Activities

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Animal Spotlight: Benthic Macroinvertebrates

Animal Spotlight: Benthic Macroinvertebrates

Activity Overview Grades: 5th-7thLength of Time: 30 minutes Adult Support Needed?: No Benthic Macroinvertebrates are small animals (usually bugs) that live at the bottom of the San Lorenzo River. Benthic macroinvertebrates are an important food source, help scientists...

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Activity: Neighborhood Trash Study

Activity: Neighborhood Trash Study

Ready to be a scientist? This is your chance to contribute to community science and help collect important data about neighborhood trash levels! You will explore your neighborhood streets and document how much trash you see and learn about the different ways that trash impacts our community and our environment. Then you will tap in to your creative side to draw a Trash Prevention Poster to teach others about the importance of reducing trash pollution.

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Activity: Green Home Detectives

Activity: Green Home Detectives

Explore your home to learn how your family can help reduce waste, save energy and save water. Simple actions such as taking shorter showers or turning the lights off when we leave a room not only helps protect the environment but saves money for our families.

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Activity: Water Level and Steelhead Trout Migration

Activity: Water Level and Steelhead Trout Migration

Here in Santa Cruz, steelhead trout migrate from San Lorenzo River in the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. In this activity, youth will learn about steelhead trout migration and water level needs for each life cycle stage, analyze a USGS hydrograph to learn about seasonal changes in water levels in the San Lorenzo River and combine their knowledge to create a drawing identifying what season we might see each of the steelhead trout life cycle stages.

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Video Storytime: San Lorenzo River Stories of Grandma Steel

Video Storytime: San Lorenzo River Stories of Grandma Steel

Curl up and get cozy, it’s story time! Join a reading of the Coastal Watershed Council’s San Lorenzo River Stories of Grandma Steel, a story about of a spawner steelhead trout named Grandma Steel telling young steelhead trout alevin about the history of the San Lorenzo River and the unique life cycle of the steelhead trout. The video concludes with an opportunity for youth to write down or share with someone else what they learned from the story.

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Activity: Get to Know Your Local Plants

Activity: Get to Know Your Local Plants

Let’s get to know local plants! Local plants, especially native plants, play an important role in helping to protect our local environment, attract pollinators, and of course make our community beautiful. Youth will observe and draw a plant they find in their backyard or neighborhood; observe the differences between a younger and older yarrow plant. They’ll then go on an interactive virtual tour to learn more about native plants calling the San Lorenzo River home and complete the activity by choosing one activity to help protect plants in their community. 

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Interactive Virtual Tour: Native Plants of the San Lorenzo River

Interactive Virtual Tour: Native Plants of the San Lorenzo River

Native plants are an important part of the San Lorenzo River. Join CWC staff Whitney Reynier and Mollie Behn on this interactive virtual tour to learn more about the local plants that call the San Lorenzo River home and why they are so important to protecting the health of the San Lorenzo River.

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Activity: Become a Steelhead Trout Expert

Activity: Become a Steelhead Trout Expert

Steelhead trout are one of the most fascinating fish that live in the San Lorenzo River and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This is your chance to observe their unique life cycle in videos, become an expert on one of their life stages, and create a poster about what you have learned to share with your class, family or friends.

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Interactive Virtual Tour: What Makes a River Healthy?

Interactive Virtual Tour: What Makes a River Healthy?

The San Lorenzo River is an important part of the Santa Cruz community for wildlife, plants and humans. A healthy San Lorenzo River is important for the well-being of our entire community. Join CWC staff Whitney Reynier and Mollie Behn on this interactive virtual tour to learn what makes the San Lorenzo River healthy. You’ll have a chance to learn a bit about the history of the river, observe important features of the river that help make it healthy, and share your ideas either in writing or by drawing.

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Interactive Virtual Tour: Exploring the San Lorenzo River

Interactive Virtual Tour: Exploring the San Lorenzo River

Explore the San Lorenzo River from your home with CWC staff Mollie Behn, Sam Adelson and Whitney Reynier with this interactive virtual tour. Listen to the sounds of the river and observe the plants and animals that call the San Lorenzo River home. You’ll be surprised what you might see and hear.

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Activity: What Makes A River Healthy?

