Just in time for Earth Day, the kickoff tour for our Wetlands Alive! season is on Saturday, April 21. Bring your friends and join us on a fun, family-oriented tour of the wetlands and our Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions). Additional tour dates are Sunday, April 29, Sunday, May 6, and Saturday, May 19, starting at 10 a.m. Tours are free, but please call or email Kathy Fieberling, 345-1226, email@example.com by Friday noon before the tour to reserve a place. For more information, click here.
Discovery Made March 13th at
Fitz Wetlands Educational
by New Docent Susan Drake.
What has 36 legs and a brain big as a blimp? It may be found knee-deep in one of the sloughs or wandering the Fish & Game hillside. Don't be afraid. Far from being a monster, meet the latest team of Watsonville Wetlands Watch docents, 18 men and women, ages 18 to 75, who graduated on March 13th.
Some new docents admitted they’d lived in the county for many years but only within the past year, in the newspaper or on a Wetlands Alive Tour, learned about our neighboring six sloughs. Asked “What made you sign up to become a docent here?”, the newcomers used words such as “sanctuary,” “amazing plant diversity,” “love of the outdoors,” “passion for environmental conservation and water quality,” and “birders’ paradise.” Graduates include teachers, students, a former secretary, a retired nurse, an actor, authors, and photographers. The mix stimulated intelligent questions, discussions and graduation presentations. History of the area, plant and bird identification, restoration and water quality control activities, safety regulations—so much crammed into meetings and field trips, two a week for seven weeks. Our brains swelled. Read entire article.
Students Help Build New Soil Bin
Students under the watchful eye of Bob Leonard
Bob Leonard is a retired drama professor and avid gardener who has been volunteering with the Wetlands Watch for over a year. Years of theater set building came in handy for the WERC nursery as he decided to take on the task of building the new soil bin. The Watch's Restoration Specialist Mary K Paul decided to add to the challenge by requiring that Bob use a few students from the job training Workability class at Pajaro Valley High School.
Completed Soil Bin
Under the careful supervision of Bob, Mary, and workability teacher, Mike Schultze, five students got a chance to learn beginning carpentry skills and some had the opportunity to use a power drill and a circular saw for the first time. At the end of the morning a brand-new soil bin was built and put into place in the WERC nursery.
Walk for the Wetlands...
or Sponsor a Walker!
You can support the Watsonville Wetlands Watch as a walker or sponsor by participating in Mt. Madonna’s sixth annual Summit for the Planet Walk-a-thon and Celebration on Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The 5K/10K walk or run along the summit of Mt. Madonna is in the beautiful redwood forest overlooking the Monterey Bay. If you would rather not walk, please consider sponsoring one of the students, volunteers, staff, or other individuals walking for Watsonville Wetlands Watch. To sponsor an individual, sign up here. Whether you walk or pledge, you can enjoy the after-party fun, featuring live animals including bats, lizards, birds, snakes and turtles. Learn more.
Richard Gurnee, Taxidermist Extraordinaire
By Watch Docent Bill Best
Richard Gurnee in his workshop with freeze-dried waterfowl.
Photo by Bill Best
One of the first things that always catches my breath as I enter the Watsonville Educational Resource Center (WERC) is a gray fox that looks like it's going to leap right off the counter. The exquisite hand that turned the gray fox, red-tailed hawk, long-tailed weasel, and many other specimens at the WERC from road kill to rebirth is Richard Gurnee's. Simply put, Mr. Gurnee is a local treasure!
He is a second generation Watsonvillian. His father and brother were dentists, and he might have chosen to follow the family occupation except for his early fascination with animals. At age 11, he earned his Boy Scout Merit Badge in Taxidermy; from ages 13 to 16, he was preserving mammals and birds for local hunters. Read entire article.
Help Us Win Santa Cruz Community Credit Union Grant
White-tailed Kite by Local Photographer Efren B. Adalem
Are you a Santa Cruz Community Credit Union (SCCCU) VISA credit card holder? If so, you can help us win another grant! The SCCCU has given a grant of over $2000 to Watsonville Wetlands Watch each of the last two years. We have now been nominated for another grant. Here's what you need to do if you want to help us: in the first week in April when you open your credit card statement, find and follow the instructions on voting. That's it! And thank you!
Open Saturdays at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center
The Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (WERC) is hosting an open house on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dates this month are April 14th and 28th.
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's a great opportunity to get the word out about the Watsonville wetlands! 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.
Please stop by!
Presentation — First People Meet
Second People: Ohlone Indians
and Early Spanish Explorations
Ohlone Winter Camp.
On Thursday, May 17, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., the Watch is hosting State archaeologist Mark Hylkema, who will outline the local prehistory and native lifeway before European contact, and will reflect on what it was like not too many years ago when grizzly bears and the Ohlone people dwelled here. We will also review aspects of the Spanish, Mexican and early American periods. At the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center, at the top of the Pajaro Valley High School campus in Watsonville. Map/directions. Admission is free but you must reserve a seat by contacting Kathy Fieberling at 831-345-1226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.