Air Quality Interns Reflect on Climate Change


The Richmond High School Air Quality Interns have recently started learning about climate change. They reflected on what they have learned so far.

“One surprising fact that we learned about climate changed was that even one degree has change the world dramatically to the point that coral reefs are dying.” -Linda M. and Mariana M. 

“We learned that increasing [the Earth] by one degree can cause a lot of disaster. For example, drier lands, increase of sea level, uncontrollable fires like in Australia[during the ] drought-Ashley S. and Perla S.

When asked about what concerned them about Climate Change many were concerned about rising sea levels and changing weather patterns. One group was most concerned about other people’s awareness of Climate Change.

“What concern us is the drought, we won’t have water or food.” -Jacqueline M. and Briana M.

“That people will not pay attention to the seriousness of the situation.” -Ashley S. and Perla S.

The interns shared their ideas about how to help stop temperatures from rising to a dangerous level. Most suggested using less electricity, stop eating as much meat, riding bikes and public transportation more often, and educating others about climate change. Some had ambitious goals for us.

“We need to try to go vegan.” -Linda M. and Mariana M. 

Over the next few weeks the Air Quality Interns will learn about their own carbon foot print and ways of reducing it.




The Richmond High School Air Quality Internship has started!


Another year of internships has begun and both the Urban Forestry and Air Quality Internships at Richmond High School is off to a great start. The Air Quality Interns started their introduction to learning the topics of human health and air, air pollutants, and climate change.

This year the Air Quality Interns will be measuring carbon emission and developing strategies for their school to reduce the students’ carbon footprints. The interns will also look at hazardous sources of particulate matter in their community and create a proposal to help reduce air pollution in areas of need in Richmond.

Next week the students will begin to a closer look at the subject of climate change.

Among the topic introduced, Interns discussed ozone issues.

Davis Park Cleanup

On Monday, April 25th, Richmond High interns set out to complete one of their final cleanups for the year. When we arrived at Davis Park, we divided into groups and set out to remove as much litter as we could from the creek. We even had community members stop to check out our work.

In just one meeting we were able to pull out over 20 pounds of litter from Wildcat Creek.Our biggest find was a propane BBQ grill that was left dumped in the creek. One of the biggest challenges was having to leave litter items we could not pull out because they were out of reach. Overall it was a successful day with making a difference in our community.



RHS Litter Assessment with Health Academy


On Friday, April 15th, EarthTeam staff took two Health Academy classrooms out to learn about how litter impacts their school and community at large as well as how to take action to reduce and prevent it.

After a brief breakdown of EarthTeam, marine debris, what a watershed is, and how litter impacts health, we got into our action piece – learning how to complete a cleanup using Richmond High as our practice ground. EarthTeam interns helped make the time that much more fun! Interns took charge, taking photographs, supporting their peers in the cleanup by using their experiences to help their peers find large amounts of litter.

We ended the day at the Outdoor classroom. Students reflected on their trash pickup, including their personal highlights from the experience and brainstorming how they can continue to make a difference. Students learned that they picked up 18 pounds of litter in just 30 minutes and a short walk on campus. After all was said and done, students were excited for more. It just goes to show that you never know how much of an impact you can have on others. I’m glad EarthTeam’s continues to be such a positive one.


Water Bugs with SPAWNERS

Richmond watershed interns Patricia and Roxana went to explore the macro-invertebrates of the Wilkie Creek on Saturday, April 2nd. Check out their experience at the event below:


“During the Spawners event at Wilkie Creek we got to investigate the creeks resistance to pollution by seeing the variety of bugs in the creek. In total we only got the chance to see about four different types ofbugs at the creek including Damselfly. We went down to the creek and used a sifting net which Helen placed where water moved and rubbed rocks as well as the ground to get the bugs in the net. After I helped her rinse the net into tubs with small circular sifters and began to pick and sort the types o bugsusing bendable twisers so we wouldn’t crush them. Once we were done species was looked at under a microscope and counted how many of each was found.

