Autumn 2017 California Project WET Gazette
Volume XXll, Issue IV
Double, Double Toil and Trouble…
Rock snot… Quagga… Rattlebox… They sound like ingredients for a witch’s cauldron that Shakespeare missed or the names in a collection of wildlings from north of the wall in ‘Game of Thrones,’ but they are names of actual species wreaking havoc on ecological systems and watersheds California. Most do not have names that generate a sense of foreboding or disgust as these may and quite a few can appear as cute and innocuous as the trick or treaters knocking on doors later this season. Even rattlebox, though bearing a great name for a skeletal giant, appears as just another ornamental shrub or bush loaded with beautiful, blood red flowers set against green leaves when in bloom.
But ‘double, double toil and trouble’ it is, and those having direct experience with rattlebox or the myriad of other invasive species active in the state probably view all of them as not unlike the horrific creatures that spill forth into our lands as the veil between worlds thins on Halloween according to Celtic legend – and most are far more insidious. Caulerpa taxifolia – killer algae – is a prime example. It is believed this strain of green seaweed made its way into California’s marine ecosystem after being released from an aquarium into a water body or a storm drain. ‘Killer’ enters the name after the algae forms a dense carpet on any surface – rock, sand, mud, etc. – disrupting the natural food chain, displacing native plants and animals and seriously impacting recreational and commercial fisheries. This ‘killer’ was successfully eradicated from California marine waters, but it cost more than $7 million to do it – – yet, the other ingredients of this witch’s cauldron remain and “like a hell-broth it boil[s] and bubble[s].”
Our species role in helping to create this brew of invasive species in California is not unlike the people you just want to scream at in horror movies, who willfully defy warnings to intone spells they don’t understand or unwittingly let the monster loose. But, to be fair, only a small proportion of species introduced in California have become invasive and people have greatly benefited from the introduction of many plant and animal species – think nearly all of our agriculture down to the plants in your garden and shading much of our urban landscapes. Most of these organisms from other lands would wither and die if left on their own in California climate zones, as would many in our home aquaria and it is not just to keep them close in the way that all manner of livestock are kept behind fences. So, who would suspect the fennel, pig or the carp in the decorative pond would be any more dangerous than those purring tribbles that appeared on a long ago ‘Star Trek’ episode?
What are characteristics that define a species as an ‘aquatic invasive species’? This question begins the Project WET activity ‘Invaders’ (p: 263), but I don’t know too many people of any age who would find getting assigned a research report at the start of an activity very fun or motivating as written in the warm up for this activity. An alternate introduction would have students read several short descriptions of aquatic invasive species – such as those found in the activity background information – and rather than defining what is an ‘aquatic invasive species’ for them – students can use evidence from the examples to begin developing their own definition.
Competition between species is the key to understanding the underlying issue with invasive species. The ‘Invaders’ activity integrates a predator-prey relationship as written, but I’ve found one can eliminate confusion by initially eliminating the predator-prey relationship and solely focusing on the competition between species for limited resources. It also helps to use the same set-up throughout all parts of the activity – i.e., either squares spread out on the ground to represent a lake or wetland habitat on a floodplain as described in Part I – or chairs arranged as resources in a stream system as in Part II. These changes also make it easier to compare population data generated throughout the activity.
Personally, I like spreading out the squares to represent habitat resources in the Delta or on the larger Central Valley floodplain. Split the class equally into two native species populations that will vie for the same resources. Each square represents the resources to sustain one organism for a given time period. Both populations start each round outside the perimeter of the habitat zone and they just need to be the first one on a square to survive, but anyone counting will see there are about 10% less squares than the number of students!
Record the population of each species group, then say ‘GO!’ Students who don’t secure a square don’t survive, but they don’t stand around idle and planning for mischief – they rejoin the population with the most survivors as new “off-spring” and these are added to the group population count for the start of the next round. If surviving populations are equal, the “off-spring” are equally divided among both groups. An ebb-and-flow pattern between the two populations is likely to emerge when the population data is – though one needs to be ready to discuss the occasional anomaly* when probability is involved!
