Watsonville teens dedicate "senior project" to fixing the city's storm drains

Watsonville teens dedicate...

WATSONVILLE, Calif. - Three Watsonville High School seniors have been spending their weekends doing good for the community. Adrian Martinez, Jesus Ramos, and Julio Sanchez have spent hours sweeping away trash and gluing vibrant, new labels to the city's storm drains.

The students said the drains weren't always in the condition they are, now. "We would walk around the drains. We would see trash on the metal part. If there was no trash, the label was peeling off. It was dirty. You could barely recognize what it said," said Sanchez.

The three chose to dedicate their senior year project to fixing up the drains and their labels. The labels are a way for people to know where the trash they dump can end up. 

Their teacher, Priscilla Rodriguez, was impressed with the boys taking on such a "hands on" project. "They have to create this year long project, in which they're trying to trying to make some sort of positive impact in the community. This particular group of students took that idea and ran with it. They've done much more than we could have imagined," said Rodriguez.

The City of Watsonville said that during the rainy season more trash gets swept down the storm drains and dumped into nearby waterways, like the Monterey Bay. Preventing this was the student's main goal.

The city's Nature Center was able to provide the students with the new labels. "When people know that these drains flow into the Pajaro River, or whatever waterway they're near, they're much less likely to cause contamination that could get onto the street and into the waterway," said Tami Stolzenthaler, the city's Environmental Education Coordinator. 

The students said they have started to get their friends on board with the cause, as well. "Maybe one person is gonna stop, or like two people are gonna stop and not throw the trash there. It feels good knowing that it's not gonna go to the ocean," said Martinez.

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