Summer 2010– Marin’s Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) has joined forces with Jane Goodall’s global environmental and humanitarian program for youth called “Roots & Shoots.” As a registered Roots & Shoots partner, SPAWN will host youth community service projects providing opportunities for local students to demonstrate their care for the environment through art and watershed conservation projects. SPAWN will launch their new program this fall with a project dedicated to raising community awareness about water conservation. Directed towards local classrooms, this project strives to instill conscious use of natural resources in hope that youth can support a better future for currently imperiled aquatic species such as wild salmon.

SPAWN’s project called “One, Two, Three, Save Some For Me” encourages classrooms to raise money for their own rainwater harvesting and community art project, and to get creative on a themed artistic design on their rain barrel and submit their final collaboration into a design challenge art competition which will be held in November 2011. Students will then install their rainbarrel on campus and begin conserving water. “The project encourages teachers to include watershed and salmon education in their standard classroom curriculum as well as for students to creatively understand the importance of water conservation through art,” said Catie Clune, Spawn’s Roots & Shoots Coordinator. Interest is sprouting in classrooms throughout Marin and encouraging further restoration to our local creeks.

Classes at the Lagunitas School and Manor School have already jumped on board for the competition. And, Fairfax Lumber and Hardware has generously offered to provide rain barrels at a discounted price for participating groups. Each group will be responsible for raising their own funds as well as delivering the completed barrel(s) to the judging location, shortly before Thanksgiving. Teachers interested in signing up should visit contact Catie Clune at, 415-663-8590 ×118. Teachers will be provided with many resources including lesson plans and fundraising ideas. Although the contest focuses on youth service education, anyone interested in forming a youth group to enter the design challenge are welcome.

Water conservation is a critical global issue that is constantly overlooked in the United States. Many countries throughout the world use rainwater harvesting as a primary source of drinking water. In our country this natural resources goes virtually untapped. Collected rainwater can be used for washing your car, filling pools, and landscape watering, rather than wasting resources to deliver fresh water to your tap. Impervious surfaces, like a school blacktop, cause large amounts of water runoff to erode stream banks and deplete groundwater that supports surrounding habitats, including local creeks. When water never gets a chance to soak into and filter through soils, it carries harmful chemicals and toxins into our stream. Catie added, “Large amounts of unfiltered water, rushing into our streams causes creek side erosion and poor water quality. These detrimental effects cause irreversible harm to our environment, wildlife and human community, aligning a perfect start to our collaborative forces with Roots & Shoots.”