This week I was able to work with Park Aides at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in their first week of the Junior Ranger program! Students learned about park safety, fire awareness, and even about camping programs at other parks around Los Angeles. Park Aide, Mary Cruz, spent some time teaching the group of highly engaged students about earwigs inside of the visitor center. I learned a lot about the species, so it was fun. Given our climate, and of course the drought, Mary also spent some time talking about the importance of fire preparedness. The students had great ideas, but I think the concept of proper trash removal (especially during campfires) and different plant species and their response to that definitely drove the concept home. Toward the end of the day’s program, the students went on a scavenger hunt (after learning their cardinal directions) and then on a short bird walk. The day went really well, and thankfully the gloomy weather didn’t deter the students or the parents from their participation.
I was also able to go on a Least Bell’s Vireo and California Gnatcatcher survey this week! With biologist Tom Ryan and former EFTA intern Carlos Jauregui, we surveyed a stretch of the Santa Ana River. It was definitely interesting given that the focus during this internship has been on shorebirds. Looking for birds that thrive in riparian and coastal sage scrub plant communities was a lot of fun! We saw juvenile Red-tailed Hawks, a Greater Roadrunner, and even coyote pups! I learned a lot about birds in more inland areas, which was really interesting.