How might an aquatic invasive species get introduced into California? You can’t just stuff something like a lionfish in your luggage! Brainstorming how aquatic invaders might get here from far off lands can generate a great discussion before starting Part II of the activity – Can evidence be found in those short activity background descriptions of species? One can continue to carry the focus on competition through by initially keeping the predator-prey relationship out of Part II of the activity – and splitting this part of the activity into Part II and a Part III. Restore the two native populations to the habitat zone, but note someone living in this area was forced to move and couldn’t take their aquarium, so they let their pet goldfish, red-eared slider or other aquatic invasive animal go in the area – and choose a student to be this organism.
A hallmark of species becoming invasive are features that give them a competitive advantage over native species, so our new species gets to start the activity in the middle of the habitat area. As in Part I, population survivors are tallied after each round and the “off-spring” assigned to the species with the most remaining members – Oh, did I forget to note that pet that was let loose was pregnant?! Any guess what the population curves are likely going to look like when graphed this time? The native populations often get shoved to the side, but are able to hang on around the edges of the habitat area. This is a great point in the activity to ask students to brainstorm what characteristics the invasive animals may have had to give them the advantage. One of the advantages students may consider is protection from predators.
This is a good point to add another layer of complexity back in the activity by restoring the predator-prey relationship – with a few modifications to keep all students in the game. In the first scenario with the two native species populations competing for the same resources, do an equal number of activity rounds with the addition of a predator. Use the same rules to determine where the “off-spring” go – the population with the most survivors at the end of a round gets the “off-spring” or they are equally divided if surviving populations are equal. Again, probability is involved, but usually the populations will tend to reach an ebb-and-flow relationship between the predator and prey communities over time. In the second scenario, the invasive population will be immune to the predator feeding on the native population. Adding this immunity to the invader population in the Part II scenario will generally result in the elimination of all of the native competitors and predator, which is consistent with what has occurred in the area impacted by the introduction of the lionfish.
Finally, there are examples of invasive species with a far more insidious characteristic. It is written into the existing Part II of the activity, but is much easier to see and understand the ramifications if pulled out and demonstrated alone. For this new ‘Part III’ of the activity, restore the populations as described above for Part II, but this time the organism let loose is a non-native plant or animal that can alter the habitat to its needs – yes ‘Star Trek’ fans, think ‘The Borg.’ In this round, the aquatic invader population can not only grow, but any habitat squares its members touch are changed to another color – and only they can now use it. I think you can pretty well guess what the population graphs will look like after this scenario.
Water hyacinth, arundo, quagga and zebra mussels are all examples of ecological terrors of this magnitude. All reproduce at extremely rapid rates, but have other characteristics that annihilate native ecosystems that include changing the temperature and lowering dissolved oxygen levels in the underlying water column (water hyacinth), reducing the available soil water (arundo) and out filtering other species for food in the water column and growing their rapidly expanding colonies right over the competition (quagga and zebra mussels). They also block navigable waterways, choke off water intake pipes for irrigation, energy production and water supply – and in the case of the mussels, they colonize pipes on the inside and out! The economic and ecological cost of these aquatic invaders is staggering, which helps explain why California boating inspectors, ecologists, urban water managers, water dependent business interests and average citizens are so hard-nosed on blocking the spread of these species.
Modifying ‘Invaders’ clarifies the interrelationships involved in the study of invasive species ecology and the greater consistency opens the door to math beyond just graphing – i.e., how do the rates of growth and decline compare in each scenario – and do the rates in the simulation compare to real-life examples? Flipping the activity in this manner puts more fun up front and refocuses the activity on getting students to ask questions that will frame the research part of the activity, such as: What specifically are the characteristics that give an invasive species a competitive edge? What features make some invaders immune from predation? Are there invasive species in our local area and what impacts are they having? What measures are being used to control each invasive species – and how are these linked to known vulnerabilities of each species? How effective are the control measures and are similar measures used to control multiple species? Think of the comparison charts a class could create using these questions – as well as rubrics that could be generated to rank invasive species of concern and the measures to control them, setting the stage for students to develop a plan to control or eradicate an invasive species in their community!
