The Coastal Watershed Council’s Watershed Rangers youth education program has three core tenets: (1) Explore the San Lorenzo River, (2) Learn ways to protect the San Lorenzo River, and (3) Share what you have learned with others.
During the 2022-2023 school year, CWC’s Watershed Rangers education team, Maria Rocha and Sam Adelson, led four After School Academy (ASA) cohorts split between Bay View Elementary and Gault Elementary Schools. In total, Maria and Sam taught 48 ASA lessons to 73 ASA students, including 16 field trips to explore and protect the San Lorenzo River, and facilitated action projects so that every Watershed Rangers ASA student could share what they have learned with others.
Maria and Sam lead experiments and connections to the river through the finding of aquatic insects.
When Maria and Sam heard that Christine Barrington of KSQD 90.7 ‘s Talk of the Bay, was interested in helping elevate Watershed Rangers’ voices and their messages of river protection through the public airwaves, it was clear that this was going to be the action project of all action projects! Maria created a worksheet to help our ASA students reflect on their favorite things about the San Lorenzo River and the ways they learned to protect it, and Sam transferred those ideas onto poster paper for more accessible reading at the San Lorenzo River on action project day.
Different prompts created by the students from the worksheet they completed.
With patience, a friendly demeanor and a recording device, Christine Barrington met Sam, Maria, and a squad of Watershed Rangers on our final field trips of the ASA season. What happens next is not written here but is to be heard. Using the link below, listen and learn from our community’s youth about how to love and protect the San Lorenzo River.
ASA students waving to the San Lorenzo River at one of our field trips.
Visiting the river for our students is filled with multiple possibilities of connection between them and nature. The students had a blast discovering aquatic insects under algae, skipping rocks, making holes, and connecting with the river. Many students were enthusiastic to spread their appreciation for the river with Christine and their community so we can all do our part to protect the San Lorenzo River. The beautiful thing about being empowered to share your voice is that it spreads to others, and after a while the shy students got the courage to share their voice too! We hope that you feel empowered to hear their voices and be the voice of the river.
This youth empowerment and environmental education program was made possible by Christine Barrington at KSQD Community Radio and funded by the California Natural Resources Agency’s Youth Community Access Grant Program.