Distance Learning: 2020/2021

Dear Teachers and Parents, 
 
At this time when we are not able to gather on the Refuge for in person field trips, we want you to know that we are here to support your student’s education about the natural world. We are proud to announce that our Environmental Education Team has created the Refuge’s first ever distance learning unit.  
 
This first unit focuses on the salt marshes of the San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay. We hope that students will enjoy exploring the natural beauty of the salt marshes and learning about the plants and animals through these hands on activities and videos.  
 
All of the videos and activities are available for your use both at school and at home. Below you will find a synopsis of each video and activity and a suggested order for use. You can incorporate all or even one activity or video into your curriculum for your students.  
 
We have labeled each activity with the following symbols: 
bookReading
 handHands-on Activity
 video playVideo
 
 
We encourage families to enjoy the trails of the Refuge in person on their own. Our trails are open from sunrise to sunset. Please mind the time signs on gates.  
 
If you live in the West Bay, East Bay, or South Bay you can easily access the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newark, Fremont, Alviso, Mountain View, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City. Our trails are open from sunrise to sunset. A list of Don Edwards San Francisco Bay trails can be found here.

If you live in the North Bay or East Bay you can easily access our trails at San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge in off of Highway 37 between Petaluma and Vallejo. A list of San Pablo Bay trails can be found here.

We would love to get feedback about this unit from you! Please send us photos of your students participating in the unit, or photos of their finished activities! You can email your photos to sfbaynwrc@fws.gov. Please include a completed Photo Release form so that we may share your photos online. Our platforms include our websites, and Facebook page.  
 
If you have questions or need additional information please reach out! We are here to support you!  
 
Sincerely, 
 
Education and Visitor Services Team Leads 
 
 
 
Miguel Marquez, miguel_marquez@fws.gov 
 

 

Salt Marshes of San Francisco and San Pablo Bay  

  • Introduction: All About Wetlands

    book

    Before you get started with this unit, please read this background information about salt marshes. Teachers, parents and students can read this together or on their own. Students may want to highlight key words and phrases that they want to learn more about in this unit!

    Learn More
  • Introduction: Vocabulary List

    book

    Download or print this list out and have it available as a reference while you participate in the following activities!

     

     

  • Cali’s Crib

    video play

    Part 1: What is a salt marsh habitat? 

    Follow Ranger Tracy, on a tour of the marsh at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. During your virtual tour, listen for the unique calls of Cali, the California Ridgway’s rail, one of the most rare and secretive birds that live in the salt marshes of the San Francisco Bay. (Kinder – 6th grade)

    Click on the link below to see the 6-minute Youtube video. 

    Learn More
  • A Home for Salty

    video play

    Part 1: What is a salt marsh habitat? 

    Join Ranger Genie and her children for a reading of A Home for Salty, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, and Illustrated by, Diane Adams. Salty, the salt marsh harvest mouse, is looking for a habitat to call home. Salty has some misadventures along the edge of the Bay, and meets some interesting animals along the way. (Kinder – 3rd grade)

    Click on the link below to see the 7-minute Youtube video. 

    Learn More
  • Wetland Habitat Activity

    hand

    Part 1: What is a salt marsh habitat? 

    What is a habitat? What do animals and plants need to survive in a habitat? Create a picture of your habitat, what do you need to survive? Then head outside to observe a habitat near your house. It could be a plant on a patio, a park, shrubbery or if you live near a wetland or open space you can make your observations there! Learn more about salt marshes, and then create your own salt marsh diorama, complete with the plants and animals that live in the salt marsh. (Kinder – 6th grade)

     

     

  • Marsh Exploration

    video play

    Part 2: What animals live in the salt marsh?

    Marsh Exploration: Explore the plants and animals of the salt marsh with this interactive Google Slide presentation. Enjoy listening to bird calls, and watching short videos about the animals that live in the marsh. (Kinder – 6th grade) 

    Slide presentation on Google Slides. 

