Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Advice from Owlie - The Spooky Special (Jumping Spider)

Q: Dear Owlie,

This week, I visited the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park with my Scout troop to earn my Water Scout badge, and guess what? I saw the spookiest spider I have ever seen! It was super tiny like the size of a dime, but that’s not all, this spider looked like it could fly! Can you help me figure out what type of spider this is?

Thanks Owlie!


Spooky Spider Scout 

A: Dear Spooky Spider Scout,

HOO-HOO-Hurray! Congratulations on earning your Water Scout badge! Taking part in the Water Scout Badge Program is a great way to explore everything that the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park has to offer.

Now, to answer your question, it seems that the spooky spider you are describing is a jumping spider! These curious little spiders have two features that make them super unique. First, jumping spiders have amazing vision! Unlike most spiders, jumping spiders do not spin a web to catch prey. Instead, jumping spiders rely on their front set of eyes to measure the distance they need to leap and catch prey.

Second, as the name suggests, jumping spiders like to jump! In fact, they can jump up to 40 times their body size! Scientists suggest that jumping spiders can rapidly increase the blood pressure in their legs which gives them the boost they need to leap through great distances effortlessly.

Be on the lookout for the jumping spider during your next visit to the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park!

Talk to you all soo(HOO)n!


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Advice from Owlie - Water Quality Month

Q: Dear Owlie,

I am officially back in school and am so excited! I think my teacher is planning to book a field trip to the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park this school year so that I can come visit you again! My teacher also told me that the month of August is National Water Quality Month. How can I celebrate? Thanks, Owlie!


Swimming Sixth Grader

A: Dear Swimming Sixth Grader,

Welcome back to school! I hope you can come visit me as well! Be sure to let your teacher know there is also a virtual field trip option where you can visit me, learn about water, participate in engaging activities, and take a virtual tour of the Wetlands all from the comfort of your own classroom. In the meantime- Yes! I’d love to tell you about National Water Quality Month and how you can help celebrate.

In case you didn’t know, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the United Nations founded August as Water Quality Month in 2005. Since then, Water Quality Month has been dedicated to raising awareness of water-use efficiency and the importance of clean water on individual health, collective agricultural needs, and the needs of our environment.

IEUA's Water Quality Laboratory

IEUA's Water Quality Laboratory

My friends over at IEUA do this in a variety of ways from groundwater recharge to wastewater treatment and more, but they ALL help to secure a clean, reliable, and high-quality source of water for the region. There are many ways you can contribute as well such as picking up your trash (and recycling when possible!), taking shorter showers instead of baths, turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, as well as collecting cold shower water while you wait for it to heat up and using it to water your plants.

Thank you for doing your part to be water-wise! I’ll talk to you all soo(HOO)n!


Monday, July 25, 2022

Advice from Owlie - California Ground Squirrel

Q: Dear Owlie,

I recently learned about keystone species. Can you help me understand what that is and if there are any keystone species at the Chino Creek Wetlands? Thank you!


Species Specialist

A: Dear Species Specialist,

What an exciting topic! A keystone species is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. This means that if that organism were removed from the ecosystem, the environments they live in would change drastically.

One of the keystone species that can be found at the Chino Creek Wetlands is the California ground squirrel. California ground squirrels have a gray, brown, and white coat. Its shoulders, neck, and sides are a lighter gray, and its bushy tail is a combination of the colors that appear on its back. California ground squirrels are a keystone species because of its digging. Their digging helps to turn soil and move seeds, and their abandoned burrows serve as homes to many animals like burrowing owls and endangered frogs and salamanders.

Be sure to let me know if you see a California ground squirrel during your next trip to the wetlands!

I’ll talk to you all soo(HOO)n!


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Advice From Owlie – Smart Irrigation Month

Q: Dear Owlie,

I heard that next month is Smart Irrigation Month. Can you help me understand what Smart Irrigation Month is and how I can participate? Thanks, Owlie!