Fall is a great time to be thinking about invasive species and what to do with them. The disruption they cause within ecosystems in turn degrades services we depend on, such as water quality, wild food resources and in some cases the availability of water. Though cleaning up the trash built up on our beaches and in waterways is the focus of the annual coastal and river clean-up events, rooting out invasive species can also be an act helping to clean up our waterways – or participate in an invasive species eradication effort as part of National Public Lands Day. Late Fall also is prime time to plant native vegetation if one is considering a project to eradicate an invasive plant and restore native species – including your lawn. Not all lawn grasses are invasive, but lawns are still one the single largest, nonnative water drains on residential water supplies. Ask your local water supplier about any programs to help cover costs of eliminating your lawn and re-landscaping with drought tolerant native or noninvasive, nonnative plants!
The Websites of Interest in this Gazette is loaded with links to go deeper into invasive species ecology, invasive species in California, methods to control or eradicate invasive species and opportunities for citizen scientists to engage. Our California fall is loaded with wonderful Autumn Events and check out the list of potential School, Classroom & Teacher Grants and Student Contests. And – of course – there is a are lots of upcoming Project WET Workshops, Special Events, and an array of other Professional Development Opportunities. Hope you have a wonderful Fall season!
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The California Project WET program and our sponsors are eager to assist in supporting local professional development and water education outreach efforts. Our volunteer network of workshop Facilitators has been hard at work designing and organizing workshops for the upcoming season, including Project WET workshops highlighting the role of water conservation, the interconnection of inland watersheds and the ocean, water monitoring, water pollution and aquatic ecosystems, climate change and the integration of Project WET, Education & the Environment Initiative and Next Generation Science & Common Core Standards!
Start participating in the program by attending a free workshop! Get the tools you’ll need to hatch salmon or trout in your classrooms and then release the fish into the wild. The goal of this program is for the students to learn to be stewards of the watersheds in which they live. The program can be used in pre-K through college level, and it works very well with Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards. Workshops will cover program basics, equipment set up, and ideas for teaching the program in the classroom and on your field trip.
These specialized Project WET workshops provide an opportunity for new and veteran Project WET educators to interact with California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Climate Change Scientists for a day learning about the basics of weather and climate science, how DWR and other California organizations at all levels are applying this science to safeguard California water resources – and how Project WET activities can help you integrate climate science concepts and skills back in the classroom – Join us this Fall in Santa Maria!
Using watershed models and remote sensing tools, Secondary educator participants explore the role of water in feedback mechanisms connecting inland watersheds to the sea. Participants will be among the first to be introduced to the California Coastal Commission’s newest curricular resource for Secondary teachers – California Coastal Voices– and built from the ground up based on Next Generation Science and Common Core Standards with a strong focus on environmental literacy and project-based learning. Workshops this Fall in Monterey, Orange or San Diego Counties!
The U.C. Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center invites you to explore Place-based and Project-centered lessons, while learning about the flora, fauna and earth systems of the Yuba watershed from local ecological experts. The training will include demonstration in the safe use of drones to explore local ecosystems. Each participant will walk away with Project WET and Learning Tree guides loaded with NGSS & CCSS correlated activities.
Join us for an overnight, informative, fun-filled, weekend focused on educating in the great outdoors at Whiskeytown Environmental School! Learn how to seamlessly integrate standards-based outdoor education into your curriculum and organize educational field trips for school or community groups.Participants will gain additional inspiration from special presentations on local educational resources.
The EEI Curriculum is 85 K-12 grade units that teaches standards through an environmental lens, including understanding resources, conservation, where our food, energy, and water come from, and complicated decision-making processes related to climate change, green chemistry and use of our public lands. California examples make learning relevant and stimulate student involvement with the world around them. Click here to see a list of correlating Project WET activities to use with individual EEI units!
The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC), administered by the California Department of Education, is an on-line hub offering a searchable database of for a variety of resources, including professional development, field trip and grant opportunities from over 500 informal education providers across the state. Click on your region, then search the events calendar to find a wonderful array of environment based professional development opportunities!
