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Volunteers Needed!

The Delta Science Center (DSC) is always in need of volunteers to help with programs, fundraising, working at fairs and festivals, research and more. Those interested in helping with programs are always appreciated. The DSC is a volunteer run program. In many cases no experience is necessary. The DSC works to encourage stewardship for the Bay-Delta Estuary. Adults are always needed to help run programs with children and even other adult programs.

The DSC is always looking for retired teachers who are interested in filling the retirement hours around traveling and spending time with grandchildren.

In 2016 the DSC will be adding several seats for Board members. If this is something you are interested in, please email us.

Below is a list of programs that the DSC has planned for the 2015-16 school year.

DSC Activities planned for 2015-2016 School Year

Project title: 2016 Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Educational Resource Guide Calendar

Project deadline: November 2015

Description of work needed:

Research on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to be added to the Resource Guide

Research includes:

Fifth grade level science experiments that include

Weather: ideas include easy to make rain gages, wind turbines, temperature forecasting

Water: water tension, testing for ph (home made ph kits), math problem to figure out how much water is in a slough or pond area at Big Break Regional Shoreline Park

 Soil testing: including identifying waterweeds

Sunlight: Using sunlight to make pictures

Season: The reason we use a calendar is because weather and seasons is a big part of science education in 5th grade. Use this to come up with science idea projects

Finding and cataloging:

It’s a rock to us, but our ancestors made it a tool

Organizing treasure hunts on a shoreline

Identifying footprints

What critters live here at night?

Building your own watershed

Building a simple watershed. What to include?

This is the 7th Resource Calendar the DSC has produced. It includes a teacher resource program with classroom assignments, including science experiments, language arts game about the Delta and more. No charge to 5th grade classrooms: East CCC & Hwy. 160 schools, research to include Common Core requirements and Next Generation Science, set-up and design, printing 7,500 copies, pick up from printers, distribution.


Project title: Trout in the Classroom

Project Completion: April 2016

Description of work needed:

This is the fourth year the DSC has sponsored this program.

The Delta Science Center will sponsor up to 20 classrooms in 2016 with fish eggs and aquariums to show, mostly elementary age students (this year 2 high school classrooms), how fish are born. 

This is a partnership program with the California Fish and Wildlife Committee

The Delta Science Center is the East and Central Contra Costa County sponsor. Most of the classrooms are in Far East County.


Project title: 2016 Our Delta Endangered Species Day Art Contest and Art Show

Project deadline: March to May 2016

Description of work needed:

The Second Annual Delta Science Center hosts the Our Delta Endangered Species Day Art Contest and Show. Students are asked to draw their favorite of the 22 Delta endangered species. The pictures are collected and voted on. All the pictures are set up for an art show in the spring. We also set up a display of pictures at the Contra Costa County Fair. When the winners are announced, the grand prize winner’s classroom gets a pizza party and prizes are handed out to all grade level first, second and third place winners.


Project title: World Water Monitoring Challenge

Project deadline: March to December 2016

Description of work needed:

World Water Monitoring Challenge™ (WWMC) is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.

The primary goal of World Water Monitoring Challenge is to educate and engage citizens in the protection of the world’s water resources. Many people are unaware of the impact their behaviors have on water quality. Conducting simple monitoring tests teaches participants about some of the most common indicators of water health and encourages further participation in more formal citizen monitoring efforts.

The DSC hosts this three days during the months of March and April. Classrooms from Oakley are invited to Big Break Regional Shoreline Park to participate in the program. In 2015 Oakley School, Vintage Parkway and Orchard Park School fifth graders participated. A total of nine classroom (3 on each day at one time) came to the park. Students tour the park and conduct water tests are per the WWMC program. 


Project title: Oakley Science Week at Big Break

Project deadline: April 2016

Description of work needed:

Partnership program with EBRPD. This will be the third year that the DSC has participated with this event.

Each year the city of Oakley hosts an Oakley Science Week and asks local non-profit groups and schools to host a science related event. The DSC added this event when the Big Break Regional Shoreline Park Visitor Center opened. The event features shoreline tours, water testing, arts and crafts and family fun.


Project title: Oakley Science Week at Ironhouse Sanitary District

Project deadline: April 23, 2016

Description of work needed:

Partnership program with Ironhouse Sanitary District and Diablo Water District. This will be the sixth year that the DSC has participated with this event.

Each year the city of Oakley hosts an Oakley Science Week and asks local non-profit groups and schools to host a science related event. This event features an animal show, (examples: sharks, birds of prey and owls). Also included are several craft projects. ISD does tours of their Water Recycling Facility.


