In October Ocean Connectors will launch a new outdoor education program for third grade students! The new program will involve approximately 70 students, their parents, and teachers in the restoration of one habitat acre at Paradise Creek in National City, California. We recently joined forces with the Paradise Creek Educational Park, Incorporated (PCEPI), to improve a segment of wetland, river, and stream corridor at Paradise Creek through litter removal, invasive plant abatement, and native plant revegetation to restore safe community access and utilization. We will consult with local habitat experts from PCEPI and Recon Native Plants, Inc. to select native plant species and determine the best placement of plants in and around the habitat.
Paradise Creek is located next to one of our original partner schools in National City, Kimball Elementary. Three Kimball third grade classes will participate in the project, allowing students to explore their own “backyard” as they receive a firsthand introduction to habitat restoration. Activities will focus on habitat protection, pollution prevention, waste reduction, water conservation, and preparing for climate-related risks such as sea level rise and drought. This will be an exciting way to extend our Kimball students’ learning experience with Ocean Connectors and to prepare them for their next three years in our Ocean Connectors educational programs.
The project will commence in October, beginning with surveys to test baseline knowledge and an introduction to the history of Paradise Creek. Our team will work with Kimball students twice a month during October to February. Students will participate in many different aspects of restoration, including site preparation, planting native plants, seed dispersal and plant propagation, litter and invasive plant removal, applying soil and mulch, creating a native plant garden, collecting data, and a variety of standards-based educational activities. In addition to habitat restoration, students will experience bird watching, microscopes, and pH and dissolved oxygen testing. Throughout the project, parents and local residents will be encouraged to get involved on the weekends through PCEPI “Creek Days” held on the last Saturday of every month.
Funding for this program is generously provided by the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project. In addition to PCEPI, Ocean Connectors is teaming up with the Environmental Health Coalition and the City of National City to make this project possible.