Riya's Corner: A Watershed Watcher Story

Meet Riya! Riya is a local 5th grader who is on a mission to educate Refuge visitors about the importance of our wetlands and inform visitors about the trash being left behind. This page will be for Riya to take the lead on updating our community on Refuge happenings, current events, plastic pollution, and her latest projects!

Riya in her living room, wearing a big smile. Photo courtesy: Deepti M.

Riya in her living room, wearing a big smile.

Riya and her family picking up trash at the Refuge. Photo courtesy: Deepti M.

Riya and her family picking up trash at the Refuge.

Here's Riya's inspirational story:

My passion for animals and to help the environment started in first grade when my mom introduced me to this TV show called Octonauts. It is a cartoon show all about sea creatures. I started thinking that maybe when I grow up, I might become an Octonaut. In second grade my awesome teacher, Ms. Esperanza, expanded my passion by giving me follow-up work to do on the Earth lesson she had taught me. She said I should do a project that will help the environment. I went home wondering what I could do.

This led me to start a project called CrayonMania. My group and I made boxes that encouraged children in school to put their broken crayons in them and placed them around the school. We melted these broken crayons into molds and sold them. We made enough money to split to give to our favorite causes. I gave my funds to my favorite walking place, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. By this time I was in love with all animals and learning more about Don Edwards SF Bay NWR helped me understand the importance and beauty of the marshland and the unique animals that lived and visited there.

Thanks to COVID my family started going out on walks more and we walked frequently on the Refuge. Then I started noticing the amount of trash that was littered in the marshland and started doing trash pickups with my sister every time I visited, which was once a week now. My sister would call out the name of every single piece of trash she saw and she made me realize that someone had to educate people about the importance of the marshland and inform people about the trash being left behind. This has led me to my current project to put up signs on the Refuge that educate and promote the "pack it in, pack it out" philosophy and inform people about picking their dog poop, etc. I hope we can continue learning, loving, and conserving the marshlands for years to come.

Have you seen Riya’s posters at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Fremont? Let her know what you thought by filling out this quick survey:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Kjv6BEPZxlvDosqkzqK3S6fQoRKsCmJrvbIvCty...