News

Native Plant Success Rate in Debs Park - Summer Restoration Sites
News

Native Plant Success Rate in Debs Park - Summer Restoration Sites

By Mia Jones - California Climate Action Corps Fellow, Summer 2021

We're Hiring! Community Conservation Fellow

Join the Audubon Center at Debs Park team!

We are currently accepting applications for a Community Conservation Fellow. This is a 9-month position that will be starting October 1, 2021. This position is a great fit for anyone interested in habitat restoration, community engagement, and youth leadership development. Previous experience in conservation work is not required. 

VIEW THE POSITION DESCRIPTION & APPLY HERE!

Contact Marcos.Trinidad@audubon.org with any questions!

Meet the 2021 California Climate Action Corps Fellows!

CA Climate Action Corps Fellows - Summer 2021 (From left to right: Ricardo Rodriguez, Ana Moreland, and Mia Jones)

Please join us in welcoming the first-ever cohort of California Climate Action Corps Fellows to the Center! The Fellows are currently serving a two month term as Americorps members and they will be working at the Center through August 2021. They have been gaining hands-on experience in habitat restoration and site management, native plant propagation and identification, point count surveying and bird identification, community engagement, project development & more! The Fellows have also each created an interpretation table, which are offered to the public Saturday mornings in August from 9am-11:30am. Come on by to meet the Fellows and learn more about mammals, reptiles, and birds in Debs Park! 

Ricardo Rodriguez

Ricardo Rodriguez is a California Climate Action Corps fellow who is studying Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology at the University of California, Merced. Ricardo is in his senior year and hopes to graduate in May of 2022. This fellowship allows him to work outdoors with many different species of wildlife and it allows him to contribute to the fight against climate change by working on habitat restoration, community engagement, and education. He is excited to build his leadership and communication skills. His goal for this summer is to summon and hold a Red Tailed Hawk on his arm by the end of the fellowship. He was born on 7/11 and delivered inside a 7/11. Yes, like the convenience store.

Mia Jones

Mia is a California Climate Action Corps fellow who is working on native habitat restoration and researching native plant success rates within our new summer restoration sites. Mia graduated as a Biology Major from Occidental College, and at Oxy, she was also a player on the Women’s NCAA Lacrosse Team, the president and cofounder of a marine conservation and sustainability club on-campus, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and a student researcher in the Biology Dept with Dr. Amber Stubler—studying Jamaican coral reef restoration and ocean acidification. She is excited to stay in LA and work at the center post-grad, where she can explore her new passion for native plants and develop bird identification skills! Outside of the center, you can find Mia working out at the gym, playing tennis or lacrosse, and finding new places to eat in LA.

Ana Moreland

Ana is a California Climate Action Corps fellow who is working on native habitat restoration and compiling a library of birdsong local to Debs Park. Ana studied ecology and evolution at UC Santa Cruz, working with axolotls, northern elephant seals, side blotched lizards, and bats. She is excited to return to the world of SoCal native flora and to try her hand at bird identification! In her spare time she can be found on any of the 110/5/134/101 freeways, because she takes all four to get home, or shopping for new snacks at Trader Joe’s.

The California Climate Action Corps is dedicated to advancing climate actions that engage community members, cultivate change, and leave a lasting impact. Selected CCAC Fellows serve 300+ hours as AmeriCorps members over approximately two months, supporting community climate action and/or climate education projects across California. Learn more about the program HERE

Meet the Panelists! Beyond Colonial Borders: Indigenous Perspectives on Migration, Displacement, and the Sacredness of Place

On Thursday, July 22nd at 5:30pm we will be hosting a virtual discussion with Indigenous leaders working and living on unceded Tongva homelands now known as Los Angeles. Our panelists will be discussing the ties between displacement and migration and the ties between Indigenous Peoples, lands and waters throughout Turtle Island and Abya Yala.

REGISTER HERE: https://act.audubon.org/a/mm-native-nonnative

MEET THE PANELISTS

MEET THE MODERATOR

Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples (SPI) is an Indigenous-led, community-based organization located in the ancestral homelands of the Tongva People in Los Angeles. For more information, visit: http://www.sacredplacesinstitute.org/

COMPLETED! Center Renovations and Solar Power System Update

Aerial view of the new solar power system Video: Grid Alternatives

After years of discussion, planning, and implementation, we are excited to announce that the Center's recent renovations are finally complete! With completely new roofs and a totally revamped solar power system, the Center is back and better than ever. After years of unreliable building power we are looking forward to brighter days ahead and can't wait to share our new and improved space with the community.

When built in 2003, the Center was the first L.E.E.D. Platinum certified building in the country and sported a state of the art solar power system. However, over the years, this system became outdated and unable to keep up with the energy needs of a growing Center. The Center now hosts a 25.2 kW-dc solar photovoltaic system (72 total modules), as well as a 45.6 kWh Lithium battery energy storage system. This solar and storage system single-handedly powers the Center, even when the utility grid goes down. Each year, the system will generate greenhouse gas reduction benefits equivalent to planting 36 acres of forest annually.

We are proud to have partnered with GRID Alternatives (GRID) on this unique project. GRID is the country’s largest nonprofit that builds community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy. Their vision is a rapid, equitable transition to a world powered by renewable energy that benefits everyone. 

Center Reopening with New Hours of Operation!

