Antioch High Earth Team began a litter assessment of downtown Antioch starting from the high school ending at the Marina. Interns collected litter and entered the data into the Zerolitter.org for a duration of 1 hour and 3o mins.; within that time frame interns collected over 300 pieces of litter. The information recorded about the density of litter downtown will hopefully provide the city of Antioch with additional information in order to achieve their zero litter goal by 2020.
Antioch High interns finished off their first semester Earth Team internship strong by presenting to several classes about the importance of healthy watersheds, litter reduction, and our beautiful bay in December! During the same day at lunch interns hosted a recycling drive and litter guessing game to engage the entire student body. All money made from recyclables was donated to standfortrees.org. Antioch Earth Team was inspired and touched by a slam poet who advocated for this Amazon tree planting non-profit, in a moving slam poetry video. This video was shown to each class that was presented too. Earth Team encourages you to watch, and maybe just maybe donate to the cause! Video is shown below.
Interns also did their part to help native trees and other plant species in their local environment by removing highly invasive french broom from San Pablo Dam Reservoir. Interns removed over 2,500 sq. ft. from a natural area near Kennedy grove in El Sobrante. Due to their hard work native plants in that area can thrive and no longer need to compete with invasive french broom. Good job interns! This coming semester interns will begin hosting their own environmental events that anyone can join, keep checking back for more information!
Antioch High Earth Team spent this week conducting a litter assessment at their school. Interns determined that most of the litter found was plastics, and food wrappers. This lead them to believe that lunch was predominantly the time when students were littering due to a lack of recycling bins in quads. Antioch High is only a couple miles away from the Bay, this means that storm drains from the school and litter traveling by wind can easily enter the marine environment. Marine debris is a huge environmental issue, and can mean the unfortunate deaths of countless marine species, and negative impacts on these vital ecosystems. Interns have decided to educate their peers on the effects of littering on their local environment, and what can they do to stop being a part of the problem and become the solution. On December 6th, Earth Team will present to 20 different classes at Antioch High, and provide recycling bins in the quads at lunch in order to make a small positive difference that hopefully has lasting impacts on their peers.
This week in honor of Election Day, Antioch Earth Team participated in a friendly debate and discussion about the banning of single use plastic bags in California. Interns researched and discussed the two props that pertained to the banning of single use plastic bags, Prop 65 and 67. Interns then broke into groups representing Proposition 65 and 67, and attempted to persuade Program Associate, Julia Dorosh, to vote yes on their given prop. The hot topics were whether it was right to charge consumers 10 cents per plastic bag especially those experiencing financial struggles, the ecological benefits to watersheds and oceans from the banning of plastic bags, and where the revenue from plastic bags purchases should be distributed. Interns learned that both Propositions supported the continuing ban on single use plastic bags, but differed in many ways. Ultimately, interns were supportive of any Proposition that helps our environment, and were happy to know that California’s natural world will not be experiencing such high levels of plastic bag litter in years to come.
Antioch High Earth Team enjoyed a beautiful and productive Saturday at the DOW Wetlands Preserve located near the Antioch Marina. The DOW Wetlands Preserve was created on Earth Day in 1990, and consists of 471 acres of protected land that is completely open to the public. DOW purchased the land in order to create an environmental buffer zone to protect the bay from runoff pollution originating from neighboring towns, Antioch and Pittsburg. Tidal wetlands and small ponds dominate 200 acres of the land, and provide habitat for endangered and threatened species. The wetlands provide a natural filtration system for water flowing to the bay through Kirker Creek and Antioch Creek. Unfortunately, a vast amount of litter still enters these creeks from storm drains that run through the Preserve. Krist Jenson, a former DOW employee, and current Wetlands Preserve Volunteer, had students help remove litter from these storm drains and also gave them a guided tour of the Preserve. Krist captured the curiosity of ET interns by highlighting the native flora and fauna. The adorable river otters and beavers were the most intriguing to the students. Earth Team will be joining Krist again in January to assist the DOW Wetlands Preserve volunteers in necessary habitat restoration efforts.
