Have you been out to a creek in Oakland lately and seen 20 students playing in the creek, like they just won the jack pot? That may have been us!
Back in September of 2010 we began our Watershed Stewardship program, an EPA funded program that has worked with 250 4th to 8th grade students in public schools across Oakland. The curriculum teaches students about what Oakland looked like before the gold rush (massive old growth redwood forests and wet lands that stretched for miles) who lived here (grizzly bear, elk, bobcat, coyote and numbers of Native American tribes), how things have changed, the types of pollutants that are now affecting us here in Oakland, and how these pollutants make their way into our watersheds. The program starts with a history/overview in the classroom, and then takes students by bike, bus or on foot to a local waterway to explore and conduct field studies. At the program’s completion, students perform a stewardship project of their choice. So far, these projects have included marking storm drains, educating neighbors about urban runoff, and planting natives along important but degraded riparian corridors.
This school year we are launching a sister project, the Watershed Ambassadors.
The Watershed Ambassadors are six high school students from Oakland, whom we train in Watershed Stewardship, and who will then join together with the 4th to 8th graders to go out into the community and educate local small businesses and school custodians about their local watershed and how they can prevent storm drain pollution. Small businesses and school custodians who choose to implement a change towards preventing storm drain pollution will receive certificates of recognition for the change they have implemented at work. This certificate will be posted in store fronts and offices for customers and staff to see.
The Oakland neighborhoods we are focusing on are: Fruitvale, China Town, Grand Lake and San Antonio.
Are you interested in being involved? Here’s what we need:
- We are looking for Volunteer Professional Graphic Designers to help us create a picture-based color brochure to educate small businesses and custodians about how storm drains lead to creeks & the bay, what can’t go in storm drains, and what are some alternatives to doing business that won’t cause storm drain pollution;
- Public speaking training for the Watershed Ambassadors;
- Tips on Mentoring for high school students working with elementary and middle school youth;
- Local Businesses who are willing to look over our public education materials and give us feedback;
- Bikes for our six high school interns!
- A digital projector for our classroom and public watershed education presentations.
The Watershed Ambassadors Project is funded by: the Rose Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Alameda County Clean Water Program.
For more information contact: Maya Carson at email@example.com