These one-week institutes bring together natural resource specialists and K-12 teachers for one week gaining a deeper understanding of the intricate interrelationship of forest ecosystems and human use of natural resources. You’ll walk away with a wealth of knowledge and environmental education curriculum – including Project Learning Tree, Project WILD and Project Aquatic WILD! Registration includes all housing, meals and materials you receive throughout the week. Register for a summer 2018 location now!
WEBSITES OF INTEREST
These invaders have decimated native fish populations and rewired the way energy flows through the world’s largest freshwater system, sparking an explosion in seaweed growth that rots in reeking pockets along thousands of miles of shoreline. They are among the culprits responsible for toxic algae blooms on Lake Erie that threaten public water supplies. Part of a series of articles linked to an incredible website on invasive species – many of which may be in our future if not already here.
Invasive species are organisms (plants, animals, or microbes) that are not native to an environment, and once introduced, they establish, quickly reproduce and spread, and cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. Invasive species threaten the diversity or abundance of native species through competition for resources, predation, parasitism, interbreeding with native populations, transmitting diseases, or causing physical or chemical changes to the invaded habitat.
The Invasive Species Program has identified numerous actual and potential invasive species from which we strive to protect California’s wild lands and waterways. Many invaders have already established populations in various regions of California and occur in different stages of the invasion process. Click on the profiles on this page to learn about each species’ description, distribution, habitat preference, pathways of spread, impacts - and what to do if you find one.
Cal-IPC’s mission is to protect California’s lands and waters from ecologically-damaging invasive plants through science, education and policy. Across California, invasive plants damage wild lands. Invasive plants displace native plants and wildlife, increase wildfire and flood danger, consume valuable water, degrade recreational opportunities, and destroy productive range and timber lands. Plant Profiles are a “one-stop shop” of resources on invasive plants in California.
The Center for Invasive Species Research based on the University of California Riverside Campus provides a forward-looking approach to managing invasions in California by exotic pests and diseases. The long-term goal of the Center for Invasive Species Research is to develop a systematic methodology for dealing with invasive pests in multiple areas. The FAQ page on this website is an excellent resource for use with the modified version of ‘Invaders’ as described in this Gazette!
The negative consequences of invasive species are far-reaching, costing the United States billions of dollars in damages every year. Compounding the problem is that these harmful invaders spread at astonishing rates. Such infestations of invasive plants and animals can negatively affect property values, agricultural productivity, public utility operations, native fisheries, tourism, outdoor recreation and the overall health of ecosystems.
There’s an invasion plaguing the coastal waters of Southern California. Waves of tiny interlopers spark havoc at fisheries, clog municipal water pipes and frustrate boaters who must dislodge buckets of sea crud. But experts from prestigious organizations like the Smithsonian Environment Research Center have vowed to gather the intelligence needed to rescue native species by studying the incoming hordes, comparing the myriad areas they’ve infiltrated and assessing whether anti-invasive methods and regulations already in place are effective.
A part of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, the Tiburon Branch of the Marine Invasions Lab is a critical part of our research effort on the US West Coast. Researchers at the Tiburon lab are working to understand the patterns and processes of species distributions and invasions. We have a citizen science network to monitor for target non-native species in California. Participants include scientists from local state and federal agencies, concerned citizens, school groups and native groups. If you wish to participate in any SI Citizen Science program please contact Allison Cawood at for more information.
CDFW’s Invasive Species Program is enlisting the help of California’s citizen scientists in launching a statewide effort to monitor for quagga mussels. Citizen scientists are concerned/interested members of the public that assist scientists, researchers, and resource managers by conducting surveys, collecting data, and reporting observations. How can you join the effort? Details and data sheets are on this website! With such a large variety of on-going citizen science efforts in California, across the nation, and globally, there’s a project out there to fit everyone’s interests!