“My favorite part of the field day was enjoying a nice 3 mile walk outdoors while learning all about the species and plants at DOW.” -Jaden Waters
“Something new I learned is that catttails help filter water” -Hannah Ong
Earth Team interns came together and conquered a challenging hike at Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline in Martinez on October 15th. The hike was moderate, roughly 3 miles round trip, with an intensive uphill trek in the beginning. Antioch High and Pinole Valley High interns pushed one another to successfully complete the hike.
The natural beauty was simply stunning at the Regional Shoreline, with clear views, and crisp air. Interns were reward stunning views of Suisun Bay, and the Carquinez Strait, after pushing themselves up a steep incline. For many interns, it was their first hike ever, and had challenged them immensely. Overall, it was a positive experience filled with laughter, and encouragement.
“The hike made me feel good because I actually got to get out of Antioch and look at other city’s environments” -Taniya Rana
“My favorite part was seeing the landscape” -Vania Huaranga
“My favorite part of the hike was the scenery and being in nature” -Deserai Chon
“Hiking made me feel tired but inspired” -Jaden Waters
Earth Team interns from Antioch High have officially began their internship! The first two meetings were spent their first learning all about the San Francisco Bay Delta Watershed. Their mission this year is help restore and protect this vibrant watershed.
The SF Bay Delta Watershed has suffered many environmental impacts such as the abundance of invasive species, immense habitat degradation, and poor water quality. The Antioch Earth Team this year hopes to help the watershed thrive once more. Interns were shocked to learn that their local watershed provides drinking water for over 20 million Californians! This provided them with even more incentive to devote much of their internship to improving the SF Bay Delta Watershed. Interns will be working with Friends of Marsh Creek and the Big Break Shoreline to restore aquatic habitats throughout Antioch.
Earth Team launched their 2016-2017 school year recruitment at Antioch High this Thursday. Program associate, Julia Dorosh, presented to 7 classes consisting of sophomores, juniors, seniors. The energy was high, and students had many questions. Earth Team Alumni Cassie Lanphere, shown above, Latavia Bates, and MacKenzie Gunian shared their EarthTeam experiences with their peers, and were so pleased with the program they are reapplying this year.
2016- 2017 Antioch High Earth Team interns will be continuing the work that was started during last year’s internship, consisting of implementing a three bin system on campus, and addressing Antioch High’s litter issue. Restoration work with also be conducted at two sites, Antioch Dunes, and Big Break Shoreline. Interns will be working alongside East BayRegional Park District staff, and will learn from these professionals about the native flora and fauna and the restoration efforts that allow them to thrive.
The next steps for Antioch High students that are interested are applying online, and scheduling a phone interview with Julia. Within the next two weeks the 14 selected interns will be informed and the internship will begin!!
The school year has almost finished, and another successful EarthTeam internship at Antioch High School has come to an end. From sand dunes to wetlands, this years internship engaged students in a variety of environments. Students also got involved with their local community and school during litter data collection and outreach events.
On their last day students reflected on some of their favorite memories from the year. Some of which included kayaking, hiking, or bringing along friend or family member to help collect litter at an event.
“My favorite memory at this event was that I got to learn how to kayak.” – MacKenzie Gumina
“My favorite EarthTeam memory was from the “Bring a Friend” clean up day, because we were able to share what we do every week with our friends and family members we brought with us.” – Shay Waldrop
“It’s so hard to pick a favorite memory. There far too many to chose from. Every single meeting was full of good vibes and laughs. Definitely a memorable year.” – Tatiana Mendez
Students also shared reasons why they think others should join EarthTeam. Some students emphasized the skills they gained and impact they made, while others considered the connections with others that they forged.
“I believe that students should join because you make new friends, it is tons of fun, you get a great education, you get to be outdoors a lot, and it helps with jobs and colleges.” – Cassie Lamphere
“I think other students should join EarthTeam because it helps you grow leadership skills as well as make a difference in the community.” – Danielle Marin
“People should join EarthTeam because it is a lot of fun! I learned a lot of awesome things about the world and local environment and met a lot of amazing people and friends.” – Amani Taylor
At EarthTeam, we are grateful for the student’s participation and great work throughout the year. We also greatly appreciate the help and support from all our partners and volunteers. We hope that each internship we provide has a lasting impact on all those involved and the local natural environments in which we work. Next year’s internships begin in a just a few short months, and we couldn’t be more excited to get to work.