Feature Image: watershed model used during event.
What a way to end my week this Sunday by celebrating both children and Earth Day at the same time. I was invited by the Elkhorn Slough volunteer coordinator to join the Day of the Child, which is a family-oriented event in Watsonville, California, where many organizations set up information booths. Hundreds of people showed up to this event that had booths with information that ranged from getting children involved in the environment, art museums, science, mariachi made up of all children, games, hands-on activities, jump house, and yummy food. The event mostly focused on the environment and teaching children and their families about the importance of how to preserve and protect it.
The Elkhorn Slough booth that I was co-hosting included brochures about visiting the slough, a location map, artifacts (snail shell, clam shells, and oak tree galls), bird plush toys (Cedar Waxwing and Great Blue Heron), educational visuals of the mudflats and animals that live there, and a watershed model. The most popular piece on the table was the watershed model. The watershed model is a big piece including a neighborhood with houses, cars, agriculture, bridges, streams, rivers, a factory, a tree, a tractor, and roads all leading into the ocean. A watershed is a piece of land where water flows through to get to a larger body of water, usually the ocean. We used this model to educate children and their parents on what happens to pollutants and garbage when not disposed of properly. We asked children and their parents where they had seen a piece of garbage when out in the community, and when they answered we added a drop of food dye on the model to represent that piece of garbage. We then used a spray bottle to explain how rain transports the pieces of garbage through the watershed, and how it eventually leads to our oceans affecting the wildlife that live there. We emphasized the importance of recycling and putting garbage where it belongs to avoid pollution in the oceans and promote a healthy ocean environment.
Overall, the children had a lot of fun with the watershed model and the rest of the information in the Elkhorn Slough booth. I had a lot of fun teaching them about protecting the environment, and I was also very excited that parents were getting involved and asking lots of questions.