Soon, our water’s fate will be out of our hands -- our kids will be in charge. That’s why we’re excited to announce that over the past few months, we have educated and inspired over 875 children and their family members to love and protect San Diego’s water. By partnering with Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and League of Extraordinary Scientists, we brought Water Education For All curricula to classrooms countywide. And we keep working after the school bell rings to inspire young minds outside of class, too.
On October 6, 2015, we joined Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s 52 Weeks of Science kickoff event, offering exciting, hands-on lessons about the specific water quality issues in kids’ own San Diego County backyards, rivers and beaches. Most importantly, we let them solve these problems on their own, offering them the thrill of building solutions to real problems that affect their families. These interactive projects are key to helping kids stay hooked on protecting our water for life.
On December 3, 2015, San Diego Coastkeeper presented at another 52 Weeks of Science event at the Boys and Girls club. We discussed the importance of water conservation and how students could start conserving as soon as they got home. We then brought out the crowd favorite, our hands-on watershed model, to demonstrate how urban runoff pollution travels from land to the ocean, and played a game to discover how long San Diego’s most common types of marine debris take to decompose.
We also teamed up with the League of Extraordinary Scientists and Engineers to incorporate our Water Education for All lesson on watersheds into its “Making Waves” tour held at libraries and community centers across San Diego. The League captured kids’ attention with the opportunity to interact with live marine organisms native to San Diego. Then, through our Water Education For All lesson and hands-on watershed model, they learned how our pollution on land can affect the health of these animals, building strong understanding of the importance of preventing urban runoff, the largest threat to San Diego’s water quality. Kids learned that urban runoff is made of pollutants like trash, dog poop, oil, cigarette butts and, as one student correctly suggested, "even hot cheetos."
After the League witnessed our watershed curriculum and model inspiring both kids and parents to become environmental stewards, the its board of directors decided to permanently incorporate our watershed curriculum into its countywide classroom tours, which are anticipaed to reach 2,700 San Diego students in 2016. The League is even planning on building a larger mobile watershed with a clear floor and walls and gutters that lead to an artifical ocean.
You can help bring water education to even more future leaders in the coming months. Share water science with your classroom or familiy by downloading our free Water Education For All curriculum, available in both English and Spanish. We are grateful to the Port of San Diego, our education interns and our partners League of Extradordinary Scientists and Engineers and Reuben H. Fleet Science Center for making these lessons and events possible.
In Water Education For All Lesson 6: Water Conservation, Students will apply their knowledge of drought and water consumption to their everyday lives. Students will keep track of how much water they consume at home. They will ask questions like, "What ways can I conserve water in my home?" Students will be asked to identify and practice two ways of conserving water. This lesson encourage students to share their knowledge at home to include their families in a water conservation project.
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In Water Education For All Lesson 5: Animal Adaptations, students discover ways animals change over time. Students will learn that animals can change in order to live in their own changing environment and discuss how San Diego coastal habitats lead local wildlife to develop certain characteristics. To cement the lesson students will create an animal of their own. They will have to think about what adaptations are necessary for their animal to live in a San Diego aquatic ecosystem - and be encouraged to be as creative as possible to give their animal an advantage!
- Animal Adaptation Lesson
- A-Z San Diego Animal Guide Bilingual Coloring Book
- San Diego Habitats Prezi
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In Water Education For All Lesson 4: Natural Hazards and Disasters, students learn about natural hazards that result from natural processes -- and the water quality and water supply impacts. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards, but can take steps to reduce their impact. It is important to note that severe weather doesn’t occur randomly, it occurs in specific times and places. In San Diego, we see drought due to climate change.
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In Water Education For All Lesson 3: Weather vs. Climate, students learn to distinguish between weather and climate using San Diego's weather data over time (climate) and collecting temperature over a short period of time (weather).
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In Water Education For All lesson 2: Marine Debris, students come to understand the problems caused by plastic pollution, explore solutions and become engaged as stewards of our beaches, rivers, and other water bodies. Using data from San Diego Coastkeeper beach cleanups students will learn the most common item found on our beaches, why this is a problem for our ocean, wildlife and human health, and how to prevent marine debris pollution.
We included the "How Long Does It Take to Break Down?" Beach Cleanup Activity, a short hands-on lesson that can be taught during a beach cleanup or in the classroom. Students will learn how long our trash can last in the ocean and the effects on our marine life.
We also included a fable about a Garibaldi named Gerald. Gerald Discovers Debris will help your students to practice reading and writing while learning to care for the ocean and other living creatures (nice or naughty!).