Water-Wise Wonderer


A: Dear Water-Wise Wonderer,

I am so glad you asked! Smart Irrigation Month is celebrated throughout the month of July and recognizes water-wise practices in our lawns and gardens and celebrates the technologies, products, and services that allow us to do so.

Not only is practicing smart irrigation beneficial to help alleviate our current drought, it’s also easy! Encourage your family and friends to celebrate Smart Irrigation Month by implementing smart irrigation practices such as adjusting sprinkler heads so that they hit the desired area, upgrading your sprinkler controller to a weather-based controller, repairing leaks, planting California natives, using mulch instead of grass, and grouping your plants by similar watering needs. My friends at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency also offer free water-use efficiency rebates and programs to help with all of the above! Be sure to tell them Owlie sent you 😉.

Thanks for the great question! I’ll talk to you all soo(HOO)n!


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Advice from Owlie – Mallard Duck

Q: Dear Owlie,

I recently visited the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park and noticed two ducks that looked very similar but were different colors! One was all brown, while the other had green on its head. Can you help me figure out what ducks these are? Thanks, Owlie!


Dabbling Duck

A: Dear Dabbling Duck,

I would be happy to assist you in figuring out what type of ducks these are!

It seems that you have come across one of the most popular duck species in the wetlands, the Mallard Duck! Mallards are large ducks with hefty bodies, rounded heads, and wide, flat bills. The reason the ducks looked very similar but had different colors is due to something called sexual dimorphism. This is when there is a difference in appearance between males and females in the same species.

For the Mallard Duck, males have iridescent green heads, bright yellow bills, and brown and black bodies. Female Mallards are a light brown color with orange and brown bills! Now you may be wondering…what is the reason for this difference in color? Let’s find out!

Male Mallards are a bright color because they want to attract mates, while female Mallards are a dull color because they want to camouflage in order to protect their babies during nesting season!

Keep an eye out for the Mallard Duck on your next visit to the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park!

Talk to you all soo(HOO)n!


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Advice from Owlie – What’s an aquifer?

 Q: Dear Owlie,

This week in school we learned more about aquifers. I think aquifers are really interesting and I want to teach my brothers and sisters about them at home! Do you have any resources that can help me demonstrate how an aquifer works? Thanks Owlie!


Amazing Aquifers

A: Dear Amazing Aquifers,

I am happy to hear that you enjoyed learning about aquifers and want to teach your family about them. First, I’ll start by giving a brief introduction to what an aquifer is. An aquifer is an underground layer of rocks and soil holding water. Aquifers can be just a few feet under the soil or can sit hundreds of feet deep.

 We have an At-Home Activity that will demonstrate how an aquifer works. Our Edible Aquifer activity is a perfect way for you to learn all about aquifers and make your own yummy aquifer that you can eat after! This activity can be delicious, but please get permission from your parents or guardians before using any food products. It can be found here, on our YouTube page.

For this activity, you will need:

  • Edible aquifer visual aid
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Clear soda
  • Crushed chocolate cookies
  • Sprinkles
  • Gummy bears
  • Drinking straws
  • Spoons
  • Clear cups
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels

The cup represents the basin. The materials that go inside of the cup represent rainwater, grass, gravel and soil, clay, rock, and water! Watch our YouTube video to see how it all comes together to demonstrate how an aquifer works.

I hope you enjoy this tasty activity while you teach your family about aquifers!

Talk to you all soo(HOO)n!


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Advice from Owlie - Education Newsletters

Hi friends, I have an exciting announcement!
We started an Education Newsletter! The CCW Quarterly is the official education newsletter released quarterly by the Inland Empire Utilities Agency. Each edition includes education program updates, water awareness activities, blog posts, educational resources, and more. The CCW Quarterly Newsletter can be found on the IEUA website. We now have three editions for the months of July 2021,  October 2021 and January 2022.

We have many fun activities, including word scrambles, word searches, a coloring sheet, and more! You can download each one on our website. Don’t forget to send a picture of your completed activity to @ieuawater on Instagram to win a prize!
I hope you enjoy our newsletters and all the activity sheet inside!

Talk to you all soo(HOO)n!