“It can’t swim anymore!” Swarming around a tupperware container filled with water representing the San Lorenzo River, youth at the Boys and Girls Club excitingly use a turkey baster to remove water from the creek representing the extraction of water from the San Lorenzo River for human use. Slowly as more water is removed, the water level retreats. A wind up toy fish representing threatened steelhead trout is having a harder time swimming. A youth exclaims, “If we continue to take out water from the river, the fish won’t have any left.”

Youth at the Boys and Girls Club now know that their actions are linked to the well-being of the water, the plants and the animals that call the San Lorenzo River home. By investigating the connection between human uses of water and the impact on steelhead habitat, they’re discovering that a fish’s ability to migrate decreases as water levels decrease due to drought and human consumption of water.

As part of CWC’s Watershed Rangers education program, youth are investigating, exploring and identifying actions humans can take to improve the health of the San Lorenzo River and its neighboring creeks. Through a discussion of possible actions that will help humans save water, we hear youth share: “We can take shorter showers!”, “I can save my water to use later.”

These youth can tell you: Take a shorter shower, turn off the water when you are not using it, recycle water for a second use. Everyone can contribute to a healthier San Lorenzo River.

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