The Cachuma Resource Conservation District (CRCD), which serves Santa Barbara County and Southern San Luis Obispo County, has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct a watershed education project for fifth graders in Guadalupe.
CRCD’s partner organizations collaborating on the project are the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center and the Mary Buren Elementary School.
The grant supports in-class learning experiences and field trips as well as engaging the broader community. In-class experiments and demonstrations will explore non-point source pollution, ocean acidification, the water cycle, and characteristics of different soil types.
The students will visit The Marine Science Institute Research Experience and Education Facility (REEF) at UCSB. There, they will observe and handle marine plants and animals, investigate tide pools, and tour the campus. The second field trip is sailing to Anacapa Island, Channel Islands Sanctuary with Island Packers. For their third field trip, students will participate in a beach restoration project at Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve.
Finally, students will share their experiences with the local community. They will make presentations to their parents on the connection between the watershed and the ocean. They will design an insert for water bills explaining the impact of inputs to the land on quality of water. They will then present to the Guadalupe City Council a list of suggested actions to improve the quality of the watershed.
“This is a first-rate project that will benefit our children and our community,” said Congresswoman Lois Capps. “It is imperative that we do all we can to help elevate an understanding of watershed and ocean health. This program will do that by giving students exciting hands-on experiential learning and encouraging them to share their insights with City residents and decision makers.”
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Doreen Farr also offered early encouragement to the grant applicants. “This is exciting news for Guadalupe and our County,” said Farr. “Engaging these students in science experiments and potentially life-changing field trips will expand their educational opportunities while making them better stewards of the watershed.”
Guadalupe Mayor Francis Romero, who contributed to the grant proposal, is thrilled. “This grant is great for the children and great for the City. They will learn from experiments and field trips and we will learn from them. It’s win, win, win.”
Ed Cora, the District Superintendent, is delighted that CRCD received the grant. “This program will help our students connect the dots between our own actions and our precious water resources. It will inspire students to engage with and take responsibility for their community.”
For more information about this project, or how to get involved or donate, please contact Anne Coates, Executive Director of CRCD at ACoates@rcdsantabarbara.org or (805) 455-2820.
About the Cachuma Resource Conservation District (CRCD): Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs), once known as Soil Conservation Districts, are “special districts” of the state of California, set up under Division 9 of the California Public Resources Code. The Cachuma RCD’s boundaries cover all of Santa Barbara County, including the Channel Islands, as well as portions of San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties for a total area of approximately 1.9 million acres. The CRCD provides voluntary technical assistance and services to local individuals and groups to implement on-the ground projects. Projects are often related to water and soil conservation, water quality, nutrient management, and habitat restoration. The CRCD also has a long successful history of producing planning documents, educational materials, and technical field manuals, as well as conducting and hosting educational workshops and trainings. The CRCD promotes and enhances local resource priorities by leveraging local support, including private donations, and obtaining competitive grants.