Our relationship with Exceptional Children’s Foundation
The partnership started two years ago when former Los Angeles Audubon staff member, Tania Romero, connected her Audubon chapter with the Exceptional Children’s Foundation (ECF). ECF is a non-profit organization that offers programs for children and adults with developmental, learning, and emotional disabilities around the world. The ECF branch located in Inglewood has been working directly with Los Angeles Audubon at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, a park both organizations share with their local community. ECF volunteers partake in hosting bird walks, providing environmental education, and participating in habitat restoration such as collecting seeds, planting, and transplanting.
Plastic Pollution Day
This week for Plastic Pollution Day, I introduced the topic of single-use plastics, microplastics, and the ways in which they are affecting birds. Mark Anthony Campoy, the Work Readiness and Computer Lab Instructor, helps coordinate ECF clients to the work with Los Angeles Audubon and brought a group of four volunteers. The volunteers that participated in Plastic Pollution Day were Jhonathan Zerazion, Lauren Levine, Tanner Simpson, and Donald Goodwin. This day was designed in order to raise awareness and educate ECF participants about ways in which we can help protect birds.
The first activity we did was the world migratory matching game. In this game, there is photos of birds that are being affected by plastic pollution. Along with the photos there are also descriptions of ways in which the birds are being affected directly; for example, a bird may consume microplastics or become entangled in twine. Participants were asked to guess which bird matched the description. As a group, ECF volunteers read and matched descriptions using a process of elimination. During the activity, they learned about birds and their struggle with staying alive in habitats that contain plastic pollution. After they matched all birds with their correct descriptions I gave a quick, “plastic talk.” In the talk, I mentioned how we can help by using reusable products instead of single-use plastics or host a trash clean-up in our community.
We then transitioned to the next game, the scavenger hunt. ECF volunteers and I walked around the park picking up plastics and trash. After thirty minutes of looking for plastic items, we tallied up how much we pick up. In the end, we collected 561 items of plastic total. ECF clients were surprised at the amount we cleaned in just a matter of thirty minutes. To end Plastic Pollution Day, we all made a pledge. We pledged to say “no” to at least one single-use plastic item a day and to pick up plastic trash when we see it. The volunteers learned about birds being affected by plastics, ways in which we can all help, and walked away feeling good about the work they did for their community.