In July 2006, Watsonville Wetlands Watch was awarded a two-year program grant through the S.H. Cowell Foundation to develop a summer and after school program for 6th to 8th grade students in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. The Wetland Stewards program is the first step in a larger project to bring in-depth quality environmental education experiences to Watsonville’s youth.
Click here for an update on the 2006-2007 Wetland Stewards program
The Wetland Stewards program has three main components. First, Wetland Stewards will engage 245 middle school students in local, hands-on activities that relate to the surrounding wetlands and watershed.
During 2007-2008, this program also will provide vertical mentoring opportunities for more than 20 Pajaro Valley High School students. College interns from UCSC, CSUMB, and Cabrillo have the chance to build skills in environmental education while assisting high school and middle school students.
Third, Wetland Stewards creates a site specific middle school curriculum designed for the demographics of Watsonville youth. At the conclusion of the grant, the Fitz WERC will have 20 tested and evaluated middle school curriculum activities and material resources for implementing those activities.
In Summer 2006, the City of Watsonville’s Environmental Education Coordinator Tami Stolzenthaler and Fitz WERC Educational Programs Director Rachel Garrett piloted the summer piece of the Wetland Stewards program with over 70 PVUSD 6th grade math students. Activities included:
• Classroom introduction to wetlands and their importance
• Field trip to West Struve Slough Reserve, including bird watching, scavenger hunt, and water quality testing
• Classroom math activity on exponential growth of a weed/invasive plant
• Field math activity comparing occurrence of a weed plant in a restored area to a non-restored area