Collecting Bugs in Sausal Creek

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Baetidae, or Small Minnow May Fly, collected in Sausal Creek Watershed

An expert on benthic macro-invertebrates, or bugs, has been helping Skyline Earth Team collect samples and inventory invertebrates throughout Sausal Creek Watershed. Interns have spent recent weeks testing water at different sites along Sausal Creek, and these tests have included benthic macro-invertebrate inventories.

These tiny bugs can tell us big stories about whats going on in the creek!  If many different varieties of invertebrates are found in a sample, it means that a stream is functioning to a good extent.  Certain species are more sensitive to stream conditions, so finding those species is even more exciting.  Finding a range of invertebrates, including some that graze on algae and some that are predators, shows researchers that a food web has been established in that particular ecosystems.

Skyline Earth Team is working on a project to protect water quality and stream biodiversity at Dimond Park, and sampling benthic macro-invertebrates provides great insight into what’s going on in the watershed!

Leadership  I  Stewardship  I  Service


Interns Get to the Bottom of Public Opinion on Pet Waste in Dimond Park

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.49.31 AMOn an unseasonably hot day in late October, Skyline interns journeyed to Dimond Park to survey dog owners about their opinions on pet waste and water quality.  The interns spent the past weeks preparing a survey that would help reveal the challenges of preventing dog waste from contaminating Sausal Creek.

The survey was concise but in depth, and focused on personal habits, opinions about park infrastructure, and knowledge and values about water quality and fish life in Sausal Creel.  The interns decided that they wanted to participate in the survey process directly by asking respondents the questions out loud, and initiating more in depth conversations about the issues.  While the survey questions provided a lot of good insight, many of our interns felt like the most valuable lessons they learned came from conversations that stemmed from them.

Some interesting experiences and stories came out of the survey day, including one group of interns who were lectured by a woman about how people should stay away from dogs and focus on all the problems that people cause directly.  Luckily, the interns thought it was funny and not too intimidating!

In general, the experience was positive for our Skyline interns.  They were definitely nervous during the first round of interviews, but once they got into the swing of things, they enjoyed the experience and were able to get 22 responses on a relatively quiet Wednesday afternoon!

The data collected from this survey will be used to move forward Skyline’s project focusing on reducing pet waste contamination in Dimond Park.  The next step in the investigation is to do water quality testing in the park to figure out what the real issues are! Stay tuned for updates about our Dimond Park Pet Waste Project!


Skyline Interns Learn From the Best: Friends of Sausal Creek’s Jill Miller Visits the Classroom


As Skyline High EarthTeam interns continue preparation for their water quality project in Dimond Park, they get the opportunity to work with experts in the area.  At their after school meeting on Wednesday 9/27, the interns had the chance to hear a presentation from Jill Miller, Restoration and Education Manager at FOSC.  The enthusiastic interns learned about their watershed, Sausal Creek and its tributaries, and the primary threats to water quality in Dimond Park and Dimond Canyon.

Miller lead an exciting hands on activity in which the interns constructed their own small scale, functioning watersheds and were able to visualize the flow, collection, and outlet of water in the bay area and how different sources of pollution affect water quality throughout the watershed.

Following this presentation, the interns began to brainstorm the primary issues threatening water quality in Dimond Park, and embarked on the challenging path of developing a research question and setting up an investigation about the primary issue, pet waste.

Moving forward, interns will interact with park visitors to assess values and challenges, and will focus on the very real issues affecting their community, their regional parks, and the quality of the water there.  Check back in for more updates about the investigation soon!


Creek to Bay Day with FOSC a Huge Success!

IMG_1649On Saturday, September 16th, interns from Skyline, Oakland Tech, and Oakland R&D partnered with Friends of Sausal Creek and other volunteers to restore Dimond Park as their Creek to Bay Day activity.  It was an early wake up call for our first weekend event, but the turnout was great and the interns had a lot of fun!

*Student Blog*

On September 16th, 2017 I was invited to come out for Creek to Bay day at Dimond Park in Oakland. This was a mandatory event for those who are a part of Earth Team and I was not so happy about having to wake up so early on a Saturday morning. Though, I did learn a lot through this experience and what Creek to Bay day was all about.

Creek to Bay is a day that Oakland volunteers and groups such as ours come out to clean up watersheds and restore creeks and parks. Many people came out on Saturday and it was nice seeing friendly faces of people I knew from groups at other Bay Area schools. There were several projects for people to participate in, even some activities for kids! I saw people gathering to start cleaning the park by picking up trash, working near Sausal Creek, and restoring plant areas. I was a part of the tree liberation team and I worked with others to free native plants/trees from foreign ivy otherwise known as invasive species.

