The 2017-2018 year has been “the best year yet” for The Watershed Project’s education programming according to more than one of our teacher partners. We are thrilled to be wrapping up another great school year and heading into a busy summer of taking youth outdoors! We served over 1600 students, led 25 field trips and taught lessons on topics such as climate change, sea level rise, shoreline ecosystems and green infrastructure.
Our Wild Oysters program, supported through BWET funding from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration and the National Marine Sanctuaries, continued to grow in popularity, with 513 students and a large waitlist. In boots and waders, students explored the often unknown shoreline and intertidal ecosystem, and had fun in the mud while finding tiny Olympia oysters. This year we provided additional oyster curriculum to participating teachers so that students could deepen their understanding of oyster biology, climate change and ecosystem resilience. Once again we worked with our partners at Hog Island Oyster Company to bring students to Tomales Bay to learn about oyster farming and, of course, to taste oysters! We also mentored a Wild Oysters intern, Adam Weaver, who “was able to gain valuable experience through…helping educate high school and middle school students on Olympia Oysters and their role in the San Francisco Bay.” To learn more about the Wild Oysters program, check out our featured programs page.
We piloted a brand-new program called Explore Your Watershed with 60 5th grade students. The goal of this program is for students to explore their watershed from the top of the hills and headwaters to the Bay shoreline, comparing and contrasting creek and shoreline ecosystems–and visiting both of these habitats. We built this program around the idea that repeated experiences in natural spaces can lead toward both increased connection to nature and to future stewardship. We hope to bring this program to additional schools and students next year, so let us know if you would like to join us!
In other news, we combined our long-standing Bye Bye Basura and Waste Matters programs into a new K-12 program called From Me to the Sea, focusing on our connection to watersheds and the ocean with a particular lens on marine debris, waste and solutions to these issues. We brought over 100 underserved students to Redwood Regional and Wildcat Canyon Parks through our Kids in Creeks program and educated nearly 300 students on watershed function and green infrastructure as part of our Rains to Roots program. We are excited to announce that we are partnering with the Richmond Recreation Department this summer to offer field trips to 150 3rd-6th graders who will be attending Richmond community center summer camps.
The education team also spent time this year developing our Theory of Change, following the guidelines put forth during a ChangeScale training. Look for more information about what we figured out in next month’s newsletter!
Want to help us bring students to local parks? You can! Just click here to donate and help pay for a bus! $110 will pay for one discounted bus (we receive a limited number each year) and $800 will pay for one full-priced bus, however, any amount helps us continue to provide our high quality programs to underserved students at no cost. Thank you for your support!
From all of us on the TWP Ed Team, have a great summer and don’t forget to get outside!
— Nikki, Anne and Phaela