Recycling and Water Stewardship

Recycling Ambassadors Program

New Leaf Collaborative is working with the City of Martinez, Republic Services, and the Martinez Unified School District to implement CalRecycle’s highly competitive Beverage Container Recycle Grant Program.

Our Recycling Ambassadors program is designed as a comprehensive project to improve recycling practices throughout Martinez schools. We use hands-on, project-based learning to foster environmental stewardship.

Integrated Watershed Education Program

The City of Martinez and the New Leaf Collaborative have joined efforts to 1) implement an essential element of the Clean Water Program, which serves to radically reduce or eliminate pollutants from entering the municipal storm drain system; and 2) to encourage citizens to meet the 25% mandatory reduction of water use to conserve water resources.  This plan includes the facilitation of high school internships that provided water quality and water conservation education to students within in the Martinez Unified School District. Place-based Learning training is also offered to teachers through the Empowering Educators workshops.

Mutual Goals:

  • Build and maintain an effective partnership that encourages collaboration between city employees and K-12 educators
  • Create and implement an education plan that addresses the need to radically reduce or eliminate pollutants from the city’s storm drain system and reduces landfill waste.
  • Link youth to job skills, employment, internships, and mentorships while providing pathways to work in the 21st-century market.
  • Promote place-based and transformative education (which links learning with community-based projects in ways that facilitate the holistic change of individuals and groups)
  • Establish a reproducible, sustainable partnership model that promotes student leadership


Ecoliteracy Peer Mentoring Project and Internship:

The Ecoliteracy Project was designed to be a model of intra-school and community collaboration in ways that promote the care and stewardship of our city, our creeks and our bay.  In this project, Martinez Unified students from grades K-5 have the opportunity to participate in grade appropriate, hands-on, place-based education about water quality, water conservation and watershed health.  Over the last 10 years, student interns have taught more than 6,000 elementary students.

The high school students develop resumes and cover letters in order to apply for the Ecoliteracy  (EcoLit) Internship.  The Ecolit Coordinator and graduate intern interviewed the high school applicants in November.  Once hired, the team work every Friday to develop and/or teach the lessons.  The high school student’s training was integrated into their regular school day.  Ecolit interns teach the elementary school students lessons in soil and water conservation.   

Community Science Internship:

The NLC Community Science Workshop offers high school students in-school and after school internships to work with elementary school students in fostering curiosity and open ended exploration of science. Interns help young learners make connections as to why science is important to them and relevant in their lives. In CSW’s, high school students participate weekly in activities that fostered STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and focused critical thinking.  Interns are required to apply and be interviewed (same process as noted above) for this internship.  CSW water-quality and conservation lessons include hands-on projects, displays and informative exhibits that focus on water quality, watershed stewardship and potable water conservation practices.

Rainwater Ambassadors:

The NLC has worked with Lunchbox International to provide the professional expertise for rainwater catchment system training and installation.  In this program, high school students are oriented to the issues of water conservation and rainwater catchment education through guest speaker presentations and offered job experience in rainwater catchment installation.