The Workshop was first established in 1997 as part of the California Community Science Workshop expansion made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation. The City of Watsonville oversaw operation of the Workshop within the department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services. In 2000, the City took over funding and complete administration of the Workshop.
In 2003, in the midst of a state budget crisis, the Parks department was unable to continue funding the Workshop. Still, such great support existed for the Workshop’s programs that instead of closing down operations, the City moved the Workshop to the department of Public Works and Utilities, together with other environmental education programs. At that time we changed our name to include “Environmental,” and while our main mission remained the same, we became much more focused on ecological issues. Watsonville is located in an extremely delicate ecosystem, and the City does much to promote the preservation and public enjoyment of the nature surrounding us.
August 2003 we began serving schools’ after-school programs through Science Teach program. We got two years of small grants from the SH Cowell Foundation and the Land Family Charitable Trust to serve 4 then 8 schools. The SH Cowell Foundation was impressed and the following year gave a large grant to the Office of Extended Learning at PVUSD to expand our program to 18 sites and begin similar programs in the area of health and fitness and art. The following year programs in guitar and ecology were added. These “Teach” programs continue to serve nearly every school in Watsonville each day after school.
February 2007 a second site at the Academic Vocational Technical School behind Starlight Elementary. We share the space in the multipurpose room, and have been running three days a week since then.
In March 2008 we began programming once a week at the new Neighborhood Services Office on Davis Avenue. We have a small stash of stuff there and are able to offer the kids the opportunity to build the projects of their own choice.
In February 2008 our book, “Stomp Rockets, Catapults and Kaleidoscopes” came out, composed of projects we have been doing in Science Teach over the past years. Sales are good and all royalties go to support the Workshop. You can purchase “Stomp Rockets, Catapults and Kaleidoscopes” book and get started on your projects. All the proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the Environmental Science Workshop.
In June of 2011, due to space limitation, the Science Workshop moved from the Academic Vocational Technical School into a space at the Arthur Road Baptist Church.