Watsonville Wetlands Watch (WWW) is dedicated to preserving, restoring and fostering appreciation of the wetlands of the Pajaro Valley.
Programs benefit students, residents, and local habitats. We provide ongoing environmental education and field trips to over 5,000 students from the Pajaro Valley Unified School District each year, mostly Latinos from low-to-moderate income households. We engage students in hands-on data collection, analysis, and scientific experimentation to develop their skills as scientists and support their learning and leadership development to inspire them to be environmental stewards in our community. Restoration efforts benefit local wildlife and the wetland ecosystems that connect the Pajaro Valley to the Monterey Bay.
Just 9% of Watsonville’s land is covered by tree canopy. WWW must triple that in order to meet its goal of at least 30% tree coverage in Watsonville and achieve parity with similar communities in the region.
Trees will provide critical environmental and health benefits to residents for years to come, providing shade, cooling sidewalks and bike lanes. They also reduce surface temperatures on high heat days, while sequestering atmospheric carbon, cleaning the air, and filtering groundwater before it flows to the nearby Pajaro River.
WWW’s Climate Corps Leadership Institute (CCLI) interns will plant shade trees and fruit trees at the homes of Watsonville seniors, and throughout the city in areas that lack adequate tree canopies. WWW has collaborated with the city of Watsonville since 2018 to plant and care for trees in the community. WWW leads the planting efforts, volunteers and tree care in parks and neighborhoods, and conducts outreach for new plantings in residential and commercial properties.
WWW staff also provide free trees, free consultations to homeowners and businesses, and organize volunteers to help plant them. Students from Pajaro Valley High, Watsonville High, and Ceiba Prep enrolled in the CCLI paid internship program will plant and care for trees and help to organize public events. Since 2018, more than 1,000 trees have been planted or adopted by residents. Donations will support CCLI tree planting projects during the spring 2023 semester and summer 2023 urban forestry internships for CCLI youth.
Climate change is currently a huge problem in our world, but we can make a change; if I can make more teenagers my age care, then we can save our planet. I want teenagers my age and those who are younger to know that they can be a leader, that their voices are heard, that even small actions make a difference. Throughout my years with Watsonville Wetlands Watch, I have learned to be an educator and a leader.
Alan Ruiz, Watsonville, age 18