Food Chains Rock!

foodchainsrock_250x375Food Chains Rock!

Students from Washington Elementary School in Richmond really enjoyed learning about San Francisco Bay food chains! They learned about apex predators, decomposers, scavengers, the difference between a food chain and a food web, adaptations, and the anatomy of Dungeness crab, striped bass fish, and seaweed. Students were excited to touch seaweed for the first time. Many described it as being gooey and “interesting.” Students were surprised to learn that seaweed is adapted to become completely dry and then rehydrate following the movement of the tides at the rocky shore.

Students were very excited to investigate Dungeness crab and striped bass fish anatomy by touching the animals and answering critical thinking questions.

After their hands-on experiences with different organisms, students learned how all the organisms they investigated are connected to other organisms in San Francisco Bay food chains including humans, and how the health of one organism affects the health of everything in the food chain.

Reiley shared, “Today I learned that seaweed does not have roots, it has holdfasts. And if seaweed gets dried out from the sun it can rehydrate.”

Natalia shared, “Today I learned that crabs have tails[abdomens]. Male crabs have a triangle shaped tail and females have a “U” shaped tail.”

Malaysha shared, “I learned from KIDS for the BAY that a female Dungeness Crab can hold 2.5 million babies!”

From Images to Action!

fromimagestoactionFourth graders at Lupine Hills Elementary School in Hercules were surprised to see the impact trash can have on bay and ocean organisms. After they discussed and analyzed the images of animals harmed by marine debris, KIDS for the BAY Instructor Aislinn Sterling asked the class why they thought she showed them these pictures and why scientists would take pictures like these.

A student named Victor said, “I think these images help people understand why pollution is such a serious problem”. Another student observed, “The picture of the turtle makes me sad because it makes me think of my own pet turtle at home.” Ms. Sterling agreed with them and said that sometimes seeing pictures—especially of things we care about like animals—makes an issue feel more real and inspires people to take action to protect the environment. After the lesson, students were excited to participate in a Clean-Up of their school and neighborhood and be part of the solution to the problem of marine debris. Students were surprised to discover they picked up 857 pieces of trash between their two classes!

After the lesson, students wrote what they had learned, these are some of their responses:

“Today I learned that marine debris is really bad for animals.  If we litter animals can eat it and die or get stuck. We should not litter. If you were an animal you would not want to get stuck or die so don’t litter.” –Arianna M

“Today I learned that marine debris means ocean trash.  Marine debris is bad for animals. It can kill them, but you can help by cleaning up anywhere you see trash.” –Kiara

“Today I learned that garbage and pollution can go in storm drains and become marine debris that can hurt animals.” –Leilani

Environmentally Friendly Pesticides Action Project


Did you know that 78 million households in the U.S. use home and garden pesticides? Third grade students and teachers at Learning Without Limits Elementary School were surprised by these numbers and they became very concerned when they learned about the toxicity of pesticides. They decided to make natural pesticides for their school garden and to teach their parents how to make them. KIDS for the BAY Instructor Alicia Thompson led the project and it was a great success.

Students Sophie and Jayla were both ecstatic to begin cutting jalapenos and garlic. “I’ve cut these up before!” one said. “Yes, I could easily make this again at home!” the other one responded. The students were happy to be actively helping their environment. They felt empowered knowing they were helping plants grow. At the end of the day students made recipe cards to share this important recipe with the community.

20th Annual Wildcat Creek Clean-up

wildcat_cleanup“You mean, you came here today to clean our community?” Ximena, a seven year-old resident of San Pablo was so thankful about having volunteers clean up her beloved playground that she immediately asked how she could help. Every year, KIDS for the BAY partners with the City of San Pablo to bring the community together and pick up trash in and around Wildcat Creek. Families came together on Saturday, October 11, 2014 for the 20th Annual Wildcat Creek Cleanup Event and spent three hours picking up 4,203 pieces of trash. Equipped with latex gloves, tongs and trash bags, elementary and middle school students from San Pablo made the creek and surrounding park a better place for the community.

Fall Outing – September 18, 2014

fall-outing-september18It was an amazing day! On September 18, KIDS for the BAY staff enjoyed a day at Marin Headlands connecting with nature and participating in team building and nature-inspired activities. For Executive Director and Founder Mandi Billinge it is very important to devote time to professional development. This time the goal was to build an understanding of the connections between staff members and the importance of each of our roles in the achievement of organizational objectives. Each staff member developed and led one activity and it was great to see each of them as an educator and a leader.

The team had a great time and ended the day with renewed energy to start the 2014-2015 school year and bring vital environmental education to 4,402 students and 135 teachers.

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