When students finish CWC’s Watershed Rangers environmental education program, they raise their hand and take a pledge:
“As a Watershed Ranger, I promise to protect and care for our community and the San Lorenzo River. I promise to continue to explore the San Lorenzo River, ask what I can do to help out and share what I know with others.”
Watershed Rangers take their pledge seriously. Right away, students receive a wooden badge that many of them pin to their backpacks or their jackets and proudly show off to friends, family and classmates every day. And over the years, we see Watershed Rangers continuing to care for their community and the San Lorenzo River, and sharing what they know with others.
In February, one Watershed Ranger, Rocket, attended the Beach Flats Cleanup in his neighborhood. Alongside his family, neighbors and fellow volunteers, he helped to clean up 22.5 pounds of trash. Through his education in the Watershed Rangers program and the litter he observed in his neighborhood, Rocket knew that picking up and preventing nonpoint source pollution was one of the best ways he could help keep water clean in the San Lorenzo River and Monterey Bay. As the cleanup concluded, Rocket had an idea! He asked if he could take doggie bag holders to each of his neighbors, so that they could more easily pick up after pets in the neighborhood, and prevent bacteria from polluting local waterways.
Every year, over 2,500 Watershed Rangers take this pledge. Imagine what the future of Santa Cruz might look like as youth protect and care for their community and as they continue to explore the San Lorenzo River, ask what they can do to help out and share what they know with others. All thanks to the support of donors like you! We also acknowledge Nueva Vista Community Resources for partnering together on after-school programming since 2013 and appreciate the support of the City of Santa Cruz, the Rose Foundation for Communities and Environment, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation who all make this work possible.