This fall, the Coastal Watershed Council welcomed Maria Rocha as our new Environmental Educator! Already, Maria has led engaging classroom lessons, field trips and after-school programs with our Watershed Rangers program. In her role, she engages elementary school-aged youth in hands-on lessons and explorations. First, by supporting them in building their own connection to and curiosity about the natural world, before teaching them about scientific concepts and actions we can all take to protect our environment. You’ll find Maria teaching in schools across Santa Cruz County, working in partnership with classroom teachers, school administrators and our partners at Environmental Innovations as together, we support schools in becoming Green School certified.

Learn more about Maria’s own journey to becoming an educator, and join us in welcoming Maria to the CWC team!

Since starting at the Coastal Watershed Council this fall, I have felt endlessly welcomed and supported as I learn from my colleagues and our partners in our work. As Environmental Educator, I get to share my passion with elementary school students who have that spark of wanting to learn and inspire those around them. When you inspire a kid, they want to tell everyone they meet, from a kid in another grade to a cashier at a store. And they really absorb the fact that we all have an impact on the environment.


I joined CWC after working previously with the Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Return of the Natives, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, organizations which all inspired me to become an Environmental Educator. All three organizations focus on different environmental locations (i.e. wetlands, dunes, ocean), but all of them had a way of conveying conservation in a way that stuck. Seeing the staff so energetic and excited to meet new groups of people to teach them with games, presentations, heartfelt stories, and so much more opened my eyes into the possibility of being an educator one day.


Now that I am in the position of an educator, the biggest thing I am hoping to pass onto the next generation is that no matter what age you are, you can make a difference! You are powerful individuals with unique stories and when you care about something you care about (i.e. rivers, lakes, fish, tadpoles, etc.), you will protect what you love.

– Maria Rocha, CWC Environmental Educator

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