News from Watsonville Wetlands Watch
The Race to Save the California Condor Cultural History of Pajaro Valley Vote for Us at Patagonia! Wetlands Alive! Tours The Great-Tailed Grackle Migration Festival WWW & The Soroptimists World Wetlands Day Support Our Work
Presentation—The Race to Save the California Condor from Extinction
By 1982, only 22 California condors remained in the world. Extinction seemed inevitable until a small group of scientists undertook a risky and controversial program to save our largest bird. On March 10, award winning environmental journalist John Moir will share this riveting saga of bringing the condor back from the brink, with rare photos from the recovery effort. In addition, he will explore the current challenges facing the condor program. Moir will also link the condor’s plight to the wave of human-caused extinctions that are sweeping across Earth’s ecosystems and discuss the urgency of new international efforts to save our planet’s biodiversity For driving directions and map, click here. To learn more, click here.
Exploring the Cultural History of the Pajaro Valley
During a recent field trip to the wetlands, Mintie White and Radcliffe Elementary School students explored the cultural history of native people of the Pajaro Valley with Patrick Orozco. Patrick is a local man of Chumash and Juaneño decent. He painted a picture of what the valley looked like hundreds of years ago and how the wetlands have been an integral part of his culture. He shared legends and myths, dances, and songs with the students and invited them to dance, and play instruments along with him. Click here to read the whole article and see a video of a student dancing with Patrick.
Vote for Us at Patagonia!
This year Watsonville Wetlands Watch is honored to be one of three organizations invited to participate in Patagonia’s Voice Your Choice™ program! Through Voice Your Choice, store customers are invited to become better informed and more involved with environmental work in their communities. Once a year, each Patagonia store receives $5,000 to be divided among three environmental organizations. Representatives from each organization visit the store to talk about their efforts. Store customers then vote for the group that they like best. The top vote-getter in each store receives $2,500, the second highest $1,500, and the third $1,000. Congratulations to the other worthy participants - the Coastal Watershed Council and the Ventana Wilderness Alliance. Stop by the Santa Cruz Patagonia Outlet at 415 River Street in March to learn about each of these great organizations and vote. Visit often; you can vote once every day. At the end of March the nonprofit with the most votes gets the most money. Don’t forget to stop by and vote...for us!
Wetlands Alive! Tours Start Up
Our spring season of Wetlands Alive! Tours is beginning. The tour dates for April are Saturday, April 9th and Sunday, April 17th, starting at 10 a.m. Bring your friends and join us on a fun, family-oriented tour of the wetlands and our Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions). Tours are free, but please call 345-1226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday noon before the tour to reserve a place. For more information, click here.
The Great-Tailed Grackle
By Anthony Barrios
Have you ever walked through Pajaro Valley High’s campus and heard unusual, bubbly, cackling noises coming from a large blackbird? This is the call of the Great-tailed Grackle. This noisy blackbird is originally from South America and Mexico, but their ability to adapt easily to new environments is the reason why they are extending their range northward and westward for the past century.
Click here to read the entire essay by PVHS junior Barrios.
A Long Journey Worth Celebrating
On February 12th Watsonville Wetlands Watch participated in the Natural Bridges State Beach Migration Festival in Santa Cruz. What a great day it was! The event was a celebration of all animals that travel long distances in search of food, warmth, and breeding grounds. Some of the animals honored included the monarch butterfly, birds, whales, and the elephant seal. The day was filled with live music by the Mystic Truebadoors and the nature-loving 5M’s Band, guest speakers, and live animals. Watsonville Wetlands Watch staff Adrienne Frisbee and Noëlle Antolin along with docents Bridget Dumas, Sharon Clark, and Wetland Stewards Rosemary Alvarez and Yadira Grajeda led fun wetland games for kids, shared information about the hundreds of birds that visit the Watsonville wetlands, and introduced Rocky, the gopher snake, to many curious passersby. For more information about the birds of the Watsonville wetlands, click here. (Broadband internet connection required.)
Watsonville Wetlands Watch Meets
A little over a year ago Lou and Joan Rose, volunteers with Watsonville Wetlands Watch, began making presentations to local community organizations to raise awareness of the Watsonville Wetlands. They have spoken to almost 600 people across seventeen organizations including the Rotary clubs of Capitola and Watsonville, the Lions clubs of Aptos/Capitola, Freedom, and Cabrillo, the Kiwanis, several PEO chapters, AAUW, Sons of Retirement, and the Soroptimists. On January 18th Lou Rose and Debbie Diersch, both volunteers and board members of the Watch, had the pleasure of presenting our organization to Soroptimist International of Capitola-By-The-Sea. While the major focus was to introduce the Soroptimist members to the Watch, we took the opportunity to learn about the Soroptimists as well. Read about the Soroptimists.
Celebration of World Wetlands Day
Forty volunteers of all ages participated in the World Wetlands Day Celebration on Feb. 5th, hosted by the Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the City of Watsonville. The volunteers helped plant native plants along Struve Slough, near the City’s wetland trail that runs behind West Marine. In an area once overgrown with invasive Poison Hemlock, we planted hundreds of native plants including California bee plant, common rush, creeping wild rye, and sedges. Volunteers came from all over the community, but particularly from West Marine, who promoted it as part of their employee volunteer committee. We are also grateful to the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Watsonville Patch who sent reporters and photographers to cover the event. You can read the Sentinel story here and the Watsonville Patch story here.
It’s time for spring migration ... You can help provide critical habitat
You can help the Watsonville Wetlands Watch protect and restore the fresh water wetlands habitat needed by migrating water birds like the American White Pelican. Contribute online by going to our website; or send a donation in the mail to WWW, P.O. Box 1239, Freedom, CA 95019. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules for non-profit organizations and are greatly appreciated.
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.