On behalf of the Coastal Watershed Council, I want to congratulate each of the brilliant students in Ms. Zúñiga’s dual-language kindergarten class at DeLaveaga Elementary for achieving the highly coveted status of Watershed Ranger! These amazing youngsters recently completed one of the Coastal Watershed Council’s comprehensive lesson series, “We All Live in a Watershed.” The series focuses on how our local human community uses water and where it comes from, as well as the importance of the water in our rivers for all of the other community members in the region (plants and animals).

Students played games, used scientific discovery and observation and visit the notion that humans represent only a fraction of the organisms that depend on a healthy streamflow.Sitting (squirming, really), students watched videos about the life cycle of a Steelhead trout. Using a turkey baster, students pumped water from small aquariums with plastic fish to mimic the impacts of humans using too much water from our San Lorenzo River. “My fish are dying!” students exclaimed after we imagined the potential effects of forgetting to turn off our sink before leaving for school (their idea, not mine). Students played games, acting as predators uncovering nutritious fish eggs (small foam basketballs) hidden underneath the playground’s wood chips. Students explored how the water they use gets from its source to the tap. We even made up a little dance to go along with it!

For the last lesson in the series, students took a field trip to the lower San Lorenzo River and used science tools to catch and investigate benthic macroinvertebrates (“water bugs”) in the lower San Lorenzo River. The discussion of how and why to save water in our community was ongoing throughout the lesson series, and as official Watershed Rangers, these kindergarteners promise to continue this dialogue with family and friends.

As the Coastal Watershed Council’s new Environmental Educator, I feel so grateful to have had the pleasure of working with these incredible kids for my first official start-to-finish CWC lesson series. A huge shout out and thank you to Maestra Zúñiga, ultra supportive classroom aides, and the parents of these students for fostering the growth of our newest Watershed Rangers.

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