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Posts Tagged ‘education’

Two piliated woodpeckers on tree

Pileated woodpeckers on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed (Photo by Ian Austin)

The Marin Wildlife Discovery Day will be an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the rich diversity of wildlife in Marin. There are over 150 species of birds that live and breed in Marin, our creeks support some of the best coho salmon populations in northern California, and our hills are home to California’s top predator, the mountain lion. Come enjoy hands-on science learning for the entire family!

The event will be Saturday, October 25, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on “Children’s Island” in the lagoon at the Marin Civic Center. Parking will be available at the Marin Fairgrounds. Admission is free.

The Discovery Day will be hosted by many of the groups and organizations that work to preserve, understand, and protect Marin’s amazing wildlife. The event is organized by Marin County Parks with partners Marin Municipal Water District, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, River Otter Ecology Project, Felidae, Pepperwood Preserve, Project Coyote, Friends of Corte Madera Creek, College of Marin, Redwood High School-Next Generation, Manor School Green Team, and more.

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by Robin McKillop, Water Conservation Specialist Supervisor

With the “lazy” days of summer almost over and schools throughout Marin already starting the 2014-15 school year, there’s no better time than now to start thinking about MMWD’s Water Wonders education programs. Our fun, informative programs offer something for everyone, including indoor and outdoor educational opportunities, hands-on water conservation and restoration activities, whole-school assemblies in English and Spanish, service learning projects, and school bus reimbursements. Last year, MMWD’s Water Wonders programs provided education to thousands of K through 12th students throughout Marin. This year, we expect similar demand, as water seems to be on everybody’s mind with California’s ongoing drought. By participating in the Water Wonders program, students will learn about drought, and gain an understanding that droughts are an unpredictable and naturally recurring part of California’s variable climate. Students will also learn about simple, positive actions they can take to conserve water at home and at school.

MMWD classroom presentationThrough MMWD’s “Do-It-Yourself Water Conservation” program, students are empowered to take water conserving actions at home—something that’s always important, but even more so now, during these times of drought. Students learn to evaluate their household’s water use and identify ways to conserve water by checking their toilets for leaks, installing water-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators, and reviewing their irrigation systems, among other things. MMWD provides free showerheads and faucet aerators to households that need them.

The Water Wonders brochure provides detailed information about all of our programs as well as contact information for making reservations. Programs are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and fill up quickly. All programs are offered free of charge and are designed to support California education standards while fostering water conservation and environmental stewardship.

We hope you’ll join us this school year! The first step is to make a reservation for one or more of our water education programs.

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Marin County FairOur partners Marin Master Gardeners will be at the Marin County Fair today through Sunday with lots of great advice and resources for gardening in a drought. Drop by the “Potting Shed” to learn about designing low-water-use landscapes, water-wise edible gardening, and much more! Check out the schedule of activities.

The fair is open daily 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., July 2 – 6, at the county fairgrounds at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael.

Can’t make it to the fair? Marin Master Gardeners will come to you! Sign up for a Marin-Friendly Garden Walk at your home and get personalized, water-wise tips for a beautiful, healthy landscape. Watch the video below to learn more about the walks, then call 415-473-4204 to schedule your free appointment.

 

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Mayor Gary Phillips of San Rafael

Mayor Gary Phillips accepted the award on behalf of the City of San Rafael. See more photos from the recognition event.

At the May 20 Board of Directors meeting, MMWD launched a new conservation recognition program, “Water-Saving Heroes,” to acknowledge customers who are significantly reducing their water use and inspiring others to do the same. When the board requested a 25% voluntary water use reduction in January, these customers immediately rose to the challenge.

We’re looking for more water-saving heroes to recognize at future board meetings. If you know a water-saving hero—or if you are one—let us know!

