Mary Paul, Restoration Specialist, prepares native seed
for broadcast seeding
On some of the shortest days of the year this past December, Watsonville Wetlands Watch restoration staff worked late into the evening to establish a native grassland on a rise above Watsonville Slough on the Watsonville Slough Farm, owned by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Just over 60 pounds of native seed from 18 different native grass and wildflower species, grown on-site at our seed farm, were loaded into a broadcast spreader, pulled behind a tractor and spread throughout the 7-acre future grassland.
As late as 2011, this field was in full-scale farm production, but due to its special location and the opportunity to re-establish important upland habitat at the confluence of Watsonville, Struve, Hanson, and Harkins Slough, the field was taken out of production and prepared for future restoration in partnership with local growers. Now, several years later, the project is in the second phase of a multi-year effort to re-establish the native grasslands that once thrived in this area, and will soon complement the surrounding farmland so that native grasslands, wetlands, and farmland can co-exist at the center of the slough system. This project, a partnership between Watsonville Wetlands Watch, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a great example of local conservation action and collaboration that crosses boundaries and brings local growers and conservation organizations and agencies together to forge a bright future for Pajaro Valley wetlands.
Celebrate World Wetlands Day
Celebrate World Wetlands Day on Saturday, Feb. 6, with a special event where we invite community volunteers to work on a restoration project on a portion of Upper Struve Slough along the City of Watsonville’s Trail System. Volunteers are needed to help plant the nearly 1000 plants that will soon be thriving along banks of the slough and trail. In addition to the restoration project, there will be variety of family-friendly things to do, including fun kids’ activities, live music, free food, and a bird walk. This event is co-sponsored with the City of Watsonville. Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m., on the Upper Struve Slough trail at the southern end of the Nob Hill Shopping Center in Watsonville, and work until noon. Gloves, tools, and snacks will be provided.
Wetlands Watch Welcomes
New Education Director
Emily Howard, our new Education Director, is now on board. For the past nine years Emily has been the Education Coordinator for Return of the Natives (RON) Restoration Education Project at California State University Monterey Bay, where she developed the curriculum and managed the K-12 school year education programs, weekend public restoration events, school and university classes hosted at the Watershed Institute (home of RON at CSUMB), summer migrant education programs, and adult education programs at the Salinas Adult School. Emily also did some of the financial planning, grant writing, reporting, data collection, and program evaluation tasks that will be helpful in her new Director position. Before that, she was the Program Director at Recruitment in Science Education (RISE), Division of Science and Environmental Policy, CSU Monterey Bay.
Emily grew up wanting to be an Environmental Educator just like her mom. Emily says, “I am very passionate about getting people out into nature, inspiring love and respect for our environment, which will lead to stewardship of our land, water, and community.” The Watsonville Wetlands Watch feels very fortunate to have found such an outstanding member for our team. Welcome, Emily!
Herbal Uses of Local Plants
The California Poppy, one of the many local medicinal native plants.
Photo by Denise Murphy
Did you know that a tea, or tincture, of Hedge Nettle (Stacys rigida) leaves can be used to reduce headaches, or that a strong tea made from Black Sage (Salvia mellifera) is excellent in cough syrups to suppress that tickle? Learn about the benefits of these plants and others by attending our next Speaker Series event on Wednesday, March 16, when herbalist and teacher Linda Vaughan will discuss the medicinal and other qualities and uses of the native and non-native plants that grow locally. You will even learn to make a tincture and other useful herbal products.
Thank You for Supporting
the Watsonville Wetlands Watch!
Did you make a donation to our year-end appeal? Thank you! Every gift to the Wetlands Watch brings good things to our community; fascinating lectures and tours, youth education and leadership programs, and of course, vital wetlands restoration. We are excited about all the ways your gift of support will be put to work in the year ahead. Thank you for being our valued partner in the wetlands.
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.