Every fall, twelve students, get to participate in the Wetland Steward Program through the Watsonville Wetlands Watch.
Every fall twelve students are accepted into our Wetland Stewards Program. Students apply to the program in the spring and begin training two weeks before school starts in August. The program provides the students with an experience that is both educational and transformational. Throughout the coming school year, Wetland Stewards will spend 64 hours engaging with 400 different elementary and middle school students from the Pajaro Valley. Wetland Stewards are able to gain valuable field experience while introducing younger students to the importance of a healthy wetland system.
We recently asked three of our Wetland Stewards, Sophomore Josue Vega, Junior Daisy Leal, and Senior Daniel Rocha a few questions so that we could get to know them a little better.
What motivated or inspired you to join the Wetland Steward program?
Josue: I was in Green Careers last year and Stephanie the Education Specialist encouraged me to try it out. I also like to have a positive impact on others.
Daisy: I was in the WATCH program last year and enjoyed being outside in nature and learned about the sloughs. For me, this is the next step of in-depth learning about the wetlands. We get more time outdoors to explore.
Daniel: I live very close to the wetlands and go running on the paths that surround them, so I thought, why not learn more about them. I can still remember when they built the Harkins Slough Bridge.
What is your favorite activity that you’ve done so far?
Josue: Teaching the kids are my favorite. I’ve never had any younger siblings so it’s really fun for me. They look up to you, so it’s an opportunity to show them new things and make an impression.
Daisy: Learning more each time with the kids. We learn different ways to teach the same things and this helps us to keep the kids interested and focused on what they’re learning on the field trips.
Daniel: Meeting Patrick Orozco and learning about the Native Americans that still live here and used to live here. We learned what plants they used for healing and how they used different resources to thrive.
What are you looking forward to and really excited about?
Josue: The Elkhorn Slough Safari slough tour. It’s a flat barge and we won’t be out on the ocean. I get seasick, so it will be nice to be on the water without feeling nauseous.
Daisy: I’m looking forward to our P-Trip. A P-Trip is where we pick a location that starts with a “P.” We will be able to spend the day there exploring the environment. We don’t know the exact location yet, so that makes it exciting. I’m also looking forward to learning more about the birds of the wetlands; why they are here and where they are at different times of the year.
Daniel: I’m looking forward to gaining more knowledge about the impact humans have on the slough system and also having a bigger picture of how the wetland system benefits us.
Be sure to stop by and say hello to these remarkable students next time you’re visiting the WERC.