CalWeedMapper enables natural resource managers, scientists and others to create maps and reports of invasive plant distribution, to identify management opportunities in a county or region and to maintain up-to-date species distribution data statewide. CalWeedMapper is integrated with Calflora and Consortium of California Herbaria (CCH) databases, so that new occurrence data submitted to either informs CalWeedMapper.
iMapInvasives is an on-line, GIS-based data management system used to assist citizen scientists and natural resource professionals working to protect our natural resources from the threat of invasive species. This information includes species maps, treatment efforts and effectiveness, and areas where invasive species were searched for but were not found.
The California Society for Ecological Restoration is a non-profit membership-based organization dedicated to facilitating the recovery of damaged California ecosystems through Conferences, field tours, workshops, and more. These activities empower our members to address the diverse aspects involved in restoring native California habitats. You’ll see request for volunteers to help with ecological restoration efforts – many focused on invasive species – from all over California at this link!
Invasive plants are by nature a regional or local problem. A plant that jumps out of the garden in one climate and habitat type may behave perfectly in another. This website is organized by region, so you can learn which plants are most problematic in your area, and what alternative plants make good replacements. We also offer California-wide guides to alternatives for invasive trees and aquatic plants.
Invasive plants harm California’s environment and economy in many ways. They can overtake crops or rangeland; harm wildlife by eliminating plants they need for food and shelter; clog waterways used for commerce or recreation; and increase fire hazards and flood risk. There is no shortage of superior alternatives. The vast majority of garden plants are well behaved and will never become an invasive problem. Our plant list includes several suggested alternatives for each invasive plant.
In some biology classes, students read about invasive species. Last week, in professor Joe Roman’s course, Marine Ecology and Conservation, his students were eating them. Sitting in an elegant dining room at the Courtyard Marriot in downtown Burlington, his students tucked into a seafood feast prepared by chef Doug Paine—including boiled periwinkles still in their shells and a tomato bisque made with green crab. The crabs and periwinkles are invaders from Europe and North Africa, causing havoc in marine ecosystems along the East Coast.
Justine Burt calls herself “borderline vegetarian.” The Palo Alto resident makes an exception for lionfish. “I don’t normally eat sentient creatures, but this one needs to be eaten.’ Fish restaurant in Sausalito recently began bringing in another invasive species, Asian carp, to serve in fish tacos. The two species are part of a growing sustainable seafood movement uniting Caribbean divers and Kentucky fishers with Bay Area diners through a simple idea: Eat invasive fish to help eradicate them.
The 100 million plus dead trees in the Sierra Nevada are a prime example the occasional anomaly that can occur in a native ecosystem. Reports of a species running rampant like a zombie apocalypse doesn’t automatically mean it is a non-native species, just as native species does not mean an organism can’t run rampant if conditions in the ecosystem it inhabits are knocked out of balance.
September 1 – 30, 2017: National Preparedness Month
This September, National Preparedness Month (NPM) will focus on planning, with an overarching theme “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.” We should all take action to prepare! We are all able to help first responders in our community by training how to respond during an emergency and what to do when disaster strikes — where we live, work, and visit. Learn how your students can participate!
September 16 – October 8, 2017: COASTWEEKS 2017
COASTWEEKS is an annual celebration of our coastal and water resources, launched on California Coastal Cleanup Day, when tens of thousands of Californians will come together to keep our coasts and inland waterways free of debris. The COASTWEEKS calendar is loaded with events collected from throughout California and organized by county to help you celebrate COASTWEEKS. The majority of these events are free. Have fun, and enjoy our Coast and Waterways!
September 16, 2017: Delta Waterway Cleanup
The trash that finds its way to the Delta is a serious water pollution problem for both humans and wildlife. The next Delta Waterway Cleanup will focus on sites at Lower Morrison Creek/ Bufferlands, Sherman Island, and Grizzly Island Trail. HammerDirt, a citizen science non-profit, will be joining the effort this year to track and map the trash we find in the Delta. We invite you to participate and to learn more. For more information on the cleanups or volunteering, contact Aaron N.K. Haiman or register here!
