A joint program of the Center for Land-Based Learning and Nutrien, Inc. the Caring for our Watersheds program empowers students to imagine, develop, and create solutions in their local watersheds. Caring for our Watershed is both an environmental proposal contest and a project funding opportunity for high school students. The program promotes watershed awareness and stewardship, values student ideas, and offers support when turning theoretical ideas into action.

A finals event is held annually and is the culmination of the Caring for Our Watersheds Program. In attendance are 80-100 high school students, parents, teachers, and natural resource professionals from the Sacramento region. The top ten proposals have been selected for their innovative ideas and environmental impact. Students present their ideas to a panel of judges and win $300 to $1,000 for themselves, and a matching award for their school.

Students’ project ideas cover a range of issues, including water conservation, preventing soil erosion, toilet leak detection,  native species habitat improvement and much more. In 2017, MET Sacramento High School student Noah Crockett, who  has a passion for entomology and a specific interest in pollinators, was able to implement his project with funding from Caring for our Watersheds and support from Center for Land-Based Learning staff.

Over the past years, Noah has been interning at the UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology and has learned a great deal about the threats to pollinators. Crockett’s project focused on providing nest sites for two specific native pollinators, the Mason Bee and Leafcutter Bee (family: Megachilidae).

While these bees do not produce honey they are still beneficial for gardens; they are amongst the most productive pollinators and are able to access much smaller flowers than honeybees and bumblebees. Crockett built a dozen bee boxes and distributed them to property owners along the American River. He included instructions on how and where to hang the boxes, as well as seeds for spring flowers to provide additional nectar sources for the bees.

Since 2011, over 2,100 proposals have been submitted by 3,000 students. 45 projects have been implemented and over $130,000 has been awarded for student ideas and project implementation.  For more information about the Caring for our Watersheds program, please contact Beth DelReal, beth@landbasedlearning.org

 

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