This summer, as the Coastal Watershed Council’s education program runs in-person field study trips along the San Lorenzo River with youth from local school and community groups, we also take time to reflect on the past school year. One for the record books.
With a goal of supporting teachers in any possible way that CWC could, to help support the social and emotional learning of local youth and to keep science education and environmental stewardship on the classroom agenda, CWC’s Watershed Rangers education program morphed based on feedback from teachers, other education professionals and students themselves.
Why is groundwater important?
Despite the uncertainty and a multitude of challenges, the Coastal Watershed Council found immense success during this school year! Through an incredible recruitment effort spearheaded by Mollie Behn, CWC Education Manager, and word of mouth amongst schools and teacher networks, over 80 teachers from 19 different local schools signed up for our grade- and topic-specific virtual lesson series this school year. This resulted in the swearing-in of nearly 2,000 Watershed Rangers students from Davenport to Watsonville, Santa Cruz to Boulder Creek who successfully completed a CWC lesson series!
How do plants help keep the San Lorenzo River clean?
CWC created hyperdocs, worksheets and YouTube videos to support students in engaging with CWC educator-led virtual classroom visits and asynchronous at-home activities. To ensure youth know they matter and that their actions make a difference, CWC’s lesson series culminates with students planning and completing a stewardship action project. This year saw the creation of 1,200 meaningful action projects ranging from hand drawn models of pollution prevention inventions to student videos with tips on water conservation and other ways we can all protect steelhead trout habitat and the San Lorenzo River.
Green engineering for stormwater solutions
Like everyone, the Coastal Watershed Council team was not immune to bandwidth issues during Zoom calls, broken links to websites or talking with the mute button turned on. Nevertheless, this school year brought opportunities for young Watershed Rangers to feel equipped and empowered to make a difference for their San Lorenzo River or for whatever their passion may be. With a suite of new virtual education materials, lessons learned and the incredible support of local schools and teachers, we are looking forward to next school year and the opportunities it will bring.
Thank you to the City of Santa Cruz Watershed Resources Management, City of Santa Cruz CORE Investments, County of Santa Cruz’s Green Schools Program, and NOAA’s Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) for their generous funds and partnership in ensuring youth in Santa Cruz County had the opportunity to explore, learn about and protect their watersheds this school year.