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STOCKTON FWO: Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day a great success for students and organizers alike
California-Nevada Offices , September 11, 2010
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Donnie Ratcliff, a biologist with the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office explains the significance of the Calaveras River watershed to students from Stockton area schools at the Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day.  (photo: Ramon Martin, USFWS)
Donnie Ratcliff, a biologist with the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office explains the significance of the Calaveras River watershed to students from Stockton area schools at the Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day.  (photo: Ramon Martin, USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Kari Burr, a biologist with the Fishery Foundation of California explains the importance of instream and riparian habitats to students.  (photo: Ramon Martin, USFWS)
Kari Burr, a biologist with the Fishery Foundation of California explains the importance of instream and riparian habitats to students.  (photo: Ramon Martin, USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Students attending the Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day use the recently produced “Common Animals of the Calaveras River” guide to identify birds along the river. (photo: Ramon Martin, USFWS)
Students attending the Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day use the recently produced “Common Animals of the Calaveras River” guide to identify birds along the river. (photo: Ramon Martin, USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

By Donnie Ratcliff, Stockton FWO

The inaugural Calaveras River Education and Appreciation Day was held on September 11th, 2010.  The 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 Day Use Area, a perfect venue for the event situated near the base of New Hogan Dam.

The majority of the approximately 50 attendees were students from A.A. Stagg High School in Stockton.  Younger students and their families that attended were from Rio Calaveras and Kohl elementary schools.  The Service and FLCR worked with Stagg biology teacher Marcus Sherman and the San Joaquin County Office of Education to actively recruit interested students from schools near the lower reaches of the Calaveras River in Stockton.  All of the students and their families 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 for local nature guides and volunteers.  Ramon Martin, AFRP Assistant Program Manager assisted in coordinating activities during the event. 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 (San Joaquin Audubon Society and Sierra Club, Motherlode Chapter) provided her expertise as an accomplished birder and naturalist.  Corps employees from New Hogan Lake Park provided information on recreation, water safety, and a walk focused on the nearby River of Skulls Interpretive Trail.  Finally, the entire group finished the day learning how to sample and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates and discussing how aquatic food webs function.

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



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