In case you haven’t been keeping up with my blog, Hugo and I are on our sixth week out of the ten week surveying period. I started out with limited shorebird identification skills- I only knew what a Willet looked like. Now, we are starting to identify Black-necked Stilts and Avocets (this week was the first time I got to see them both). I have become particularly fond of the Black-bellied Plovers; this is a shorebird that I can identify by song! I noticed that doing the surveys has become routine to me.  We walk the trails of our sites so frequently that I could probably hike it with my eyes closed.  The bird behaviors are so entertaining that I still look forward to survey my sites each time we go out. This past week while we were surveying North Marsh, we saw a Caspian Turn fishing near us. It was fascinating to see this bird dive at least 8 times into the water.

Apart from surveying, this internship also pushes us to get out into the community and be of service. Elkhorn Slough puts together the Annual Roadside Clean-up event and nearby residents and Slough volunteers participate in it. There were about 25 people helping out this year. There were Latino volunteers from A.L.B.A. (Agricultural & Land-Based training Association) that helped with the Roadside Clean-up. A.L.B.A. is a great group that teaches Latinos how to farm sustainably. Hugo and I worked on cleaning up the most polluted area of the Slough- Carneros Creek. The clean-up gave me some mixed emotions because I was not sure how effective it was. This is an annual event that the Elkhorn Slough Foundation organizes. They must rent dumpsters and buy supplies for the clean-up. I wonder if this money should be invested in a restoration project instead. Another issue that comes to mind is that the community near the Slough needs to be educated about how their trash impacts the Slough. A significant number of Latinos live near the Slough and I am unsure if they are aware of the importance of this Slough. To stop people from polluting in the Carneros Creek, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation is considering purchasing a camera to monitor the area. But is that the right solution? It is a complex situation but hopefully the outcome is beneficial to the wildlife that calls the Slough home.

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