This past week The Watershed Project had our annual holiday party, in which we all hopped on Zoom to discuss holiday food traditions, to play a blind drawing contest game, to open our secret santa gifts (which produced many cackles!), and to share an immense amount of gratitude amongst ourselves for the hard work we accomplished this year to adapt in more ways than we thought imaginable. That being said, we have also had some pretty powerful moments of pause — time for reflection and visioning that has allowed us to grow in ways that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
We want to extend the same gratitude that we shared at our holiday party to our community and all of our partners and supporters who help make our visions possible. Our supporters help us bring on the changes we need to fulfill our commitment to collaborating with community members in becoming more resilient as individuals and as a community. We do this through a variety of programs about watershed awareness, green infrastructure, and connection with nature.
Our #GivingTuesday fundraiser secured $10,732 of our $10,000 match! So our generous anonymous donor has raised the goal to $25,000 by December 31! Read on to see the impact that your gifts have made for our many community partners this year, and how you can support this vital work and help us meet our $25,000 Year-End goal.
Thank you to all of you that have made a gift to help us end the year with momentum!
Watershed Education and Resilience
Normally, we would be bringing hundreds of students to regional parks and other natural places around the SF Bay Area as part of our “building resilience through nature” mindset. We are excited for when we can safely do this again! Until then, we have created hundreds of physical material kits for students to have the offline tools and guidance at their fingertips to go to nearby nature following pandemic safety protocols. We understand that access to technology can be challenging for many students and at the same time, screen-time overload is fatiguing, so these kits provide opportunities to learn in nature, off-screen. Here is some inspiring feedback from students who have been participating in our new distance-learning programming over the spring, summer, and fall of 2020:
“My favorite part about this unit was how I got to go outside, a relief from the inside world of quarantine.”
“I liked nature journaling because when I was outside and taking in my local ecosystem, I felt very peaceful…This unit really made me feel more grateful for my surroundings.”
“The thing I liked best about the unit was finding and identifying a plant. It was really cool to go outside and look for a plant, my mom and I went on a walk to find one. Once I got pictures and details, the cooler part was going onto the internet to be a plant detective. The feeling I got when I was sure I had identified my plant was awesome!”
The time and effort to compile these materials is considerable., Our team has sent out student learning kits that contain homemade green infrastructure models, bee boxes, nature journals, and lab materials, and we have developed games, and so much more that all add up – will you support our effort to provide materials for students to have fun and learn outside?
Learning How to Build a Vegetable Garden: Building Resilience From Home
As the economic downturn impacts neighborhoods that we often work with, places that are already under-resourced, food deserts, and suffer from systemic racism, we consulted with our Block Ambassadors in West Contra Costa County to find out what we could do? How about sourcing starter kits for vegetable gardens in small spaces? What better way to fight looming food insecurity while bringing joy and greenery to homes and patios!There was a Bay Area shortage of starter plants and soil, but our resourceful staff took on the task of sourcing seeds, starter plants, soil, and containers to provide complete starter kits. With our Block Ambassadors’ help, so far The Watershed Project has provided kits to 70 families in three North Richmond neighborhoods. Please make a gift so we can continue this project!
“What a great idea to provide vegetable garden plants to people so that they can grow their own food! I am very happy to have been involved in this project…thank you!”Maria Isabel Guevara, Block Ambassador and Liaison for Backyard Gardens for Resilience.
Hope Gardens: Building Community and Ecosystem Resilience
We’ve also been busy building Hope Gardens with our neighborhood partners: transforming sidewalk median strips in North Richmond from neglected, often trash-strewn spaces, to beautiful, drought-tolerant habitats. So far, we’ve planted 10. Will you help us plant more?
“It’s just nice to walk out and see plants instead of garbage.”Aminah Dos, Hope Garden recipient
Here are some of the many benefits of urban greening:
- These spaces foster a sense of home-pride for the residents who adopt them.
- The water-wise gardens are easy to care for and create habitat for pollinators and birds.
- The Hope Gardens enhance walkability and encourage people to spend time outside, getting to know their neighbors and together, making their community a better place to live.
There are still many more exciting projects in the works at The Watershed Project, which we often share in our Ebb and Flow newsletter — if you haven’t already signed up (if you are reading this article from our website, not your inbox), take the opportunity now so you can read stories about how your support makes our work have impact, and the greater San Francisco Bay Area community! We really cannot thank you enough for your generosity.
Our SF Bay Area communities of students, parents, and teachers have turned to our online environmental education programs in greater numbers. And the neighborhoods we work with in West Contra Costa are asking for more help to make neighborhoods healthier, more resilient.
We need your help to stay afloat and to make our efforts go even further. You can make your donation help even more by giving monthly and spreading it over the year.
We all have a stake in making our shared San Francisco Bay Watershed a special place for our communities to thrive. A gift of any level makes a huge difference.
Again, thank you from all of us at The Watershed Project!
P.S. Your $50 donation will purchase the materials for 1 Vegetable Starter Garden; $100 will provide hands-on Environmental Education project kits for elementary students; $250 pays for the plants for 1 Hope Garden; $500 Adopt-A-Tree: sponsor one tree sapling, permits, soil prep, and planting; while $1,000 provides a Teacher training plus lab supplies for one high school class to participate in our new Ocean Acidification and Resilience Program.