- Marine Debris Lesson
- Marine Debris Decomposition Lesson
- "How Long Does It Take To Break Down?" Beach Cleanup Activity (English)
- "How Long Does It Take To Break Down?" Beach Cleanup Activity (Spanish)
- Beach Cleanup Data Sheet (Spanish)
- Marine Debris PowerPoint
- Kids Story, "Gerald Discovers Debris"
- "Gerald Discovers Debris" Reading Comprehension Questions
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In Water Education For All Lesson 1: Watersheds and Water Quality, students will learn to test pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity using the World Water Monitoring Kits (or other available kits in their programs). These parameters will be used as a watershed case study to help students understand how our daily activities can make our watersheds healthy or polluted. They will compare San Diego Coastkeeper water quality data with their results. The lesson includes a PowerPoint with slide notes to help educators teach the lesson on their own.
Also for educators we have a list of materials and a one-page explaining how to build your own watershed model. These models may be used for future exhibits and hands-on presentations.
- Watersheds Lesson (English)
- Watersheds Lesson (Spanish)
- Watersheds and Water Quality PowerPoint
- Watersheds and Water Quality Activity Outline
- Water Quality Lesson (6-12 Grade)
- How to Make a Watershed Model
- Watershed Lesson Fair Style (for libraries or other informal settings)
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Did you know that a member of American royalty will be presenting at this year's 18th Annual Seaside Soiree on October 28 at the Bali Hai in Shelter Island? That's right, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will join us to celebrate fishable, swimmable, and drinkable water in San Diego County. Besides that he's a Kennedy, there are many reasons why we chose him as a speaker!
- He has water bona fides. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is President of Waterkeeper Alliance and Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law's Environmental Litigation Clinic. He serves as Chief Prosecuting Attorney for Hudson Riverkeeper and Senior Attorney for Natural Resources Defense Councils. He served early in his career as Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan.
- He's a water champion! He has worked on environmental issues across the globe and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands. He is also credited with leading the fight to protect New York City's water supply. The New York City watershed agreement, which he negotiated on behalf of environmentalists and New York City watershed consumers, is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development.
- He's pretty much a hero. Not only do we think he's a water hero, Bobby named a "Hero for the Planet" by Time.com for his success with Riverkeeper in helping to restore the Hudson River to its pre-Industrail Age splendor.
- Bobby is a white-water rafter. He has led several white-water rafting trips in Canada and Central America, so it's no wonder he loves water! He has even led the first trips to three hidden rivers in Peru, Colombia and Venezuela.
- He's an award winning author. He has won awards for best science writing for his article "Bush's Junk Science", best political writing for his article (and later book) Crimes Against Nature and best crime writing for his article "A Miscarries of Justice."
- He has written three children's books. He's not quite Dr. Suess, but Bobby has written St. Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s American Heroes: The Story of Joshua Chamberlain and the American Civil War and Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief.
- He's a bird expert. Bobby is a licensed master falconer and former president of the New York State Falconer's Association. He also owns an emu and turkey!
- He's a bit of a movie star. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. appeared in the IMAX documentary film Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, where he travelled along the length of the Grand Canyon.
- He's a recognized hottie. If you're swooning over Bobby, you are not alone. He was named one of AARP's sexiest men over 50 in 2012!
- Oh, and did we mention he'll be at this year's Seaside Soiree? The last time we saw Bobby was 10 years ago...so, it only makes sense that he's back to visit us for our 20th Anniversary!
Don't delay. Get your Seaside Soiree ticket today before we sell out.
Since I joined San Diego Coastkeeper in 2009, protecting the health of our waters has meant I could pour every ounce of my professional effort into a cause that is deeply, personally meaningful to me and critically important for our region. And every day I work alongside a dedicated staff and board of directors that approaches the mission of fishable, swimmable, drinkable water with intelligence, humor and fearlessness.
Joining San Diego Coastkeeper fulfilled my dream that meaningful work can be fun, and learning happens over a lifetime.
I can’t help but be exceedingly proud of all we have accomplished together.
- Successfully advocated for Pure Water recycling in the City of San Diego
- Won faster beach water quality testing
- Achieved a new watershed-based permit that allows cities and agencies to collaborate to reduce pollution
- Launched STEM “Water Kits” for elementary school kids all over the county
- Expanded the state’s largest volunteer water quality monitoring program
- Built partnerships with a wide range of community, industry and business groups
Now, after six and a half years with San Diego Coastkeeper, I’m ready for the next adventure—but I’m not going far! I’ll join San Diego Grantmakers as the senior director of collaborative philanthropy, a new position responsible for driving the organization’s member and cross-sector collaborations to address critical community issues. I will be with Coastkeeper until October 2, and you're encouraged to help find our next leader by sharing our executive director job description.
As we celebrate San Diego Coastkeeper’s 20th anniversary, the path forward is clear. Our board approved a strategic plan that guides our continued success (don’t miss the big ‘reveal’ at the Seaside Soiree!). And our incredible staff continues to grow and to outdo itself in expertise and innovation. Twenty years of clean water accomplishments and the dynamic team we have in place provide an incredible foundation from which the next executive director will springboard to another two decades of clean water work.
It has been my absolute pleasure and privilege to lead San Diego Coastkeeper and what comes next promises to be even better.
For fishable, swimmable, drinkable water,