Fifth Graders Experience
Spring Cycles of Restoration Field Trips
Amesti 5th Grader framing the view at the Observation Station
This past month, on our biannual Cycles of Restoration field trips, 150 fifth-grade students from Amesti and MacQuiddy Elementary Schools visited the Watsonville Slough Ecological Reserve for their second visit this school year. Right off the bus, students were awed by the changes they saw from their first visit back in October. What a difference some rain can make on a wetland — green everywhere, with high water levels and lots of squishy, shoe caking, mud! Students excitedly rotated through docent-led water quality, birding, observation, and habitat restoration stations, making fall to spring habitat observations. Critter highlights included a resident white-tailed kite, which arrived on cue as Wetlands Watch Education Specialist Hugo Ceja started his introduction, a white pelican and several pacific chorus frogs that were reluctantly coaxed out of their cozy gopher holes. Thank you to the excellent docents who led stations, and to our classroom teachers who prepared their students for their wetland excursions and will be bringing the wetlands home to their classrooms. For nearly all of these students, these seasonal experiences are their first time truly understanding the great expanse of Pajaro Valley wetlands and the rich web of life they support!
Herbal Uses of Local Plants
Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), one of the many local
medicinal native plants. Photo: Curtis Clark
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.
Past Restoration Specialist John Moreno with his niece, Brownie Scout
More than two hundred enthusiastic volunteers turned out for our sunny World Wetlands Day event in early February. Over 900 native plants were planted along Struve Slough within the first half hour of the event, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the event’s lively music, kid’s activities, birding walks, and food. The Watsonville Wetlands Watch and our co-sponsors, the City of Watsonville, were pleased by the large turnout and the community spirit exhibited by all. To learn more about our event, read the following account from the Sentinel by clicking here or watch the TV coverage on KSBW by clicking here. We would like to offer a hearty “Thank You” to all the volunteers who helped make this day a big success!
With increasing restoration work and demand for greater numbers of native plants, our native plant nursery is rarely quiet these days. Taryn Dunivant, a UCSC work study intern, has recently joined our nursery production team to help grow the thousands of native plants needed to improve the sloughs habitats and support Watsonville greening projects this year. Taryn is an Environmental Studies major in her first semester at UCSC and has been working in the horticultural field for many years in the Los Angeles area. Taryn started working for Watsonville Wetlands Watch to gain hands-on experience in environmental restoration and native plant nursery production. She aspires be a paleobotanist and hopes her experience working the Watsonville wetlands will help her along her career path. Taryn shares, Ive learned so much more about the incredible amount of planning and preparation that goes into the restoration process. Each step along the way is filled with so many interesting details that make the end result a success. Taryn is a stellar addition to our restoration team.
Circumnavigation Tour of the Wetlands
On Saturday, April 23, join veteran Watsonville Wetlands Watch board members and wetlands experts Jim Van Houten and Bob Culbertson on a grand tour of the wetlands, where you will visit spots rarely seen by the public. You will discover how this extensive freshwater wetland system fits together, learn about the history of conservation, and be able to do a little birding at these scenic spots. This tour is great for beginners and experts alike. Jim Van Houten recently was honored by a City of Watsonville proclamation naming Feb. 2 as Jim Van Houten and World Wetlands Day. The tour will start at 9 a.m. and last until noon. Meet at the Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions) and break into carpools for this driving and walking tour. The tour is free but space is limited. Register by clicking here. If you have questions, contact Kathy Fieberling, 831-345-1226, email@example.com.
Monterey Bay Birding Festival:
Call for Volunteers
The 2016 Monterey Bay Birding Festival, taking place September 23 - 25, 2016, will offer exciting new field trips, workshops, speakers, youth, and community events. The Festival’s energetic Planning Committee has already hit the ground running to make this the best festival yet!
Many dedicated volunteers and docents help with the festival each year. Once again, they need your help with a diverse set of volunteer opportunities. In particular, they have three important coordinator positions that need a leader to participate in the advance festival planning, including Vendor Coordinator, Facilities Coordinator, and Co-Festival Director. Detailed information for each of these positions is available so if you are interested in one of these or any other position, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It might seem daunting, but don’t worry because you’ll be working with a seasoned group of festival coordinators who will help make your area of responsibility a success. For more information about the Monterey Bay Birding Festival please visit the website at http://montereybaybirding.org/. Thank you!
Fourth Saturday Community Restoration Day
Volunteers make a difference by helping to restore our wetlands
We invite you to help restore wetland habitat by planting native plants and removing exotic invasive plants as part of our monthly community work day on March 26. We will work from 9 a.m. to noon, and we always make time for birding or a short hike around the wetlands. We supply the gloves, tools, and a snack. Meet at our Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (map/directions). If you have questions, please contact Mary Paul at email@example.com or 831-566-4938.
Celebrate Spring with
the Watsonville Wetlands Watch!
Gray Fox pups, photo by Gary Kittleson
Spring is in the Air! Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, life is being reborn all around us! Why not join us in this glorious celebration of nature by supporting the Watsonville Wetlands Watch. We offer many ways to combine one's love of the environment with meaningful community action. Come to a Restoration Saturday, join a tour, attend a lecture, or help propagate native plants. And if you can, please support the Wetlands Watch with a contribution. Your gift of any size is important to us, and every gift is multiplied many times over by the work of dedicated volunteers. Thank you for being a part of our growing family.
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.