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.
The 2016-2017 Earth Team internship has officially began at Pinole Valley High School, as of last week. Program Associate, Julia Dorosh, presented to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in their science classes throughout the day. Students were engaged, excited, and eager to begin applying. An info session was held at lunch to provide students with an opportunity to ask any questions they had, and introduce themselves. Many students attended, and applied immediately. The positive environment and engagement at Pinole Valley High, highlights that students can seize opportunities presented to them, and acknowledge that the environmental internships provided by Earth Team are beneficial. Phone interviews have began and the 14 selected interns will know shortly. Congratulations to those 14, and please try again next year to all those who did not get accepted!
During last week’s EarthTeam meet, the Pinole Valley High School interns hosted a clean up event at the Pinole Creek as one of their final events. They were able to gather a few students to participate in this event for a chance of winning a free Chipotle gift card. The clean up event consisted of not only litter removal around Pinole Creek, but also the removal of English ivy, an extremely invasive species surrounding the creek.
Our interns began with litter removal as they provided the volunteers with trash pickers and garbage bags. Also, they took this time to create a bond with each and every one of the volunteers through conversation during this event. While some continued with the litter removal, other interns shifted into the removal of the English ivy, which was very significant for the native species. As an invasive species, the English ivy suffocated the surrounding native plants of nutrients, sunlight, and water. With that in mind, our EarthTeam members and volunteers tried to remove as much of the ivy as they can in order to relieve some of the native plants around the creek. After the clean up event, the interns gathered around to educate the volunteers about the native species of Pinole and gave out a survey to the volunteers for their feedback on the event. The surveys were then put into a box and the interns picked out names of the winners of the free Chipotle gift cards.
Everyone who participated in the Pinole Valley clean up event ended up winning a gift card as one of our interns was able to receive ten gift cards to give out. Our volunteers left the event with smiles on their faces as every one of them won a gift card despite being told that they would only have a chance at winning one.
As our volunteers left, the interns began to reflect upon the past year as an EarthTeam intern and discussed the valuable skills they have achieved and the memorable experiences throughout the internship. Not only has this event allowed for our interns to bond with the students of Pinole Valley and educate them about the native species of Pinole Creek, but it has allowed our interns to reflect on their experience with one another and how they have grown throughout their time at EarthTeam.
My name is Cristopher and I am currently an Earth Team intern. I’m a junior at Pinole Valley High School, who loves nature and is passionate for learning new things. Our school is really close to Pinole Creek, therefore we focus a lot on creek monitoring and water quality testing. Recently we had a presentation to give to Friends Of Pinole Creek, a group from the community that’s devoted to the creek and helps in preserving it. We talked about what Earth Team is and also shared personal experiences and also experiences we’ve had with Earth Team, such as participating in a Coastal Cleanup, we also talked about how we monitor Pinole Creek on a weekly basis, and much more.
Personally it was a really cool experience and I learned a lot of different things. I learned how to go up and present in front of people, and not be nervous. It was also really fun getting up there and making the crowd laugh and be entertained, but at the same time be able to see how serious they took what we were talking about and how much they liked the fact that there are young people that are also engaged in the community and are passionate for the environment. Perhaps the biggest lesson of the day, was that I learned that there are a lot of people with the same vision we have, it was cool to see that there are other people in our community that care about our environment but more specifically our creek. It was a really cool experience and I really enjoyed presenting and just having a great time with my fellow interns.
A big thanks to Friends of Pinole Creek for inviting our students to speak at their April meeting.
In honor of Earth Day, our Pinole Valley EarthTeam interns dedicated a whole week to educate students about our local creek and environment. Each day, our interns hosted several different events and activities in the library with the purpose of engaging the students of Pinole Valley High towards becoming more aware of their surrounding environment. Our activities ranged from hosting an informational booth about our local creek to a competitive Jeopardy game with questions created by our EarthTeam interns. To engage many of the students, a few activities came with an incentive for the winner. For example, using cigarette butts found near Pinole Creek, a competition was created to see which student could guess how many cigarette butts were in a jar and in return, the winner would receive a gift card.
One of the most popular and competitive activities during Pinole Valley’s Earth Week was Jeopardy. Our interns were able to gather many students to form into teams of four to play for a chance at winning four Chipotle gift cards.
The game was very intense as it came down to the last question to determine the winner. Although only four students left with the gift cards, all of the students who participated left with more knowledge than they came in with, which was the main purpose of the game.
With only a couple of days to prepare for Earth Week, our interns were able to pull the week-long event together with much success. Giving up their lunch hour every day of Earth Week in order to facilitate these activities showed how much our determined interns were invested and in return, positive feedback was received as many of the students were involved and engaged in the activities presented. They were accomplished to see students coming together to learn about our local environment and to compete against each other. This event could not have been possible without the support of our librarian, Ms. carlyle, and our principal, Mr. Kibby, as he advertised Earth Week through the morning announcements every single day leading up to the final Jeopardy event on Friday. In addition, our librarian pitched many ideas for the activities as well as let our EarthTeam occupy the library throughout the week. Earth Week has not only brought the interns together, but also the students and faculty of Pinole Valley in support of spreading knowledge of the local environment across campus.
In January and February of 2016, our Pinole Valley High School interns have had the opportunity to work with EBMUD Ranger Virginia Northrop to harvest and stake Willow plants in the headwaters of Pinole Creek. Over the course of four visits, interns learned about the history of restoration projects on the land owned by EBMUD, harvested willow for future staking projects, and staked willow into two waterways to limit erosion with the intention to keep sediment from entering Pinole Creek. With their new skills, our interns will be able to harvest willow from around their school to enhance biostabilization efforts on creek banks along Pinole Creek. Interns also learned how to construct a fascine, or dam like structure that will root and grow, trapping sediment that is eroding from the banks.
While out in the watershed our interns also saw several wildlife species including Coyote, many species of Hawks, Newts, waterbirds, and Cattle grazing on the EBMUD land.
A huge thanks to Ranger Virginia for sharing her knowledge and experience with our interns from Pinole Valley High School!
Last week, EarthTeam interns from Pinole Valley High School hosted a litter removal along the stretch of creek adjacent to their high school. It had been raining heavily throughout the prior days, but we were treated to a break in the storm, perfectly timed for the end of the school day, and the beginning of the cleanup.
EarthTeam interns passed out trash bags, gloves, and litter pickers to the students who had heard about the pickup from their classmates during classroom announcements, or over the loud speaker. As they walked down the trail, they picked up the small pieces of litter underneath the creek’s canopy, or along the cyclone fences that separated the trail from their school. These cyclone fences often trap large quantities of litter, and two of the participating students made it their task to remove hundreds of chip bags from one such “litter trap”.
Following the litter pickup, EarthTeam interns led a discussion of the various types of pollution that affects urban streams, such as cigarette butts, dog poop, car washing, and graffiti/spray cans.
A big thanks to all who came out to pickup litter and learn more about the creek!
EarthTeam interns from Pinole Valley High School have partnered with the Contra Costa Flood Control District to adopt a section of Pinole Creek near their school. Students will be collecting data on water quality, removing litter from the adjacent pedestrian trail, as well as keeping an eye out for debris that could cause flooding.
Aerial view of the section of Pinole Creek that EarthTeam will be monitoring, adopted channel in red.
Greetings visitors! We’re off to a new school year with a new group of interns. So far interns have participated in the 2015 Coastal Cleanup Day, as well as tabling and bin monitoring at the North Richmond Shoreline Festival. More details to come!
Interns practicing their tabling skills:
Monitoring bins and making sure items are ending up in the right place:
Teaching the community about how long it takes items to degrade in the environment.