What is the water cycle? How do human and natural forces like erosion, sedimentation and non-point source pollution impact our watershed? What happens to water after it goes down the drain? Thanks to a grant from the Packard Foundation, Ohlone Elementary‘s fourth and fifth graders will be learning the answers to these questions through participation in experiments and a series of field trips to nearby wetlands and a water treatment facility.
San Lorenzo Valley students have a chance to use water chemistry equipment to measure the health of Fall Creek by measuring parameters like dissolved oxygen, transparency, electrical conductivity, temperature and pH. Students learn about river ecology and how rocks and gravel provide important habitat for benthic macro-invertebrates and a safe place for endangered steelhead trout to lay their eggs. The City of Santa Cruz has funded this program, called the Santa Cruz Watershed Education and Outreach program to connect students with the San Lorenzo Valley watershed.
The Capitola Storm Water and Education Program gives New Brighton Middle School‘s sixth graders the chance to learn about storm water-specific issues. They discover the smaller waterways that feed Soquel Creek and they find out how chemicals enter their local streams. Students also learn various ways to reduce the use and impact of these pollutants. Students participate in a series of field activities at Noble Gulch Park including identifying a “Mystery Pollutant”.