Last Saturday, September 8th, the Audubon Center teamed up with LA Works and community members to clean up Debs Park! Twenty-one volunteers showed up to do plogging alongside the driveway leading up to the Center and the North Gate on Griffin Avenue. Plogging is a new Swedish fitness craze, which combines “jogging,” and the Swedish term “plocka upp,” meaning “to pick up trash”—sounds like fun, right? Ploggers exercised and picked up trash along the 5-mile stretch of Griffin Avenue starting at the North Gate and ending at the Audubon Center at Debs Park courtyard.
Cleaning up Debs is no easy task. We were glad to have such an enthusiastic team of college students, families, and neighbors working together for a cleaner Debs! Sign up for our next plogging event on November 17th today—email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Bring your friends and your running shoes and lets make our parks a cleaner place!
California Buckwheat is a staple at our park and at our nursery! It blooms creamy white leaves in the spring which turn to rusty-brown as summer fades into fall. Buckwheat flour belongs in the same family, but making anything of this plant would not be palatable. Here's a recipe on how to make buckwheat flour.
On Friday July 27th, the Audubon Center at Debs Park was happy to kick-off our Summer Film Series in partnership with the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council and Epic Pictures Group by presenting Brothers of the Wind.
We kicked off the event with a live birds of prey show presented by The Nature of Wildworks and Mollie Hogan. Mollie brought 5 birds along: Sire the peregrine falcon, Queen the harris hawk, Dancer the barn owl, Dragon the red-tailed hawk, and Harry the turkey vulture. While we didn't get to see some eagles, Mollie's educational presentation was a treat for everyone in the audience. We saw Dragon eat a mouse, and how Harry made himself look big to scare potential predators. Kids and adults of all ages were in awe of these birds of prey. Mollie even called someone from the audience to pet Dancer the barn owl!
All night, guests were welcome to grab some popcorn and sno-cones. The night wouldn't be complete without a good ol' fashioned eagle-themed photobooth! Even Dragon couldn't resist!
Once the audience was all birded up, we started the show. Center Director Marcos Trinidad and Epic Pictures Co-Founder, Shaked Berenson spoke on the importance and beauty of the film and how it tied to Audubon's mission. After that, it was lights..camera...ACTION! Brothers of the Wind was a beautifully shot account of a boy who saves a golden eagle and the difficult choices of growing up and growing apart. The audience was mesmerized by the story and cinematography. As the movie came to a close, even a couple of neighborhood coyotes started howling from emotion.
Our summer film series continues next month with A Birder's Guide to Everything. Join us on August 24th at 6:30pm for some nature arts and crafts and a fun movie about birding! Follow our Summer Film Series, showing a movie outdoors on the 4th Friday of each month.
On Wednesday July 18th, the Audubon Center at Debs Park was honored to introduce our community and partners to Sarah Rose--Audubon California's new executive director. Sarah Rose recently joined the Audubon California team, but she's not new to Los Angeles or the conservation community. Sarah previously served as the chief executive officer for the California League of Conservative Voters prior to coming to Audubon. We were excited to welcome her to the Center and back to Los Angeles.
The night started with some mingling. Community members and partners got the chance to connect and discuss their relationship with the Audubon Center at Debs Park. All attendees were given a prompt as they arrived: "What is your connection to Debs?". Center Director, Marcos Trinidad opened the program by welcoming everyone to the Center and explaining his relationship to Debs Park: "My connection to Debs started before I was born. My parents met down the street at the bus stop on Griffin Ave."
Rose discussed the importance of Debs Park to Audubon California. The Center serves as an important window into Los Angeles and Southern California for Audubon. Rose mentioned how vital the Audubon Center at Debs Park was in helping to pass Proposition 68, the parks and water bond on the June ballot.. Trinidad and the Center made it possible to help create a strong coalition of advocates for the Proposition. Rose referred back to the night's prompt and asked guests to reflect with each other how they connect to the Center. Community member Carmela Gomes noted, "As a teacher at Nightingale Middle School, I was interviewed in relation to the vision for this Center at its inception. Students from my classes became some of the formative youth volunteers."
We had a blast at this event and it was a great opportunity to continue building Audubon California's mission in Los Angeles. The night was also a great opportunity to connect our community to the greater project of bird conservation and habitat restoration nation-wide. We were very excited that Sarah Rose had the chance to meet our community and our partners.
The word citizen was originally included in the term citizen science to distinguish amateur data collectors from professional scientists, not to describe the citizenship status of these volunteer observers. Today, however, it is important for us to recognize that the term has become limiting to our work and partnerships in some contexts.
Audubon welcomes everyone who finds delight in birds and nature. As part of Audubon’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, we have transitioned from using the term “citizen science” to the more inclusive term “community science.” No matter where a volunteer was born, or how they came to the United States, we value their contribution to our science and conservation programs. Citizenship, or the perception that a volunteer may or may not be a citizen, certainly isn’t a prerequisite to caring for birds.
Furthermore, participation in volunteer data-collection initiatives like the Audubon Christmas Bird Count and the Great Backyard Bird Count are, at their best, communal experiences that bring us together as a caring community of people who are inspired by birds and want to protect them. The term community science better reflects these social and relational realities.
Read more about Audubon's statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion here.