Pokemon Go players discover real-world animals in Debs Park

Audubon Center at Debs Park helps players capture pokemon, find nature

Los Angeles— Pokemon Go players have streamed into the Audubon Center at Debs Park following the game’s release on July 6. Audubon California staff at Debs Park are seizing the opportunity to introduce players of all ages to wild Pokemon and animals alike. The peak of this attention was hit on Saturday, July 16 when 87 people went on a hunt for pokemon in the park.

The Audubon Center is situated in the 282-acre Ernest R. Debs Regional Park, making it the perfect spot for Pokemon Go players in the surrounding urban area to find a break from the city. Several Pokestops are located along the trails of the park, encouraging players not just to visit but to explore.

While many rare pokemon have been captured in Debs Park, Audubon staff and volunteers have also counted over 140 species of bird in the park, including American Kestrels, Great-Horned Owls and Northern Flickers. The park is also home to other wildlife, including butterfly, mammal, amphibian and reptile species. The hope, according to Debs Park Center Director Marcos Trinidad, is that visitors coming to find pokemon will also stay and return for the other learning and nature opportunities in the park.

“It’s really great that a game is getting people outside and in nature,” Trinidad said. “The Center has a lot of learning opportunities both inside and outside, and it’s great to have visitors exposed to both.”

In addition to exploring Debs Park on their own anytime from dusk to dawn, Pokemon Go players can join monthly guided hikes presented in English and Spanish as well as other events such as art and yoga classes, musical performances and film screenings.

Although the 87-person hike on Saturday was not organized by the Audubon Center, the line between playing pokemon and studying nature has already begun to blur.

“We have already had participants on some of our bike trips share that they also came to play Pokemon Go along the trip,” said Gabriela Vaquera, Operations Assistant at the Audubon Center at Debs Park. “Visitors enjoy telling us what they found and where. It’s definitely driving a lot of interest.”

FILMING OPPORTUNITIES: Media are invited to film from the Center and interview Pokemon Go players on site. B-roll and photographs are also available. Please call (415) 644-4606 for more information.

About Audubon Center at Debs Park

The Audubon Center at Debs Park opened in 2003 as an environmental education and conservation center for the communities of northeast Los Angeles. The nature-based education and community programs at Debs Park are designed to engage children and their families in the outdoor world, and provide a personal stake in its protection by making environmental issues relevant to their lives.

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