September 16, 2017: Great Sierra River Cleanup
During the first eight years of the Great Sierra River Cleanup, over 30,000 volunteers have spread across 22 counties and over 2,600 river miles to pull appliances, cigarette butts, plastic caps/lids, baby diapers, tires, furniture – over 817 tons of trash and recyclables - from the rivers and streams that provide more than 60 percent of California’s developed water supply. This effort, in partnership with California Coastal Cleanup Day, serves to promote good stewardship on all of our waterways - from the Sierra to the sea.
September 18, 2017: World Water Monitoring Day
We invite you to take part in World Water Monitoring Day – a global initiative desired inspire people around the world to test their local water quality and encourage action to protect water. This EarthEcho Water Challenge (formerly World Water Monitoring Challenge) is an international program that runs annually from March 22 – World Water Day – through December. Want to get involved? World Water Monitoring Day is a great place to start!
September 22 – 23, 2017: Oroville Salmon Festival
Come see thousands of returning Chinook salmon! The streets of Oroville will be bursting with activities during the Annual Salmon Festival. On this special weekend Oroville celebrates the thousands of spawning salmon that annually make their way from the ocean back up the Feather River. Environmental education, music, salmon tasting, tours of the hatchery and fun for kids and adults highlight this free event.
September 23, 2017: Monterey Bay Birding Festival
Welcome to one of the most spectacular birding and wildlife venues in North America! From soaring golden eagles, effortlessly gliding California condors, cheeky bushtits, gorgeous Townsend’s warblers, scampering snowy plovers, to thousands of sooty shearwaters streaming along the ocean’s surface, few places can match the diversity of species as the Monterey Bay region. September marks the peak of fall migration, with wintering shorebirds arriving en masse.
September 30, 2017: National Public Lands Day
National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands in the United States. Bring your family, friends, students, or coworkers to spend the day outdoors giving back to your community by pulling invasive species, maintaining trails, picking up trash, and more. Your work will help ensure our public lands continue to be beautiful places for all to enjoy!
September 30, 2017: Free Entrance Days in the National Parks
Celebrate National Public Lands Day with free entrance to a local National Park! Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.
October 8 – 14, 2017: Earth Science Week 2017
“Earth and Human Activity” is the theme of Earth Science Week 2017 to engage young people and others in exploring the relationship between human activity and the geosphere (earth), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air) and biosphere (life). This year’s theme promotes public understanding and stewardship the planet, especially in terms of the ways people affect and are affected by these Earth systems.
October 13 – 15, 2017: California Science Education Conference
Join us in Sacramento this October! Attendees enjoy access to over 150 90-minute workshops —providing you the extended time needed to dive deeper into topics; two top-notch keynote speakers sure to inspire and inform; and a half dozen focus speakers lecturing on topics that are at the cutting edge of science, STEM, and education.
October 20 – 22, 2017: AEOE Northern Section Fall Conference
Join us at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School in Sonora this October! Foothill Horizons Outdoor School is nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The conference will include 15+ educational workshops, networking, open mic and acoustic jams Saturday Night Campfire entertainment, light Saturday and Sunday breakfast, Saturday dinner and two nights lodging (camping only). Attendees must be current AEOE members, which you can RENEW your membership when you register!
October 22 – 28, 2017: Take Part in Flood Preparedness Week!
Last year’s rain reminded us that California can move for from drought to flood in the blink of an eye. so all Californians should #BeFloodReady at all times. Educators are encouraged to visit Flood Prepare California to learn how to prepare for a flood. For your students, free workbooks are available from the Water Facts and Fun Catalog. Available in both English and Spanish, ‘I am Ready/Estoy Listo’ includes flood preparedness activities, coloring pages and a family emergency plan. Join the flood awareness campaign on social media by sharing what you and your students are doing for Flood Preparedness Week with the hashtag #BeFloodReady.
November 3 -5, 2017: AEOE Southern Section Fall Conference
Join us at Pathfinder Ranch in Mountain Center this November! Pathfinder Ranch is nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains between oak and Jeffrey pine, at an altitude of over 4,500 feet. Enjoy scenic hiking trails and a beautiful lake full of aquatic life for pond studies. Conference includes 15+ environmental education workshops, Saturday night campfire, Saturday night dinner, Sunday potluck breakfast and tent or dorm accommodations for two nights. Attendees must be current AEOE members!
