On May 12, over one hundred students worked alongside Watsonville Wetlands Watch to observe birds and plant a garden at Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville, California. Over the course of the morning, they collaborated to set up a green space, created artwork, and participated in the Celebrate Urban Birds citizen science project.
Before the event, Wetland Steward Interns and students from the high school removed invasive species from the area that they would later turn into a garden, gathered cardboard from the recycling center, and purchased rocks for decorating. Students in the Wetland Stewards program were also trained in leading Celebrate Urban Birds observation sessions for their peers, so they could continue to hold workshops in the future.
On the day of the event, students created a gardening bed with the recycled cardboard, used tools to spread mulch, and planted about ten native species. Students used their creativity with paints to illustrate local plants and animals on the rocks, with the goal of decoratively lining a path through the garden area. After all, art and nature go together perfectly!
The garden now also boasts two bird feeders, one of which is designed especially for hummingbirds, and a bird bath. Pajaro Valley students also completed several bird observations throughout the day in three different locations near the school and entered their data online to the Celebrate Urban Birds and eBird’s website for each location.
Perhaps the best part of the whole project is its sustainability: Wetland Steward Interns will maintain the garden, a local Eagle Scout will install a trail for students and visitors to pass through, and the students will continue to conduct weekly bird surveys for our database.
Thank you, and congratulations to the Watsonville Wetlands Watch and Pajaro Valley High School on your adventure in urban birding and greening!