Big Turnout for World Wetlands Day 2012 Restoration Celebration
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a party is probably not a bunch of people digging in the dirt, but that was the scene at the World Wetlands Day 2012 restoration celebration held on Saturday, February 4, 2012 in the Watsonville Sloughs. About 70 volunteers joined the City of Watsonville and Watsonville Wetlands Watch to help plant 1149 native plants. Thirty-five different species were planted including Marsh Goldenrod, California Blackberry, Sneezeweed, Santa Barbara Sedge, Creeping Wild Rye, and Cow Parsnip to support the wildlife that calls the slough home. The sloughs provide a refuge for wildlife and are a nursery for fish. Read whole article.
On Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., the Watch is hosting popular educator and biologist Bruce Elliott, who will talk about an “American Original” — the rattlesnake. Hear the myths and learn the facts! Often maligned, rattlesnakes are a fascinating group of reptiles found only in the New World. Enhanced with amazing adaptations, 28 species are inhabitants of every temperate and tropical zone of the Americas. At the Fitz Educational Resource Center, at the top of the Pajaro Valley High School campus in Watsonville. Map/directions.
Open Saturdays at the
Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center
The Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (WERC) is opening on Saturdays! Beginning in March the WERC will be hosting an open house on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The El Mercado Flea Market, which now takes place in the parking lot next to the WERC on weekends, draws families from all around our community and we think it is a great opportunity to get the word out about the Watsonville wetlands! Join us beginning on March 10th. Our staff, interns, and docents will tell you and your friends all about the wonders of the sloughs, introduce you to our snakes and specimens, and lead fun activities for kids. We’ll even have binoculars and spotting scopes set up for folks to sneak a peak of our visiting Burrowing Owl and other wildlife. Map/directions.
Two Burrowing Owl Events
Burrowing Owl wintering near the Wetlands Educational Resource Center. Image: Local Photographer, Efren B. Adalem
Although they are small and not well-known, Burrowing Owls are unique in many ways, as we were fortunate enough to learn during two special events recently hosted by The Watch. For instance, did you know:
Western Burrowing Owls mimic the sound of a rattlesnake to protect their burrows?
the owls prefer to live in places where the grass is short, like areas with native grasses or mowed golf courses, so that they can watch for prey and predators? Tall non-native grasses create an inhospitable habitat for burrowing owls.
the extermination of ground squirrels and prairie dogs leads to a loss of habitat for the owls, because Burrowing Owls live in their burrows?
Pajaro Valley High School Celebrates World Wetlands Day
Wetland Stewards intern Mayra Hernandez asks fellow students
questions about wetlands animals.
On February 6th, Watsonville Wetlands Watch celebrated World Wetlands Day at PVHS. Thirteen Wetland Stewards interns and alumni participated in planning and putting on the event. During lunch students and teachers were able to learn about wetlands animals at the specimen table and try their luck at wetlands trivia. Students also pledged ways they could help protect our local wetlands. Some of the pledges included riding bikes, using reusable bags, skating to school, picking up trash, and reusing water bottles. Our personal favorite was a student who pledged to use less hair gel! Students also had a chance to find out how to get involved by participating in restoration programs, becoming a Wetland Stewards intern, and other volunteer opportunities.
Students pledge to help protect Watsonville’s wetlands.
Wetlands Alive! Tours Starting Soon
Spring is nearly here and it’s time to start offering our popular tours again. The tour dates are Saturday, April 21, Sunday, April 29, Sunday, May 6, and Saturday, May 1, 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 or email Kathy Fieberling, 345-1226, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Friday noon before the tour to reserve a place. For more information, click here.
Citizen involvement and community support are vital to our mission to restore and protect wetlands ecosystems. Our many special events are dramatically increasing appreciation of the Watsonville wetlands in the local community and beyond. To help us with this mission, please consider contributing online or mailing a donation 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.