Congratulations to the following customers who were recognized on May 20:

RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS

Nancy and Mike Duran, San Rafael

  • For the February to April time period, the Duran family reduced their water use from 12,716 gallons in 2013 to 6,732 this year—almost a 50% reduction!
  • Accomplished these savings by cutting back on unnecessary water use and capturing rainwater for their garden
  • Inspired others by tweeting about their success

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Mayor Gary Phillips, City of San Rafael
To conserve water during the drought, the City of San Rafael:

  • Eliminated or reduced to a bare minimum irrigation of turf areas in city parks and sports fields and in most landscaped areas
  • Installed high-efficiency faucets, showerheads, and toilets to replace inefficient models in city facilities
  • Minimized washing of city fleet vehicles
  • Posted conservation signs above kitchen and bathroom sinks, and reminded city employees to minimize shower times and run only full dishwasher loads at city facilities

Chief Jason Weber, Marin County Fire Department
Marin County Fire took these steps to conserve water:

  • During training exercises, flowed water at bare minimum amounts and only when absolutely necessary
  • Minimized washing of fire trucks, while still keeping equipment clean and shiny through daily wiping down with chamois cloths
  • Deferred fire hydrant and hose testing where possible, and conducted required tests so as to limit water loss
  • Asked all fire personnel to reduce water use 25% by minimizing shower times, washing only full loads of clothes and dishes, watering landscaping only as needed, and repairing leaks at fire facilities

BUSINESSES

Michael Cronin, Operations Manager, EO Products, San Rafael

  • For their new facility in San Rafael, EO Products converted the water cooling system for their manufacturing process from an open system to a closed system, allowing the company to recirculate the water and save thousands of gallons.
  • Also installed faucet aerators and upgraded all their toilets to high-efficiency models

Lynn Langford, CEO, Lean Green Solutions

  • Created “Neighbor 2 Neighbor” drought event for Ross Valley residents at the Marin Art & Garden Center
  • Helped found the Marin Edible Garden and coordinate the Ross Valley Garden Tour, including partnering with MMWD to provide water-wise gardening information to tour participants

SCHOOLS

Mike Grant, Facilities Director, Marin County Office of Education

  • Arranged for MMWD Conservation Manager Dan Carney to give a presentation for all Marin County Schools’ maintenance directors to help strengthen conservation efforts in our schools

Ted Stoeckley, Science Specialist, Larkspur-Corte Madera School District

  • Contacted MMWD to request 500 of our conservation “cling sticks” to distribute to his students in 19 classrooms at Neil Cummins Elementary and Hall Middle School, who in turn took the conservation message home to their families

Parents Marnie Glickman and Sommer Au-Yeung, Science Teacher Pete Hudson, and Students of the Lower Elementary Class, Marin Montessori School, Corte Madera

  • Collaborated on developing a program at Marin Montessori School to teach students about our water system and about the drought
  • Coordinated a water conservation presentation and led students through a brainstorming session on conserving water
  • Students took home aerators, toilet leak test tablets, a sticker, and conservation information in a bucket—perfect for capturing and reusing shower warm-up water.
  • Parents reported that all the kids came home excited and made their parents test the toilet, install the aerator, and put the sticker on the fridge.

 

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by Paul Scott, Volunteer Watershed Ambassador

Bon Tempe and Mt. Tamalpais

Bon Tempe Lake on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed

Earth Day is upon us! This is the time to ponder our relationship with our one and only planet. In this regard a major force for me has been Mt. Tamalpais, the “crown jewel” being MMWD’s watershed lands.

The Mt. Tamalpais Watershed consists of five reservoirs and primarily the north-facing slopes of the mountain that shed rainwater into them. These “lakes” have been here long enough that they are now a focal point for the diversity of flora and fauna found here. Camping, hunting, swimming, and boating are a no-no and cars have very limited access, so it’s an oasis of sorts for natural processes to occur with minimal human disruption. While the “purpose” of these lands is to provide clean drinking water, requiring wise ecological practices, we are also blessed with their biodiversity and many recreational opportunities.

The natural resources staff work out of Sky Oaks Watershed Headquarters located in the hills above Fairfax and in close proximity to three of the reservoirs. Their volunteer program offers abundant opportunity for young and old, all geared toward environmental education, wise resource management, and furthering community spirit. As a volunteer and near-daily visitor to the watershed lands myself, I see folks come to visit with smiles on their faces. Many of them are “regulars” who tell me they feel the same way I do about the area—it is a place of peace and sanctuary. I’m amazed how many come from other countries, but I’m most surprised when I meet local people who had no idea all this was here.

Come develop your relationship with your watershed—for Earth Day and any day. Experience a fine example of how humans can make use of natural resources in an intelligent and sympathetic manner for everything and everyone to share.

