafeteria. 

In 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Esperanza helped guide the formation of a farming co-op to help local BIPOC farmers. Members of the 9 Organic Farmers Co-Op work together on everything from managing their finances to improving crop production. They cultivate 25 acres on eight separate farms.

Climate Corps Leadership internship program set to receive $300,000

By Hannah Hagemann | Santa Cruz Sentinel

WATSONVILLE – Environmental nonprofit Watsonville Wetlands Watch has been selected by the California Natural Resources Agency to receive a $300,000 grant – funded by California’s revenue from cannabis taxes.

The funds will be used to grow the organization’s Climate Corps Leadership Institute internship program, which aims to cultivate and empower a new generation of environmental stewards in Watsonville.

Californians who took to the polls in 2014 and voted to legalize cannabis are largely to thank for the investment. As a result of Proposition 64, some cannabis tax dollars are allocated to fund youth wellness initiatives in underserved regions, or communities of color, such as Watsonville. Watsonville Wetlands is one of 65 California-based organizations funded through the inaugural grants.

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Watsonville Wetlands Watch
PO Box 1239
Freedom, CA 95019-1239
Voice: 831-728-1156
Fax: 831-728-6944
Offices at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center

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