November 4, 2017: Gold Coast Science Network Conference
Assembling Our STEM Ecosystem! The 2017 conference theme builds on the designation of Ventura County as a STEM Learning Ecosystem in 2016. The Gold Coast Science Network (GCSN) has helped to develop and nurture this ecosystem and our conference for STEM Education continues to bring teachers and the community together to share ideas and build inter-agency partnerships and collaborations across our beautiful gold coast and southcentral California.
November 11 – 12, 2017: National Parks Free Entrance Day
Listen as a young veteran suffering from PTSD shares how paddling with other veterans in the “Vets on the River” program at Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. The National Park Service invites all visitors to remember our veterans by visiting any National Park Service site for free this Veteran’s Day weekend.
December 10 – 11, 2017: California STEAM Symposium
Join us in the heart of San Francisco this December for the California STEAM Symposium (formerly the STEM Symposium). We are adding Art to become the California STEAM Symposium. The inclusion of Art recognizes the importance of braiding together Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math learning like the strands of a rope, so students gain the skills they need to succeed in the future.
SCHOOL, CLASSROOM & TEACHER GRANTS
Lowe’s Toolbox for Education – Deadline: September 29, 2017
Raise up to $5,000 for your school in minutes! It’s that easy when you take advantage of Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program. Apply for our Toolbox for Education Grant now and build on your already impressive parent group success with Lowe’s. Lowe’s will donate up to $5 million to K-12 public/charter schools and to parent teacher groups – at as many as 1,000 different public schools per school year.
Target Field Trip Grants – Deadline: October 1, 2017
Some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom, but field trips have become increasingly difficult for schools to fund. To help out, we launched Field Trip Grants in 2007. Since then, we’ve made it possible for millions of students to go on a field trip. Target stores award Field Trip Grants to K-12 schools nationwide. Each grant is valued up to $700.
Literacy for Life Grants - Deadline: October 1, 2017
Want to take your class on an ag field trip, purchase a class set of ag books, or host an ag education day? Here is your chance! The Literacy for Life Grants are designed to initiate new projects or expand existing ones that promote agricultural literacy. Grants of up to $500 are provided to California K-12 educators to support the integration of agriculture into regular classroom instruction.
Toshiba America Foundation (K-5) Grant – Deadline: October 1, 2017
What do you need to make learning math and science fun for your students? K-5 grade teachers are invited to apply on-line for a $1,000 Toshiba America Foundation grant to help bring an innovative hands-on project into their own classroom. We only accept on-line applications and applications must be for project based learning.
Explore the Coast Grants – Deadline: October 7, 2016
Explore the Coast Grants fund a wide range of programs that bring people to the coast, increase stewardship of coastal, and provide educational opportunities. The grant program prioritizes programs teaching citizens to value the state’s coastal resources or programs that combine education with beach maintenance and habitat restoration projects.
WHALE TAIL® Grants - Deadline: November 1, 2017
WHALE TAIL® grants support programs that teach California children and the general public to value and take action to improve the health of the state’s marine and coastal resources. Adopt-A-Beach® programs, as well as other beach maintenance and coastal habitat restoration projects that have an educational component, are also eligible for these grants. This grants program focuses on reaching communities that are currently poorly served in terms of marine and coastal education. The application packet for the 2017/18 funding cycle will be available on September 13, 2017
The Imagine This Story Writing Contest – Deadline: November 1, 2017
The Imagine this… Story Writing Contest is open to all California third through eighth-grade students. The contest aligns with Common Core State Standards, as students write creative narratives based on facts about California agriculture. The annual deadline is November 1, and this year, all students who write stories will receive a FREE packet of seeds!
Walmart Community Grant Program - Deadline: December 31, 2017
Through the Community Grant Program, our associates are proud to support the needs of their communities by providing grants to local organizations. Central to our commitment to operating globally and giving back locally are the grants we award to organizations of all sizes in communities around the globe. Whether it’s a small grant to a local school or a large grant across several states, we engage in opportunities that align with the Walmart Foundation’s key areas of focus: Opportunity, Sustainability and Community.