Activity: What Makes A River Healthy?

The San Lorenzo River is our community’s river. Do you know what makes a river healthy and what humans can do to help? Come find out! Explore the river via a virtual tour, observe a river illustration to identify healthy and unhealthy parts of the river, and then take action by choosing to either paint a picture of a healthy river or survey your neighborhood for sources of pollution.

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Activity: Saving Water, Saving Fish

Activity: Saving Water, Saving Fish

We all live in a watershed and we all need water to live and grow. Explore how both steelhead trout and humans depend on water and how humans can help save water to protect steelhead trout. You will build a model, watch a Coastal Watershed Council guided virtual tour of the San Lorenzo River, and then create a poster to help teach people to save water.

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Activity: Nature’s Water Filter

Activity: Nature’s Water Filter

Ready for some fun? Let’s clean our water the way nature does, using rocks, pebbles and sand. In this activity, you will investigate the differences between permeable and impermeable materials, learn about the importance of reducing stormwater runoff, and build a water filter using just sand, soil and cotton balls. 

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Activity: Neighborhood Pollution Prevention

Activity: Neighborhood Pollution Prevention

Get out and explore your neighborhood to learn about stormwater runoff and water pollution. Survey your neighborhood for signs of pollution and then learn how you can help prevent that pollution from getting into our storm drains, rivers and the Monterey Bay.

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Activity: Let’s Stop Erosion Design Challenge

Activity: Let’s Stop Erosion Design Challenge

Ready for a challenge? Let’s stop stream bank erosion. Erosion is the movement of soil and sand from one place to another. You will investigate the causes of erosion, learn about tools to stop erosion and then design your very own tool to help stop erosion. 

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Activity: Only Rain Down the Storm Drain

Activity: Only Rain Down the Storm Drain

Want to help keep rivers clean and learn about your neighborhood at the same time? Investigate your neighborhood to find the nearest storm drain. Storm drains drain water from storms to prevent streets from flooding. Learn why it is important to keep storm drains clean and take action by teaching others about why it is important to only have rain go down our storm drains.

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Activity: The River Ecosystem

Activity: The River Ecosystem

Get to know the different types of native plants that support a healthy river ecosystem. Want to know which plants help steelhead? You’ll learn that! Want to know which plants are pollinator favorites? You’ll learn that too! Many of these plants can also be found elsewhere in Santa Cruz County – maybe you will recognize plants that also live in your neighborhood.

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Activity: Become a Naturalist

Activity: Become a Naturalist

Build your skills as a community scientist and learn how to observe and document wildlife and plants you see along the San Lorenzo River, in your yard or in your neighborhood. This activity is a great way to spend time outside and build your connection with the natural world through the power of observation.

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Activity: Santa Cruz Riverwalk Scavenger Hunt

Activity: Santa Cruz Riverwalk Scavenger Hunt

Are you looking for a fun and easy way to engage your kids in nature? Walk or bike to the Santa Cruz Riverwalk. While visiting this 5-mile loop around the lower San Lorenzo River, be on the lookout for the items on the scavenger hunt and more! It’s a great way to get moving with your kids, especially by bicycle or scooter, as it’s a paved, car-free loop.

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Activity: San Lorenzo River Through Time

Activity: San Lorenzo River Through Time

Step into someone else’s shoes and imagine life along the San Lorenzo River. Stand by the river’s banks and picture the river before the levees were built to contain its floodwaters. Imagine the sights, sounds and smells of the river, and the neighborhoods along it, including Santa Cruz’s final Chinatown.

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Activity: A Clean River Starts On Your Street

Activity: A Clean River Starts On Your Street

People, plants and animals all need clean water to survive. What makes water dirty often comes from our own homes. As it rains, these pollutants from your yard and street wash into storm drains and into your nearest river. In this activity, you’ll learn to spot some common sources of pollution that come from our own homes and neighborhoods. Give it a try!

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Activity: A Healthy River

Activity: A Healthy River

Did you know that threatened and endangered species of fish in the San Lorenzo River rely on the same water that you do? The more water you use, the less there is for these critical species of fish. There are so many things you can do for a cleaner, healthier San Lorenzo River. Complete this activity to learn 10 different ways that you can help your river!

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