This past week was finals week at Cal State Monterey Bay, so now that I finished up my school work, I was eager to go visit Watsonville. Last year I spent a lot of time volunteering in the city of Watsonville. Although it is part of Santa Cruz Count, is right next door to the slough and home to a couple of sloughs that at one point use to connect to the main channel of Elkhorn Slough.
Back in February/March, Hugo and I were in a advanced volunteer training class at Elkhorn. One of the classes was a teacher training class, where we took a tour of the slough with some teachers hoping to bring their students on a field trip here someday. Lucky for us, we had some teachers from the Santa Cruz area that gave us some places to check out that would be willing to have us present at. One of those places was the Patrick J Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center. Located adjacent to the Watsonville High School, the center overlooks the wetlands of the area. This past weekend, they had an open house, where the community was invited to check out the center. The center is open on Saturdays from noon to five, operating at the same time as a “mercado” was going on right outside the parking lot. Volunteers said that they get almost all of their Latino visitors coming from the mercado, bringing their kids into the center, before going home. I just though that having the center open at the same time as the mercado was a really smart way to get people to go visit.
By visiting the center, I got a really good idea at how to possibly hold a family event at the slough. They had tables with coloring pages, great books in spanish that were about the slough. There were about five volunteers at the center that also spoke Spanish, so that was really convenient. Those that went to visit the center could also use a water quality toolkit and visit the greenhouse. I got some great contacts, and was even told that they have a lecture series in the summer that I hope to do a presentation for them in the future. Visiting the center was great, and I am looking forward to connecting with the community around the slough.