Invasive species are foreign plants that pose a danger to native species by taking over the natural environment and not creating a safe/ open area for native plants to grow and thrive. This part was a group effort and required a certain amount of strength. The main planning organization, Friends of Sausal Creek, supplied everything we needed including the tools (I had to use the garden shears to cut ivy surrounding the tree trunk and the pick hoe to pull it away about a 5 meter radius from the tree).

It was hard work but I’m happy I came out to do it. It felt good to do something productive and helpful with my time instead of sleeping in and being lazy. It was a good start to my morning and I am happy I could be a part of this day.

Written By: Elise Luna


2017 – 2018 Internships Are Under Way!

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EarthTeam is back at Skyline for a new year and a new exciting program! Jenna Topper, Program Manager, lead intern recruitment efforts throughout Skyline’s Green Academy, yielding a competitive pool of applicants!  From the impressive array of applicants, Skyline Campus Coordinator Joelle Alley chose 11 bright, passionate interns to help lead restoration projects throughout the community.

Our wonderful team spent the first meeting of the year getting to know each other, writing personal statements, and taking head shots which you can check out on our website, HERE!

EarthTeam is looking forward to an exciting year with our new interns, and we can’t wait to start doing exciting work all around Oakland!



Skyline Interns Prepare For Job Fair


The East Bay Regional Parks will be hosting a job fair this Saturday, January 21st, 2017.

In preparation for the event, the Skyline Interns readied their resumes. Some of the interns created their first resume ever! Other updated their credentials with an entry for the Earth Team internship.

The Skyline campus coordinator also helped the interns prepare for engaging with Park staff at the job fair event. Stay tuned for photos and reflections from the event!

Skyline Interns Met With Put A Price On It Campaigner Tom Erb

img_1547Tom Erb is 20 years old college student. He’s also helping lead a campaign to organize young people to lobby their government officials to vote for a tax on carbon emissions. He was even featured in the current season of National Geographic’s show Years of Living Dangerously during an episode that explores carbon taxing.

“A carbon tax is a tax that companies have to pay when they release carbon in the air.” – Vivian Le

On Wednesday, January 4th, Tom visited the Skyline Internship to screen the Years of Living Dangerously episode, share his story, and talk about the Put a Price On It campaign.

“He showed us a documentary about animals and enforcing a carbon tax on people that emit too much CO2. After the film we talked about if putting a carbon tax is good or not and learned how to speak to people [politicians].” – Crystal Tu

Should we put a tax on carbon? The interns discussed some of the results a carbon tax may have.

“I think that it is a good thing because it is a boost that allows the start of using green products.” – Vivian Le

“I think it’s both good, because less carbon released and more lives saved, but bad because businesses might shut down.” – Davonna Hodges

“I think it’s a good thing because CO2 is a type of waste that is most detrimental to the environment, similar to our garbage. However, those who pollute the most are able to emit large quantities for free. It would be logical and necessary to impose a carbon tax because it would eventually decrease emissions and consumption of non-renewable resources. Plus it would force companies to use greener resources. However, it may be detrimental to those who are struggling financially since the tax could be passed to the consumer.”– Isabel Ear

Skyline Helps FOSC Plant Natives


The Skyline interns braved some wet weather to install native plants in Redwood Regional Park with Friends of Sausal Creek on Wednesday December 14th, 2016.

FOSC and Earth Team staff taught the interns about native plants and why they are often the best species choice for planting. Compared to plants from other climates and geographies, native plants are the best adapted to the Bay Area conditions. For example, most natives are drought tolerant, an important qualities especially during our current lack sufficient precipitation.

The interns successfully installed almost 100 plants of a large variety; including, california buckwheat, honeysuckle, tellima, lupine, and purple needle grass.



The Interns at Skyline High School measured the amount of green house gases (GHG) they emit by traveling to and from school each week. They started by gathering data on how they each travel – walking, driving, bus, ect. Next they determined the milage for the round trip they each travel. Other information was considered such as each car’s MPG and number of passengers in a carpool. Finally with all the input they used the Transportation Action Project (TAP) Calculator developed for Earth Team by MTC and BAAQMD consultants in 2010 to assess VMT-CO2 emissions.

After calculating how much carbon they emit, the interns developed a plan to reduce their GHG emissions by traveling differently. They were able to reduce the total group amount of carbon they create each week by almost 63 pounds!