Project title: AFRI Rice Culture Mitigation Grant

Project deadline: April-September 2016

Description of work needed:

Partnership program with UC Berkeley, UC Davis and several other state funded and private groups. This program is run on restricted USDA/FDA funds and is release after a detailed annual report of expenditures is filed with UC Davis after growing season is completed. DSC generally receives reimbursement in March of the following year. The program funding for this program ended with the 2015-growing season. The grant committee asked the DSC to stay on without an expectation of funding to help continue promotion of the program. This will be the sixth year that the DSC has participated with this program.

About two thirds of the 740,000 acres in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) are in agriculture. The drained peat soils of the Delta have provided fertile soils for agriculture since the late 1800s when these lands were reclaimed from existing wetlands. Since then, the Delta environment has dramatically deteriorated as evidenced by subsidence.  2.5 billion cubic meters of peat soils have oxidized causing subsidence up to 20 feet or more below sea level on many Delta islands. 

Subsidence has been indicative of other severe consequences: extensive greenhouse gas emissions, construction of a 110 mile levee network, risks to California’s water supply through the California State Water Project, degradation of water quality.  If current agricultural practices remain unchanged, things will only get worse. Peat oxidation will continue resulting in further subsidence over decades; GHGs will continue to be emitted with an additional estimated 158 Mtonnes CO2eq of C and N2O will be lost to the atmosphere by 2050; levee failure risks will increase from deterioration and from increasing hydraulic gradients across the levees from the superposition of sea level rise and subsidence; and water quality will continue to be degraded.  Clearly, agriculture needs to change in the Delta.  

The primary long-term goal of this project is to demonstrate rice based cropping systems as an agricultural solution in the Delta with important environmental benefits: mitigating subsidence and concurrently mitigating GHG emissions and soil loss; reducing risks to California water supply, including the agricultural users throughout the San Joaquin Valley downstream of the Delta; and protecting water quality.  This project will assess the technical, engineering, logistic, economic and policy constraints and opportunities to expanding rice throughout the Delta and the regional and state-water project scale impacts.

The Delta Science Center is adding a High School Education component to the study offering students at Freedom High School a chance to have real life experience with terms they generally learn in chemistry and environmental studies classes. There is also a section of the study that deals with agriculture and economics.

The Delta Science Center portion of the program began in February 2013 (and again in the Winter of 2016) with a special Science Fair program for all 2,400 Freedom High School science students and then moves on to work with a core group of about 30 students who will do continued studies on the project.

Ironhouse Sanitary District has allowed the DSC to borrow a 5,000 square foot piece of property on Jersey Island to host an experimental rice field for students to conduct water, air and soil sampling.


Project title: Video Productions for Rice Grant Project

Project deadline: March 2016

Description of work needed:

At least two, but up to three, videos to be completed by deadline date.

This is part of the AFRI grant. For three years the Delta Science Center has been working with UC Davis and UC Berkeley professors and grad students to study weather rice is a viable crop to grow on Delta islands. The video projects will include three five-minute videos that help describe the project study.

1. Growing rice on the Delta

2. Levees and subsidence on Delta Islands

3. What is the Delta?

Each video will need research, anchors to help outline the projects, behind the camera people and someone to set up questions for experts.

The videos will be shown at a science fair set for this winter at Freedom High School and shared with East County High School science teachers to show to their classrooms. Students from the 2015 DSC Summer Science Program conducted interviews with two professors for the first video of this production.


Project title: Winter/Spring 2016 Freedom High School Science Fair

Project deadline: February or March 2016

Description of work needed:

This is part of the AFRI program. The Delta Science Center will be hosting a 2-day science fair Freedom High School in all the science classrooms. The program will feature a grant project on the Delta that the Delta Science Center has been working on with UC Davis and UC Berkeley.


Project title: DSC Summer Science Program

Project deadline: June-July 2016

Description of work needed:

In the past this has been part of the AFRI program. The program has become so successful with the Freedom, Liberty and Antioch high school AP Science students that the teachers have asked to bring it back in 2016 adding more Delta and environmental education to the program.

This is a six-week program host once a week during summer break for high school students. As many as 45 students have joined the club, however attendance isn’t mandatory so at one time we probably on have about 20 students participating at a time, but generally all 45 students get involved for more than half the program.

For 2016 we will have to set up a whole new program. The idea is to work the program around the Delta and what the students will learn in their AP Environmental Studies class at the high schools.

Field trips have been suggested by the students include a trip to UC Berkeley (a professor has already agreed to host the students at the University sometime during the summer). Taking a trip to Dutra Museum of Dredging in Rio Vista has also been suggested. Public transportation would be used to get to field trips. There is a bus that can be taken to Rio Vista from Antioch and a bus and BART can be taken to UC Berkeley.

Other suggestions are kayak rides, Jersey Island levees, water sampling of the Delta, carbon testing of peat soil, etc. Club days are hosted at science room at Big Break Regional Shoreline Park.