Author Archives: Chloe Sprecker

WATERSHED BIOLOGY FIELD TRIP

Watershed Biology Trip Group

2018, Sacramento, California, USA

Evelin Pelayo knew that if her fellow students were to become stewards of the watershed, they first needed to engage directly with it through hands-on study of our natural resources. Without this direct experience, she felt it would be more difficult for her classmates to feel connected to the natural world and make choices to protect it. Therefore, Evelin wrote a proposal to fund a field trip to Donner Summit, where students would collect and analyze data under the guidance of Headwaters Institute staff.

Watershed Biology Trip 1

Each group studied a different aspect of Watershed Biology. For example, her group studied water depth and flow in relation to the number and species of invertebrates, while another sampled vegetation at various distances from water to compare.

Evelin’s Caring for Our Watersheds proposal and funding from Nutrien helped more of her classmates have this unique experience, in which they learned about scientific data collection techniques, the interaction of biotic and abiotic factors, the local environment, and each other on a whole new level.

Putah Creek Clean-Up

2018, Sacramento/Davis, California, USA

While Simon Downes-Toney goes to school at The MET Sacramento, he lives in the nearby town of Davis, California. Therefore, when choosing a location for his Caring for Our Watersheds project, he chose a place near and dear to his home and heart, the banks of Putah Creek.

Putah Creek flows through the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, where many students and residents utilize a paved path along the waterway. Simon organized a clean-up day, where he and his fellow classmates walked this riparian corridor and collected trash and debris.

This simple, straightforward project helped keep trash from entering the waterway, protected wildlife and waterfowl that reside there, and cleaned and beautified a public space enjoyed by many in the community.

 

A VERTICAL GARDEN DEMO

2018, Sacramento, California, USA

Vertical Garden Demonstration

As Ella Mills and Ava Siemering of George Washington Carver High School shared an interest in horticulture, they knew they wanted to grow plants as part of their Caring for Our Watersheds project.

After doing some research, they learned about vertical gardens and how they can allow people to utilize the space available in urban environments more efficiently and economically. In addition, they can help improve air quality in congested areas, as well as provide food, aesthetic value, and energy savings. They decided that they wanted to experiment with different designs for these gardens using recycled, or reclaimed materials and create one as a demonstration for their garden class at school.

This process led them to create a small vertical garden which demonstrated how to place plants with higher water requirements on top and plants that need less water below. The lower plants can survive on what drips out of the holes from the ones watered on top. They presented their hands-on experiment in water conservation and horticulture to the students in the garden club and talked about the benefits of vertical gardening.

 

Campus Mural and Garden

2018, Sacramento, California, USA

Jesha Morgan, Jackson Mossman, Emma Lotter, and Dominic Wing, students at George Washington Carver School of Arts and Sciences, combined their passions for art and gardening in their Caring for Our Watersheds project. 

Campus Mural

In an effort to communicate an environmental message, beautify their campus, and demonstrate water-wise planting, this group completed a project that included painting a large water- and nature-themed mural and planting a small California native species garden in an adjacent area. They hope to awaken a sense of environmental consciousness in the student body as they see and interact with the art and garden.

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR LONG-TERM EFFECTS

2018, Sacramento, California, USASimple Solutions Student and Presentation

Emily Crofoot, a student at The MET Sacramento High School, wanted to not only educate her fellow students on some important environmental issues and how humans have impacted them, but to also present some simple solutions that would not require a radical lifestyle change and would have financial and/ or health benefits for students too.

She created a presentation entitled “Simple Solutions for Long- Term Effects” and presented it to 8 advisory classes at school. To encourage students to participate in the presentation/ discussion, Emily held a raffle. Students would receive tickets when they answered questions or contributed to the discussion. After the presentation, she would draw tickets and the raffle winners took home various sustainable goods, such as reusable water bottles, pencils made from recycled newspapers etc.

A fun way to engage students in an important topic!

DRIP IRRIGATION FOR THE MET GARDEN

2018, Sacramento, California, USADrip Irrigation MET

As Vice President of the Garden Club at The MET Sacramento High School, Isa Sheikh had ideas for making the garden a more water efficient, sustainable operation. With Caring for Our Watersheds project funding, he installed a drip irrigation system that would allow each plant to be watered directly, reducing moisture loss through evaporation.

The timer installed with the system allows plants to be watered at the most appropriate times of day (which is not always when the club is meeting on campus), and watering can continue on school breaks and throughout the summer. This simple upgrade to the school garden is conserving water and helping to grow a thriving garden on campus.

Begging for Air (Song)

The inspirational song, Begging for Air, was submitted in the 2017-2018 school year by Manitoba finalists Alexander Clemis and local singer-songwriter, Faouzia Ouihya. The ballad is written from the perspective of a tree, with the intention to motivate others to create change in their community.

“The most important aspect of our solution is it can help inspire humans of all ages all over the world to protect and even promote their own
watershed for the future generations to come.”  -Faouzia.

Participating teachers received a Caring for Our Watersheds USB with a copy of the song and an informational poster.

Bike Powered Charger

2018, Sacramento, California, USA

Bike Powered Charger

Justis Cooper had a unique idea to build a bike/ pedal powered generator students could use in the school workout room to charge their cell phones. This project will help demonstrate an energy-saving device (by “self” producing energy through pedaling) and encourage interest in sustainable technology at his school, The MET Sacramento.

Justis interns at a bike shop in Sacramento, so he had some “industry” knowledge and a mentor to help him complete his project. He plans on including signage by the bike to highlight the project and so students understand what they are using, how it works, and the potential energy savings. Stay fit and fully charged!

COMPOST SYSTEM AT G.W. CARVER HIGH SCHOOL

Compost Bin for GW Carver California

2018, Sacramento, California, USA

To complement Carver’s robust school garden, Stan Tokarev and Mevin Deo are building a three-sectioned bin to start a composting system at school.

This will divert food and garden waste from the local landfill, provide nutrient-rich soil for the garden, and demonstrate the process and environmental benefits of composting.

The students are using a combination salvaged and new materials for the bin.

 

Water Down the Drain

2018, Milliken, Colorado, USAStudents taking action CO

Brecken Sawyer, William Loecke, Regan Craig, Roosevelt High School

The team walked around Roosevelt High School and wondered what they could do to help the school’s daily water consumption.  They noticed the current faucets throughout the school spit out over two gallons per minute. They researched options for decreasing the flow from the faucets and discovered a simple solution – Faucet Aerators.

Student Action CO

This solution was low cost and simple, yet reduced the flow of water out of each faucet in the school.  In April, they installed the aerators on the 40 faucets throughout the high school. In addition, they presented the low-flow aerator concept to the middle school STEM classes and distributed the aerators to each student to use in their home.  The team estimates they saved 6,600 gallons of water at their school and over 4000 gallon of water in homes.  The total cost for this project was only $131.