Hello everyone: I wanted this blog to be about one event that is increasing in importance; Earth day. (Yes, I’m pretty sure you have either heard or even joined in earth day marches, and I think in their own way, different organizations are committed to outreach and education). Today was the earth day celebration at Watsonville, and while I can start at the beginning to tell you about getting to Elkhorn slough, packing up everything … I want to concentrate on the actual communication between the public, and just- how much fun it was!!
The Elkhorn Slough booth consisted mainly of a small matching game where we had four species at Elkhorn Slough and matching pictures to what they eat and their habitat, while also providing brochures and map of the slough. Communicating with the public was so great- I had kids that finished the game in a matter of seconds, while others would smile and point to the sea otter asking what it was. There were parents that were so familiarized with the slough they felt like it was their backyard, while most would actually state “it’s good to know about areas like this because sometimes we don’t even know..” I actually had one visitor comment that even though they had lived in Watsonville, they didn’t even know until high school about the Watsonville wetlands. The Watsonville wetlands are a series of freshwater sloughs that together compromise the second largest freshwater slough system in the US… and to live so close and yet be so far or even oblivious of such a beautiful and amazing habitat/resource is truly shocking. That’s a huge reason why I think informing the public is so important; because if they don’t know, they can’t enjoy.. and if they can’t enjoy, they won’t find a reason to conserve.. (I’m starting to sound like “if you give a mouse a cookie, haha)… and if they don’t find a reason to conserve…nothing might get done. And we are living in a time that doing things seems to be crucial and more necessary than ever before; especially when it involves the environment. And so, while I was out there.. calling kids over to play and losing my voice.. walking around and taking to the WATCH program kids.. saying hi to previous intern and current mentor Daniel at his own booth… we are all parts and branches that network together for a larger purpose of helping the environment. And if you stay long enough to listen, you can hear this resound in almost all of the public. Elderly men saying that it’s important to conserve areas, and parents excited about having a place for family time that cost less than taking their family out to eat. I had women laughing as I mentioned fruits from the hills of Mexico, and reminiscing of their childhood in nature. I had people speaking English, Spanish and even Mixteco.. all with the same tone of wonder and excitement for the slough. And as I was getting interviewed for a project at Watsonville High, being asked about why I think earth day is important for the Watsonville community.. I stated just that.
“I think its important because sometimes we don’t even know about natural resources that are near us; beautiful areas that people from other places come to visit, while those that live 20 minutes away don’t even know about. Tourists are there more often than locals. And I think this is why earth day is so important; because it gives us a chance to inform the public about these places, of why they’re so special, and that they exists; a lot closer than they think. They’re available for everyone, and everyone is needed to make a lasting change for the environment. And to come together, educators, parents, organizations, students and children.. makes us stronger to be able to know not only how to help conserve our natural resources, but also keep nurturing this sentiment for future generations.”
Because the future.. is now.