Campus Rain Works Challenge – Registration Deadline: September 30, 2017
EPA’s Office of Water is inviting undergraduate and graduate student teams to design an innovative green infrastructure project for their campus showing how managing stormwater at its source can benefit the campus community and the environment. Green infrastructure strategies use or mimic natural processes to manage stormwater. The first place team in each design category will receive a student prize of $2,000 to be divided evenly among the team and a faculty prize of $3,000.
Kids to Parks Day - Deadline: February 1, 2018
National Park Trust (NPT) invites students across the country to participate in the Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide grassroots movement to celebrate America’s Parks and public lands. Opening October 1, 2017, this national contest is open to all Title I schools in the United States. Classes can receive funding for a KTP event at a park or public land/waterway in their community. Students must research and write the proposal themselves, although we encourage teachers to provide support and feedback! NPT will award park grants up to $1,000 to winning entries.
Earth Science Week 2017: Photography Contest Deadline: October 13, 2017
Your photograph should focus on the topic “Earth and Human Activity Here.” Humans, individually and in groups, interact with the planet’s natural systems in many ways. These natural systems include the geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (living things). With a camera, you can capture evidence of some ways people affect, or are affected by, Earth systems around your home, neighborhood, school, workplace, or local public spaces. In a photo, show human interaction with natural systems where you are. http://www.earthsciweek.org/contests/photography
Earth Science Week 2017: Visual Arts Contest Deadline: October 13, 2017
Your artwork should focus on the topic “People and the Planet.” Earth science is the study of “Earth systems” — our planet’s land, water, air, and living things. The natural world is part of many things that people do. Think of where our food, clothes, and homes come from. Think of the ways we work and play. Think of the forces that shape our weather, our travels, our habits, and all the things we can (and cannot) do. Can you create a picture that shows how human activities shape, and are shaped by, Earth systems? Use artwork to show “people and the planet” in the world that you know. http://www.earthsciweek.org/contests/visual-arts
Earth Science Week 2017: Essay Contest Deadline: October 13, 2017
Your essay should focus on the topic “Human Interaction With Earth Systems.” Earth science expands our understanding of, among other things, human interaction with the planet’s natural systems and processes. Geoscientists explore the relationship between human activity and the geosphere (earth), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life). Their impact can be seen in areas such as energy, technology, climate change, the environment, natural disasters, industry, agriculture, recreation, and tourism. Focusing on one topic, explain how geoscience helps us make the most of opportunities and manage challenges. http://www.earthsciweek.org/contests/essay
Get to Know Contest Contest Ends: November 1, 2017
The motto of the Get to Know Program is “ Connect. Create. Celebrate.” These words articulate our mission to foster connections to nature through the creative arts-and to celebrate the fantastic work being done by youth in response to the environment and the need to understand and value nature. We work to ensure that young people are provided with opportunities to spend more time out of doors. The contest runs from May 1st to November 1st and invites participants to get outside and create original works of art, writing, photography, videography and music inspired by nature. Get started today! http://www.get-to-know.org/contest/us/
Caring for Our Watersheds Writing Contest Deadline: January 26, 2018
The Caring for our Watersheds (CFW) program empowers 9th-12th grade students to imagine, develop and create solutions to water issues they identify in their local watersheds. Students work independently or as teams of no more than four to research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and come up with a realistic solution. CFW is both an environmental proposal contest and a project funding opportunity for high school students in Yolo, Solano, Sacramento, Colusa, Yuba, Sutter, Glenn, El Dorado, Placer, and San Joaquin counties.. Interested? Contact Beth Del Real at (530) 795-1544 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information at: http://landbasedlearning.org/watersheds.php
California Project WET Gazette is published by the Water Education Foundation, which serves as the state coordinator and host institution for Project WET USA, a program of the Project WET Foundation.
Editor: Brian Brown, California Project WET Coordinator