  • Salt Marsh Story & Word Search

    book

    Part 2: What animals live in the salt marsh?

    Students can learn about the important vocabulary words and native species of a salt marsh ecosystem through this fun and explorative word search and accompanying story. The story provides a brief introduction to the salt marsh ecosystem’s function, the threat of invasive species, and the use of vocabulary words in context. 

     

    Answer Key: Word Search for Kinder-3rd Grade (PDF version)

     

  • Cali Mask

    hand

    Part 2: What animals live in the salt marsh? 

    Young students can create their very own Cali, the California Ridgway rail mask! Use crayons, colored pencils, and markers to decorate the mask. If you have feathers or a little bling to add – you can jazz up your Cali mask! (Kinder – 3rd grade)

    The mask is here for you to download and print either as a JPG image or as a PDF file

     

     

  • For the Birds

    hand

    Part 2: What animals live in the salt marsh? 

    As birds are migrating south, many of them look to backyards as refuge--not just our National Wildlife Refuges! This activity provides a few examples of easy and fun DIY bird feeders for you yard, porch, or balcony. Attract many different species of birds and their beautiful songs.

    For the Birds (PDF version)

    For the Birds (Accessible version)

  • Fabulous Wetlands

    video play

    Part 3: What are the important functions of salt marshes? 

    Now that you have been introduced to Cali’s home, Bill Nye the Science guy will introduce you to the important functions of wetlands! What’s their purpose? Why do we need wetlands? Have fun watching Bill Nye explore the muddy marshes of the United States! (Kinder – 6th grade)

    Click "Learn More" to see the 6-minute Youtube video. 

    Learn More
  • Whazz'up with Wetlands?

    hand

    Part 3: What are the important functions of salt marshes?

    Students construct a simple wetland model that demonstrates wetland functions. The first part of the activity students will test different materials and observe how the materials mimic wetland functions. Students will discuss the benefits of wetlands to wildlife and people and examine currents threats to wetland areas. The second part of the activity challenges students to imagine and design a method/model to address one of the threats to wetland areas. (3rd - 6th grade)

     

     

     

  • Why Tides Matter (Video Coming Spring 2021)

    video play

    Part 3: What are the important functions of salt marshes? 

    Refuge Docent Laurel Stell will talk and walk you through all things tides. What are they? What causes them? Why do they matter? She will also show you tides in action here in San Francisco Bay and around the world. There are three video segments. (4th - 6th grade)

     

    • What Causes Tides?  
    • Why do Tides Matter? 
    • Tide Photo Gallery 

     

  • Salty Pledge

    hand

    Part 4: How can you help the salt marsh? 

    Salty needs your help! In order for the plants and animals of the San Francisco Bay watershed to have healthy habitats, everyone must do their part. There are many things kids just like you can do to help. What will YOU do to help Salty? Create your Salty Pledge. Get permission from your parent/ guardian and email it to us. If you send a photograph, please also include a photo release form so that we may share your accomplishment online! (Kinder – 6th grade)

     

     

  • King Tide Project

    hand

    Part 4: How can you help the salt marsh? 

    You can become part of the King Tide project! This project is asking people to visit locations along the coast to take photographs of extreme high tide events also called King Tides. The photographs are then uploaded into an interactive map to help scientists and leaders understand our changing shoreline. Get Involved!  (Kinder – 6th grade) 

    The next King Tides arrive: 

     

    • DECEMBER 13-15, 2020 
    • North of Point Conception ONLY: JANUARY 11-12, 2021 *

    Click on "learn more" to visit the California Coastal Commission's King Tide Project website. 

     

    Learn More
  • Ask a Scientist (Coming spring 2021)

    video play

    Part 4: How can you help the salt marsh? 

    Enjoy this educational and entertaining lecture series to learn more about the biological work at the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex! Refuge staff will find the best scientist in our team to answer your questions, so ask away! (Kinder – 6th grade)