The Watershed Project’s Online Resources
As we prepare to enter our third month of sheltering in place, it is becoming increasingly apparent that human beings crave connection, both to each other and to the natural world around us. In these trying times, TWP has been focused on building resources to help you stay healthy, stay connected with your community, and build self-sufficiency together.
Community Science Initiatives
In response to the current social distancing and shelter-in-place mandate for the state of California, The Watershed Project is unable to conduct much of our work with volunteers this spring. That being said, our effects have not halted but are merely shifting, and you can help contribute to our data while sheltering in place! We invite you to join our do-it-yourself Community Science Campaigns (detailed below) to stay healthy and connected with our communities, as well as build self-sufficiency together.
- Trash Monitoring: While the big volunteering events for Earth Day were cancelled this year, you can still do your part in taking care of the earth, right from your neighborhood. By using Earth Team’s platform for NOAA’s Marine Debris Tracker app, you can enter details on the types of trash you pick up in your neighborhood, which will ultimately help us identify trash hotspots which will later be displayed on an interactive map. Act locally to clean up the earth!
- Creek Monitoring: Do you live near a creek or water body? Help contribute to data on creeks in Contra Costa County by filling out a brief observation form and submitting it to TWP. Your data will be added to the data we collect and be uploaded to the California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN) so that we can have a better understanding of the health of our urban creeks.
- Biodiversity Monitoring: Have you been noticing more birds, insects or other wildlife in your backyard lately? Contribute your bird and pollinator sightings to our projects on iNaturalist, and help track how nature is responding to the shelter in place.
Please visit our Community Science page for more information about these projects. We hope to be back to our regular monitoring with volunteers in the fall, and you can reach out to Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Virtual Classrooms for Kids
Through our new online Community Resilience from Home curriculum, TWP’s Education Team helps students understand that physical distancing doesn’t have to mean isolation, because we all remain connected through our watershed. We believe that understanding, exploration, observation and appreciation of the local watershed can help students feel rooted in place while broadening their perspective beyond daily stress and anxiety.
Our K-12 programs include Watershed Awareness from Home (for elementary), Understanding Ecosystems from Home (for middle school), and Climate Change & Community Resilience from Home (for high school), and are available at no cost to Bay Area students, families, and teachers. The courses include video demonstrations from TWP educators, interactive activities to complete online, and outdoor observation and journaling activities. To date, the curriculum is being used by over 500 Bay Area students, and TWP educators are providing support by giving feedback and grading assignments online, teaching students directly through Zoom or similar platforms, and working with teachers to adapt the curriculum to their needs. Visit our Virtual Classroom to learn more about our programs.
We invite you to take collective political action with us, from the safety of home! Help us to address political issues surrounding nature-based climate solutions as we seek to protect against adverse environmental impacts, support renewable energy development, keep drinking water clean, and hold companies accountable for the waste they create. Visit our Collective Action page to write and send postcards to your representatives today.