The Coastal Watershed Council operates Watershed Rangers youth field trips to the San Lorenzo River. These trips are incredible opportunities to bring local youth to sites along the lower San Lorenzo that CWC has been visiting for years and considers an extension of our office.  

Memorable summer field trips along the San Lorenzo River 

Although CWC staff certainly feel comfortable along the River’s edge, youth who are new to Watershed Rangers field trips to the San Lorenzo River can feel timid in this unfamiliar setting at first, where surging tides, uneven riverbanks and dramatic wildlife appear ever-changing and unpredictable. Naturally, it can take a little while to calm the nerves in a new place. Kids are resilient though, and always leave the River laughing and smiling. Recently, however, the tables turned and it was CWC Educators Maria Rocha and Sam Adelson who were stepping cautiously into a new environment. 

According to plan, Sam and Maria daringly ventured for the first time this school year into an ever-changing and dynamic ecosystem with which they have limited experience. The diverse wildlife appears unpredictable in this ecosystem too. Their shrill calls can be heard from a far distance, difficult to decipher. The wildlife here doesn’t have feathers or scales, but instead wears sneakers, friendship bracelets and t-shirts covered in emojis!  

 First graders last school year learning about runoff and pollution prevention.

It seems like an eternity since Watershed Rangers was in action on local school campuses. It’s been four long months since the end of last school year and the wait is finally over! This week, CWC Educators Maria Rocha and Sam Adelson polished their nametags, pinned their coveted Watershed Rangers badges to their shirts and stepped foot on school campuses in Santa Cruz to officially launch our 2022-2023 school year programs!

After years and years of engaging with thousands upon thousands of students, CWC is a familiar name on most elementary school campuses in the Santa Cruz area, which was evident as students called out to us when they figured out who we were, rushing to stick their hands out for fist bumps and high fives.  

“I still have my Watershed Rangers badge!” exclaims a 2nd grader at Bay View who earned their first badge last year as a 1st grader. 

“I have two of them!” shares a 3rd grader. 

Art, conservation, and science overlap as Watershed Rangers study the life cycle of steelhead trout. 

The Coastal Watershed Council believes deeply in our community’s youth- Not just because they will grow up to make a difference in the world as adults, but because they can make a difference in the world and for the San Lorenzo River today.   

This work is made possible because of generous funding and support from Santa Cruz County’s CORE and Green Schools Programs. Thank you for your continued dedication to environmental education and strong, healthy communities.   

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