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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Stockton FWO: Students Learn About Their Local River at the Second Annual Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day

Region 8, October 22, 2011
Biologists Donnie Ratcliff and Jerrica Lewis, Stockton FWO, teach students how to sample and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates.
Biologists Donnie Ratcliff and Jerrica Lewis, Stockton FWO, teach students how to sample and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates. - Photo Credit: n/a
Kari Burr with the Fishery Foundation of California (left), Dr. Stacy Luthy from University of the Pacific (center), and park ranger Kevin Stewart (right) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, exploring fish habitat and discussing watershed functions with students.
Kari Burr with the Fishery Foundation of California (left), Dr. Stacy Luthy from University of the Pacific (center), and park ranger Kevin Stewart (right) with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, exploring fish habitat and discussing watershed functions with students. - Photo Credit: n/a
Dave Wagner (left) and Nan Ballot (center),with the Audubon Society, join Corps park ranger Gary Basile (second from left), pointing out a red tail hawk to students on a bird watching hike.
Dave Wagner (left) and Nan Ballot (center),with the Audubon Society, join Corps park ranger Gary Basile (second from left), pointing out a red tail hawk to students on a bird watching hike. - Photo Credit: n/a

 

The second annual Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day was held on October 22nd, 2011. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and members of the Friends of the Lower Calaveras River (FLCR), worked collaboratively to present this exciting event. Funding for the event came through a grant from the Service’s Connecting People with Nature Program. The Corps provided use of the Monte Vista and Observation Point Recreation Areas, perfect venues for the event situated near New Hogan Dam in Calaveras County.

Approximately 75 students from A.A. Stagg and Bear Creek high schools in Stockton, California attended the event. Additionally, approximately 20 experts in a wide array of natural resource disciplines were able to interact with the students in a variety of educational activities. The Service and FLCR worked with Stagg biology teacher Marcus Sherman and Bear Creek biology teacher Isabel Cuerpo to actively recruit interested students that live near the lower reaches of the Calaveras River in Stockton. All of the students and other attendees were amazed to learn about all of the benefits and opportunities provided by their local river.

Service fishery biologist Donnie Ratcliff organized the event and coordinated with other members of FLCR to ensure that the valuable knowledge of its membership could be conveyed to students. Ratcliff and Service biologist Jerrica Lewis taught students how to sample and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates and discussed how aquatic food webs function. Service biologists Ramon Martin and Kes Benn lead students through an interactive station measuring water quality parameters and discussing the importance of clean water to aquatic environments. Kari Burr (Fisheries Foundation of California) and Dr. Stacy Luthy (University of the Pacific) presented information about fish species that occur in the river, aquatic habitats and restoration efforts, and invasive species issues. Nan Ballot and Dave Wagner (San Joaquin Audubon Society and Sierra Club, Motherlode Chapter) provided their expertise as accomplished birders and naturalists. Corps Park Rangers Gary Basile and Kevin Stewart assisted on all of the educational walks and provided information on recreation, water safety, and the history of the New Hogan facilities. After the morning’s activities, students had their lunch near the reservoir and learned about the differences between reservoir and river environments and water safety.

The goal of this event was to connect youth with their local watershed by introducing them to some basic field biology techniques, discussing healthy watershed functions and benefits, and introducing them to natural resource professionals and community members that work to protect and enhance the Calaveras River. Attendees provided valuable feedback that made the event a great success and will improve future events. In the future, organizers hope to include more students and families from throughout the watershed during multiple events each year.

Contact Info: Ramon Martin, 209-334-2968 ext. 401, ramon_martin@fws.gov