Plastic clean up at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park

Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program- “who are they?”

The Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program is a group of students from both Dorsey and Culver City High School in Los Angeles that meets on Tuesdays and Fridays in the greenhouse at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (BHSO). Students have the choice to become an intern and complete a project or become a restoration leader and help restore natural habitats. Regardless of what position they chose both groups learn about the history of Los Angeles and the local wildlife.

Bird Walk & Trash Clean-up!

This week I led a plastic clean up activity with the Greenhouse Program to teach them about the harms of single use plastics. To start I asked students to grab binoculars and a compass for a bird walk. The bird walk was for students to get familiar with the local birds that use the park as habitat as well as use the compass to orient themselves during the walk. We did the bird walk from BHSO to Stone View (about 2 miles). After identifying species we moved on to the next activity, plastic pollution talk. I went over the history of plastics and why it’s important to use less and dispose of them correctly. I brought examples of plastics that can be substituted by reusable products like a metal straw versus a plastic one. I also showed them examples of microplastics and explained how this is deadly for marine life in specific, shorebirds. With all the negative consequences of using plastics I expressed how there are ways in which we can help: by using less single use plastics and also cleaning plastics when we see them. We then moved on to our next activity, trash clean-up. I split the group into three teams giving each team a trash bag. I went over which items were safe to pick up and which ones were were leaving alone. We started from the top of the hill and worked our way down. After arriving at the greenhouse, we piled our trash together and began identifying what we picked up. In total we picked up four pounds of trash! This clean-up really helped the students visualize the amount of pollutants that are present in the park. Though, the park is managed and maintained, there are still plastics that are dangerous for wildlife. In the end, students got a chance to support their local green space by cleaning areas that are used as habitat and assist in collecting nationwide bird data.  

Ingrid Carillo
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