From the Classroom

McNear Bioblitz

Last Monday morning, students in Kirsten Franklin and Eric Norstad's third grade classes at McNear Elementary arrived at school excited for a day of outdoor exploration and discovery. As part of a planned restoration and habitat creation project on the McNear campus, they spent the day conducting a Bioblitz, recording species that they encountered along Thompson Creek and behind their classroom. 

Group leaders from Friends of the Petaluma River and Point Blue guided students through the process, helping them to find, record, and identify species.

A student holds a cray fish up for classmates to see.

A student holds a cray fish up for classmates to see.

This is citizen science at its best! Data collected by the students will be uploaded to iNaturalist and shared with Point Blue's STRAW program to inform restoration efforts on campus. 

UPDATE (12/12/17): Results are now up and available to view on iNaturalist! If you have the expertise, you can even help with this project by adding species identifications from the app or website. Click here to be taken to the iNaturalist project page. 

Watch This: Steamer Landing Restoration Video!

Carpe Diem and Sonoma Mountain High Schools are back for year two of watershed education! Last year, in collaboration with our Stewardship Coordinator Lee Farese, they planted a plethora of native plants on the McNear Peninsula, also known as Steamer Landing Park. This year they are back with plans to plant even more in an ongoing effort to rewild the park. 

This project is part of the PG&E's solar suitcase program and has won one teacher and two students a trip to Ecuador to install solar suitcases in schools! Wow! 

Watch this amazing video they made of their project! And check out our blog post about their project last year.

7 Tips for Exceptional Watershed Curriculum

7 Tips for Exceptional Watershed Curriculum

It is getting to be my favorite time of year! No, not the holidays. It’s time for new Watershed Classroom proposals!

With the application deadline coming up on November 27th, many environmentally minded Petaluma educators are working hard to pull together their projects. While the Watershed Classroom is designed to make outdoor, place based education more accessible, we know the application process itself can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially for first year applicants.

We compiled a list of advice for teachers who may be having a hard time knowing where to start!

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Teaching Fire with Trauma in Mind

Teaching Fire with Trauma in Mind

While most Petaluma students have not lost homes, that does not mean students have not experienced trauma from the fires. Many have lost beloved places, homes of relatives, and perhaps even loved ones. Even withstanding direct loss, many students may have a new found fear of fire after the stress of preparing for evacuations. These are things to consider before attempting to broach the subject of fire's effect on our watershed.

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