Himalayan Blackberry, Cape Ivy, and English Ivy have proven to be tough contenders against Pinole Valley High interns. These three plant species are non-native and completely dominate areas of Pinole Creek banks. Native plants that help the ecosystem thrive are lacking in resources and space, due to these highly invasive non-native plants outcompeting them. Earth Team interns decided to take a stand against these invaders and remove as much as they could during their 2 hour weekly meeting.
The task seemed daunting but interns worked tirelessly and cleared roughly 340 sq. ft. of creek bank. The area that has been cleared will provide the space for native plants to reestablish themselves. Interns enjoyed the work, and proved to themselves that they could take on even the toughest non-natives. Himalayan Blackberry is covered by very sharp thorns, although with appropriate safety methods and tools, interns removed these tough plants without a scratch. Pinole Valley High interns will continue to remove litter and invasive species as well as test the water quality in order to help keep their local creek and watershed healthy and happy!
PVHS Earth Team interns have began water quality (WQ) monitoring of Pinole Creek! The site selected for bi-weekly WQ tests is directly behind the Pinole Library, and less than a mile upstream from the newly completed Fish Passage. The passage was implemented in order for endangered Steelhead, to effectively travel across the stretch of Pinole Creek below the I-80 Highway. These incredible species travel upstream from the Bay, to spawning grounds in fresh water. Earth Team’s WQ monitoring will allow interns to determine if the Creek is at a healthy level to sustain a population of steelhead to spawn, and if the any changes occur to the WQ after the installation of the fish passage.
Interns have also spent the last two weeks learning about the native riparian flora that surrounds Pinole Creek. Each team member was given a native, non-native, and/or invasive plant to research, accurately identify in the field, and present to the team. Interns were also ask to get a rough species count of their selected plant, during a Plant Walk. This activity allowed students to visually see how invasive plants can out compete native plants, and overrun entire areas.
In addition, PVHS Earth Team performed a Litter Assessment at Pinole Creek. Over 500 pieces of trash were collected, and the data with geo locations, was entered into the the EarthTeam Zero Litter App. Interns also waded through the creek to collect litter and enter data.
PVHS Earth Team interns are learning the importance of their local creek, the habitat it provides to unique endangered species, and the work that it takes to keep litter from polluting its shores. Interns have been challenged to step outside their comfort zone, and help the local environment in ways they have never done before.
Pinole Valley High interns did an amazing job engaging members of the community about their local watershed through an interactive watershed matching activity game at the Shoreline Festival on October 1st. Community members were asked to match the correct habitat to the area drawn on a watershed map. The game aimed to teach players about the unique habitats in a watershed and how they are all interconnected. Interns also provided Shoreline Festival attendees with prizes and informational brochures.
While interns were not hard at work speaking with attendees at the Earth Team booth, they explored the festival and learned all they could about the many other exhibitors at the event. After speaking to each, they were asked to share what they learned, and what they liked most.
“I liked knowing that each person was passionate about something and was standing up for a good cause” – Shalvena Sharma
“I learned about how and where water pollution happens. I learned that a lot of things contribute to water pollution, but there are ways to prevent it” – Emily Banuelos
“Something new I learned after the Shoreline Festival was that rising sea level is very dangerous and many people who live close to the water can loose their homes.” -Andrea Merino
“What I enjoyed most about the Shoreline Festival was teaching/letting kids know what was a watershed” -Osvaldo Mandujano
“I liked how I was able to teach adults and kids about the watershed” -Alexander Cruz
Say HELLO to the official 2016-2017 Pinole Valley High Earth Team interns. This wonderful team has already beganto make an impact by educating community members this coming weekend at the Shoreline Festival in Richmond about the SF Bay Delta Watershed, and what they can do to help restore and protect our local watershed. They worked tirelessly during their last meeting to create an educational watershed activity, a brochure, and poster to showcase at the Shoreline Festival.
Come and join the festivities, meet this amazing team, and play their watershed activity game. You will definitely learn more about your local watershed.