Helen did the results which to be honest I found confusing but we came to the conclusion than the creek was suffering from the great amount of pollution. Many of the bugs had big gills which helped to make up for the decrease in oxygen in the water due to bacteria. We discussed a couple of reasons for which the creek could be polluted including trash, and fertilizers. As we helped to clean up and put the bugs back to theeir iroginal environment we all got to know each other a little more. Helen spoke to use about the Cattisfly which forms a cacoon with its saliva by using it as glue to put together small rocks ending in a mosaic piece. She showed us pictures of it and I was surprised by how beautiful they turned out. The other volunteer had seen them in person during one of the field outing in college at Yosemite and said a lady sells Cattisfly jewelry. Finally few people arrive at the event but it was their loss I enjoyed it and got to learn new things. “
– This post was written by Patricia T.

Planting with Richmond Trees

Internships allow interns to explore different aspects of a potential career path that may interest them. One of the most exciting parts of exploration is going off on your own to a field partner on your own time to see how different organizations connect.  Interns from Richmond High’s Marine Debris Project went on their own to explore what its like to do plant trees in their community with Richmond Trees.

“On Saturdays March 26th Richmond Trees planting event I got to meet new people and reunite with others. I also got to plant my first tree. Overall the experience was awesome and fun. The event was originally supposed to start at 8:30 but started later because of some difficulties. Richmond trees offered me and the other volunteers snacks in the meantime. Later we did an ice breaker to get to meet each other we pared off and created a three move hand shake as well as pick a fun fact about why trees are good. In the end every pare shared their fact and showed their handshake. My fact was the trees save water as they offer shade and allow more water to be absorbed rather than be evaporated by the sun.

Once everyone finished we teamed up and got to meet our team leader Lee. She was really polite and joyfully since only two people and the equipment fit in her car Fernanda one of the urban forest tree inters and me got to ride with one of the women from the watershed that had presented to us before. In total we dug three tree holes to plant. The holes were about two feet deep and almost as wide as a shovel to allow room for the roots. We only got to plant one tree unfortunately because the others didn’t arrive but it’s one more tree in the world. Lee shared with us a fun fact that if the trees roots aren’t spread or loosened from how they were in the pot then they continue to grow that particular way instead of branching out sorta like a memory.

After planting my team worked together to create a dam out of soil for the tree and watered it. Finally we loosely strapped the tree to the wooden poles on its sides so it wouldn’t bend and collected the debris we had found earlier as we had dug the holes. In conclusion the experience was fun and I would definitely do it again.” – Patricia T.

Outdoor Classroom Construction

Interns are learning that putting your dreams into an action plan comes with really challenging and rewarding work. Over the past two meetings, we have been working on building the outdoor classroom together. From creating a pathway for visitors to walk on as they enter the new space to painting vibrant colors on the plant boxes, interns came face to face with the realities of bringing their vision of an outdoor classroom to life.

“The first thing we did for the outdoor classroom was build blueprints. We had to take measurements then we had to draw where the things are going to go. Then we had to lug the tiles about 700 yards which was hard but at least we finished. Then we had to place them and we had to make a design to show a path. Today we painted the plant beds. We didn’t finish but I think it will be done in 2-3 weeks.” – Kevin H.

“Building the outdoor classroom was fun but was also a struggle. However it was fun painting in our outdoor class. I also enjoyed placing the tiles so that it can make some kind of style on the floor, it was also a walking pathway to the entry of our classroom.” – Ashley S.

“Building our outdoor classroom has been a challenge, but it’s been a lot of fun. this was my first time actually building an outdoor classroom and I expected easier work. I am pretty confident on our work and I hope the outcome is great. I also hope that this is a motivation for future EarthTeam Interns to continue with our outdoor classroom. Hopefully other students will appreciate our work and enjoy the space as much as we do.” – Areli A.

“Building the outdoor classroom was tiring since the beginning, after making the blueprints, the hard part began with carrying the tiles to where we are building the outdoor classroom. there were about 300 tiles and only 12 of us. Then we started assembling the tiles how we wanted them. That part doesn’t sound hard but it had been raining and the ground was wet so I got dirty.” – Roxana G.

“Starting the outdoor classroom has been an interested experience. We’ve had a lot of challenges so far but we’ve also had some successes. Challenges like moving the 300 heavy pieces of tiles across the field, managing time, and sanding the paint off the planter box made the outdoor classroom a struggle. Although, we also achieved things, like getting the designs on the floor and starting to paint the plant boxes. I’m excited to see what else will come from building the outdoor classroom.” – Cristina R.

