Through program grants from the NOAA B-WET program and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Watsonville Wetlands Watch and Fitz WERC program staff are implementing the Slough-based Environmental Education (Project SEE) at Pajaro Valley High School (PVHS).
The NOAA B-WET funds supported the first phase in piloting development of a place-based, hands-on integrated curriculum correlated to California content standards. Lesson plans being developed under Project SEE utilize the freshwater wetland system surrounding the school and the WERC. A curriculum development team of seven PVHS teachers has created a collection of draft lesson plans to be piloted by fellow PVHS staff in 2007. These lessons cover seven disciplines (biology, chemistry, integrated science, English, math, social studies, and art). Field trips, data collection and interpretation of findings are a key part of each lesson plan’s design to provide meaningful experiences for students at all levels.
As a part of our first year BWET grant, we also incorporated a series of four expert led teacher workshops on the following topics:
• Developing an Integrated Curriculum (February 2006)
• Plant Identification & Monitoring (March 2006)
• Bird Population Monitoring (April 2006)
• Water Quality Importance & Monitoring (May 2006)
Fall 2006 programming included the following enrichment opportunities for PVHS teachers:
• Two teacher-led “Wetlands 101” information sessions, one on cultural and geologic history of the wetlands, and one on wetland ecology.
• Three Fitz WERC building orientations for teachers
• Guided tours of the West Struve Slough Reserve and Hanson Slough Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA)
In phase two of Project SEE, teachers are meeting biweekly to refine existing activities and plan how lessons will be piloted with their classes. One new teacher from each discipline will join the team in 2007 and pilot activities.