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Saving water is always important but especially during a drought like we’re having right now. There are lots of things you can do at home and at school to save water. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Be a leak detective: Check faucets and showers for drips—one drip per second adds up to eight gallons of water every day. Remember to check outdoor faucets and hoses, too.
  • A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons a day! Ask your parents to help you test your toilets for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet in the tank and waiting about 15 minutes. If the color shows up in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs to be repaired.
  • Don’t use your toilet as a waste basket. Put facial tissues in the trash. Don’t flush spiders and other creepy-crawlies—capture them in a cup and put them outside.
  • Turn off the tap while you brush—you'll save about eight gallons every day!

    Turn off the tap while you brush—you’ll save about eight gallons every day!

    Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or lathering your hands. This is an easy way to save eight gallons or more every day.

  • Take showers instead of baths. Try timing your shower, then challenge yourself to shorten your shower by two minutes. You’ll save about five gallons!
  • Try this experiment to see how water-efficient your showerhead is. If you discover that you need a new showerhead, MMWD has free replacements available.
  • Put a bucket in the shower while you’re waiting for the water to warm up. Use the water you collect to flush the toilet by pouring the bucket into the toilet bowl. Or, use this water to help your parents water thirsty house or garden plants.
  • Designate a drinking glass for each member of the family and reuse your glass throughout the day. You’ll cut down on the number of glasses that need washing.
  • If washing dishes is one of your chores, don’t rinse dishes under a running tap. Instead, fill a pan with water. Better yet, just scrape the dishes into the trash or compost and put them in the dishwasher. Remember to run the dishwasher only when full.
  • If your clothes aren’t very dirty, re-wear them before tossing them in the laundry hamper.
  • Wash your pet outside in an area of the yard that needs watering.
  • Remind your friends, classmates, and parents to conserve water, too!

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by Robin McKillop

Believe it or not, the school year has already started in many areas throughout Marin—and that means it’s time to roll out another exciting year of MMWD’s water education programs. If you’re a busy teacher, be sure to reserve your place today. If you’re a busy parent, remember to encourage your child’s teacher to participate in MMWD’s water education programs. They’re fun! They’re free! They’re educational!

Mt. Tamalpais Watershed field tripLast year, MMWD’s Water Wonders environmental education programs provided outreach to thousands of students at public and private schools in Marin. Through MMWD’s programs, students learned all about water—from source to supply to conservation. Many students had the chance to reinforce classroom concepts by visiting our beautiful watershed lands and participating in restoration and conservation activities. High school students were also invited to visit MMWD’s Water Quality Laboratory where they learned about current drinking water regulations, analyses and instrumentation, as well as the specifics of water quality here in MMWD’s service area. Elementary school students continued to learn about the importance of clean water and fish habitat by hatching and releasing trout through the “Trout in the Classroom” program, offered in partnership with North Bay Trout Unlimited, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project.

The Water Wonders brochure provides detailed information about all of our programs. This year, we are excited to introduce some new educational opportunities while continuing to offer long-term favorites. Hot off the press is our “Marin Municipal Water District” poster—a great addition to any classroom, providing a fun and informative overview of MMWD’s watershed, reservoirs and treatment plants, as well as the people, plants and animals who share our water supply. Be sure to order your free copy today. Also new this year is our expanded school bus reimbursement program. Now, all schools that book an MMWD-guided field trip to the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed can apply for a reimbursement for travel costs. A limited number of reimbursements, up to $500, are available on a first-come, first-served basis—so book your field trip today! Finally, don’t miss out on our exciting new classroom presentation, “The History of MMWD and Preservation of Mt. Tamalpais,” given by Jack Gibson, author of Images of America: Mount Tamalpais and the Marin Municipal Water District. This presentation can be tailored to the needs of your students and is a great way to enhance your students’ understanding of local history and the rich tradition of environmental protection in Marin.

Programs are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and fill up quickly. All programs are offered free of charge and are designed to support California education standards while fostering water conservation and environmental stewardship. Bilingual (English-Spanish) classroom presentations and assemblies are available. We hope you will join us this school year in educating Marin’s students all about water. Jump in and make your reservation today! Click here for contact information.

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