Watsonville Wetlands Watch Teaches Year-Long ”Green Careers” ROP Class at PVHS
Students from Green Careers class flipping cover boards to look for endangered salamander at Ellicott Slough Refuge
This year Education staff Noëlle Antolin and Adrienne Frisbee are teaching a new class called Green Careers at Pajaro Valley High School. The Green Careers field is a growing industry with many diverse applications in science, math, communications, construction, agriculture, and technology.
As part of a partnership with the Santa Cruz County Regional Occupation Program (ROP), this class features a hands-on exploration of green career opportunities alongside experts throughout the region, including Watsonville Wetlands Watch staff. Twenty-three students are currently enrolled in the class in its first year at PV High. The topics covered include natural resources, environmental horticulture, agriculture, energy, water conservation, waste reduction, development, policy, and recreation. During the introductory unit, students attended a career panel at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center during which five professionals with a green industry career shared their life experience. They discussed the difference between a job and a career and urged students to find their passion.
Presentation — Wildlife Photography in the Wetlands
White-tailed Kite. Image:
On Thursday, Nov. 14, the Watsonville Wetlands Watch is hosting local wildlife photographers Denise Murphy and Efren Adalem who will give a slide show of their stunning photographs while they talk about their many adventures and the process of capturing action shots of wildlife in natural settings. They use the local wetlands as the source of their inspiration.
Denise Murphy and Efren Adalem
Efren’s sea otter photographs were used in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s otter exhibit and he was a finalist in the International Photo Exhibit in Varna, Bulgaria in 2013. Collectively they have won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at the Santa Cruz County Fair for Wildlife Photography, Professional Class and 1st place in the Monterey Bay Birding Festival photo contest.
From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Fitz 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.
Parent Night Gains Support from Wetland Stewards' Families
Several of our new Wetland Steward mentors taking a dance break
during September’s habitat festival.
This fall, for the first time, the Wetland Stewards program hosted a parent orientation for the newest batch of Wetland Stewards high school interns! We invited the Stewards’ parents and families to celebrate the new school year and to learn about the program. The families also toured the facilities and saw some of the specimens and activities that their sons and daughters will be working with this school year.
In the past, the Wetland Stewards program reached out to families at the end of the internship through Graduation Night where we showcase the stewards’ accomplishments. While we still will be hosting a graduation at the end of the internship, it became apparent that the families’ support and participation is integral to helping our interns get the most out of the program. By involving the families early on we hope to create a community that the stewards can depend on as they take on more and more responsibilities during the school year. Furthermore, we hope that the families will eventually become a part of the Watsonville Wetlands Watch community, first and foremost by supporting our interns, secondly, by attending our events and thirdly, by becoming docents.
We had a great turnout and the event was very well received by families. Parents were delighted to learn about the program and of all of the enrichment the students will be receiving this year. This includes field trips, invitations to special events, and career talks. Parents were also proud to hear that their children were selected from a competitive pool of over 30 applicants. We are thrilled to start the year with the support of our community!
Burrowing Owl has Returned
Photo: Lisa Sheridan
For the fourth year, and on schedule, a borrowing owl has made its way back to the hillside near the Wetlands Educational Resource Center. As the name implies the burrowing owl makes its home underground, and with all of the ground squirrel holes in the area, the owl has many homes to choose from.
Burrowing owls blend into the environment with spotted brown feathers; their long legs allow them to see predators over the blades of tall grasses. They typically feed on large insects, small rodents, and lizards.
Once abundant throughout California, the population of burrowing owls is in steep decline and they are now listed as a California Species of Special Concern; they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Although there are no known breeding pairs in Santa Cruz County, we are always hopeful that our yearly visitor will not only stay through winter, but find a mate and breed in the spring. We can keep our fingers crossed!
Sign Up Now for 2014 Docent Training
In 2013, trained docent volunteers facilitated nature experiences for over 1500 young people during school field trips. Docents also helped with special events, propagated thousands of native plants, worked in the demonstration garden and on creative projects, and more. You too can become a member of our top-notch Docent Team by attending the 2014 Docent Training Program, starting in late January. Docent Training is fun and interesting, with local experts providing an inside look at the wetlands of Watsonville, including the ecology, history, and restoration of the wetlands. This 7-week program includes Wednesday evening presentations and Saturday morning field trips. Not required, but we would love to add some bilingual docents to our team. For additional information or to enroll, contact Kathy Fieberling at email@example.com or 831-345-1226. Click to learn more.
Support Our Work
You can help us protect and restore precious habitat. Contribute online by going to our website; or by sending 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.