After over a year and a half of being closed to the public due to COVID-19 and building construction, we are thrilled to announce that the Center is NOW OPEN with new hours of operation:

THURSDAY - SATURDAY

8AM - 4PM

Come on by to say hello and enjoy the space! Whether you're looking to bird watch, connect with nature, find some shade, entertain your kids, or reconnect with friends and family - the Center is the perfect place to chill this summer! Stay tuned for more information on upcoming community programs and events. 

While you're here, stop by the Welcome Center to view newly installed art by local artist and naturalist, Margaret Gallagher! 

The Center is always FREE and parking is available in the lot or along Griffin Ave. We hope you'll come visit us soon!

Please contact debspark@audubon.org with any questions or concerns. For facility rental inquiries, contact Mika.Perron@audubon.org.

Backyard Birding Tips: How to Identify Common Summer Residents

Let’s take a quick look at some of the summer residents that you might be able to spot around the LA area now and throughout the summer months! Featuring the Lazuli Bunting, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Hooded Oriole.

Updates from the Salton Sea - May 2021

Shoreline at the Salton Sea
Black-necked Stilts and Western Gulls
Male and female Northern Shoveler
American Avocet
American White Pelicans
Least sandpiper

1 of 7

Over the course of the past year, Audubon Center at Debs Park Program Coordinator, Tania Romero, has been supporting with ongoing research and surveying taking place at the Salton Sea, one of California’s essential IBAs (Important Bird Areas). See above for some of her recent photographs from the field!

For those unfamiliar with the Salton Sea, it is not technically a “sea” as its name implies. With an estimated surface area of 320 square miles, the Salton Sea is by far California’s largest lake, as well as a vital stop for migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway. Threatened by contaminated runoff and reduced inflow from changing water-usage patterns, the Sea is degrading rapidly, exposing airborne dust from the dry lakebed that endangers the health of the 650,000 residents who live in the immediate area. The Sea serves as a critical site to engage in holistic policy and program development that prioritizes the health and well-being of both people and wildlife.

Audubon CA began conducting monthly point count surveys at the Sea back in 2016. These monthly surveys are a method to monitor bird populations, specifically shorebirds and waterbirds. Unfortunately, the data confirms some extremely concerning trends. With the shrinkage of the sea, there has been an increase in salinity levels and a sharp decline in fish. As a result, piscivores (or birds that eat fish) such as the American White Pelican and Double-crested Cormorant are also declining in population. For more information on these findings, check out the 2019 Salton Sea Conservation Report here.

Although the future of the Sea remains uncertain, hope is on the horizon. In January 2021, thanks to the support of Governor Newsom’s administration and the local leadership of Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, the California Salton Sea Management Program began construction on a project to restore bird and fish habitat at the southern end of the Salton Sea. View the full press release here. The Species Conservation Habitat Project (SCH) will reduce wind-borne dust pollution on nearly 4,000 acres to the east and west of the New River delta, lessening dangerous dust pollution affecting nearby communities, while also creating habitat for birds and serving as a water-management pond for future projects in the area.

This work is long overdue and it is essential that we continue this momentum to ensure a healthier future for the Salton Sea, its surrounding communities, and our shorebird populations here in California.

For more information on the Salton Sea, visit https://ca.audubon.org/salton-sea

Center Update - March 2021

Although we've just reached the sobering one-year mark of Covid-19 restrictions, working from home, and running almost exclusively virtual programming, the Debs Park team remains motivated, optimistic, and present. Some of the things that have been bringing us joy lately include the beginning of spring migration, a few much needed rainy days, and construction (finally) beginning on our roofs and solar power system!

If everything goes according to plan, we hope to reopen the Center in some capacity by early Summer 2021. Until then we will continue with virtual programming as we focus on prepping the building and grounds for community use, so that we can be ready to go as soon as it's safe to welcome everyone back! 

Please contact debspark@audubon.org with any questions or concerns.

Planting at Steelhead Park with LACC!

Photo of LA River park sign (Steelhead Park) and park entryway

This past week we've had the pleasure of resuming our habitat enhancement work at Steelhead Park along the LA River! Although we haven't been able to safely resume our community volunteer events at the park, we've had the opportunity to work with youth from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to help get the job done in the meantime! 

For those unfamiliar with Steelhead Park, it's a small pocket park located along the Los Angeles River Greenway Trail in the Elysian Valley neighborhood. It's just off of Oros Street, which was actually the first "green street" in Los Angeles! The residential street incorporates innovative stormwater capture and filtration systems, and the design was the first of it's kind when constructed in 2006-2007. So, our work at Steelhead Park builds on an impressive legacy of environmental stewardship at this site.

Through our habitat enhancement work, we aim to build sustainable and bird-friendly communities through the planting of native plants, removal of invasive species, and ongoing community-based maintenance and stewardship of the land. 

This past week we planted 119 native plants in total, including yarrow, hummingbird sage, native grasses, toyon, golden currant, CA wild rose, CA bush sunflower, and more! All plants were grown onsite at the Center in the Los Nogales nursery. We were able to get the plants in the ground just before a few days of much needed rain, so we're extremely hopeful about their rate of survival. 

In addition to planting, the crew worked on invasive species removal as well as general park cleaning and upkeep, and they will be returning to the park on a regular basis to continue this work. 

So next time you're in the Elysian Valley area or taking a ride along the bike trail, stop by Steelhead Park and check out the new plants! On a nice day, it's a beautiful place to sit and relax. Keep your eye out for thrushes, warblers, finches and more! The frequent bird sightings are a wonderful reminder of why this habitat enhancement work is so important. 

 

Steelhead Park

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