“In the process of building the outdoor classroom, we’ve had to carry tile and place it as well as sand plant boxes to then paint. The day we carried the tile to the location of the outdoor classroom was tiring. We each carried tile across the football field to the far corner in the school garden behind a tree. At first we each started carrying 2-3 tiles and discovered the struggle and how exhausting it was. Ultimately we discovered how teamwork made the process easier. A student would carry tile half was and meet another student to carry it the rest of the was. In the end it was a educational and accomplishing day. So far we have also sanded and painted the plant boxes but still have a lot to do.” – Patricia T.

Visiting Wildcat Creek

On Monday, February 29th, We met in front of Richmond High to take the EarthTeam van on a special trip to Wildcat Creek. Our guest Campus Coordinator, Devin Cormia, came to teach the group about water quality testing.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 3.10.50 PM.png

“Devin Cormia came to an outdoor outing with us. He helped us take water quality and we would say how much oxygen the water had and temperature. Then we had to do a cleanup along the creek and in about 15 minutes, we picked up 4 pounds of trash. It was fun because we got a lot of debris that could have led to the bay.” – Kevin H.

“The day Devin from Pinole Valley High was with us ended up being very educational. He taught us how to use water testing equipment at Wildcat Creek as well as how oxygen level, depth, and acidity affects fish and other creatures. We also learned about the reasons why fish don’t travel through the stream.” – Patricia T.

“The day Devin from Pinole Valley High came to teach is about creek water was very exciting. I found it really interested learning about how to use probes to measure things like oxygen and the acidity of the water. I hope there will be another field outing soon so that we can actually go to the creed to test the skills we learned with Devin.” – Cristina R.

“The day we met Devin we went to Wildcat Creek and we learned how to check if there is oxygen in the water. He brought tools specialized on it and we learned how to use it. After we took a trail to Davis Park. While walking there we did a trash pickup and weighed how much trash we picked up afterwards.” – Roxana G.

Creating Our Outdoor Classroom

“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story” – Linda Hogan

Richmond High Interns have been busy this year with their marine debris reduction efforts at school and in their community. Their focus on educating their peers and community has resulted in interns hosting litter cleanups and spreading awareness through education booths at community events. In the second half of the internship, interns are taking their education work a step further by creating an outdoor classroom for their entire campus community to utilize and enjoy.

On Monday, February 8th, interns came together for a day of research and planning. After much research and revisiting previous draft plans for their ideal classroom, interns created their blueprints for their ideal outdoor classroom.

“My ideal outdoor classroom would have chairs for us to sit in.” – Roxana G.

“Im excited to build the outdoor classroom. Its something new and creative.” – Kevin H.

“I’m excited for planning and then actually bringing our outdoor classroom to life. My ideal outdoor classroom would be something nice with a few seats in a circle and something that people could write on. We could make a nice sign so that people know where it is.” – Valeria

“I am excited to get started on the project. My idea of the classroom would be different. It should have a lot of seats so that a lot of students would come. It should be entertaining and not boring. It should really help others.” – Diana L.

“Im excited for the outdoor classroom because we will interact with nature often. Instead of being in a classroom surrounded by walls.” – Unknown

“I am excited to wrk inside our outdoor classroom. MY ideal outdoor classrooms would have chairs, supplies, and plants all around.” – Ashley S.

“My ideal outdoor classroom includes chairs and a board. I imagine a lot of posters letting people know what’s going on in there. I would want there to be a lot of information on walls or on the board.” – Cristina R.

“My ideal outdoor classroom would have many posters so people would know what’s occurring, from what times the classes are and what is being learned.I would have space for people to sit and places to write. Fun decorations and interactive gadgets about what is being learned and a board to brainstorm ideas.” – Patricia T.

“My ideal outdoor classroom would be more decorated so the people would get attached to it. Also, I want them to feel like they are safe and can speak without being judged. Also I want then to feel like that are not alone. There should be paintings outside.” – Unknown

Over the course of the next couple of months, interns will work together to create a new learning environment for their school. Stay tuned for updates on their outdoor classroom!