Over the course of six weeks, five youth from local high schools developed their skills in habitat restoration and advocacy work through our Audubon Youth Leaders program. Activities included bird walks, planting events, field trips, meetings with local policy makers & more. Meet our Youth Leaders and learn about their experience below!
My name is Tiffany, I’m in the 10th grade and go to Franklin High School. My favorite bird is the hummingbird because it is very small but also very fast and has a lot of speed. This summer I’m looking forward to spending time with my friends and family and spending time outdoors hiking. The best part of my AYL experience was the bird walks/nature walks because before the program, I never took the time to really see birds and identify which ones they are. I felt like I finally had the time to connect with nature and listen to its beauty. One thing I learned from my AYL experience is that Audubon is really a great place and does the most to educate people and also help the trees, birds, and the land. To move forward, I can take what I learned to make a positive impact by educating others on how to take care of plants, where to volunteer, how to identify a bird, and how to help out at their local parks. Overall, my time at AYL was amazing and an experience I'll never forget. I would definitely do this again!
My name is Brigitte and I joined as a 10th grader at Franklin High School. My favorite bird is the woodpecker because I like their feather patterns and how they try to hunt for their food. They're cool. With AYL, I liked getting to learn about how to take care of the surrounding wildlife here. When learning, it included a hands-on experience with planting our own plants, which we worked on pretty hard. While doing that we learned how to make sure that the water that rains on them doesn’t slide away. Getting to learn the background of each individual plant was also interesting since it's not really a thing that you can stumble upon without researching it. I have learned to be more conscious of my surroundings while at Debs and just in public spaces as well.
This opportunity has allowed me to broaden my horizons and just teach me more about nature and the native wildlife here in southern California. I would describe this internship as an etiquette class for being around plants, and just knowing that we all have the proper knowledge to take care of any plant in any given condition. I feel more inclined to start growing my own plants with the information that I have now in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions. This internship has not only helped me a lot but has also taught me things I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn't taken the internship, and I hope to do it again in the future!
Yvonne De Los Santos
My name is Yvonne and I am an 11th grader that goes to Mendez High School. My favorite bird is the Pileated Woodpecker. Something that I am looking forward to this summer is getting more sleep and going out with friends. The best part of my AYL experience was getting to know Debs Park’s origin and walking around to see the native plants. Being able to walk around and see the plants in person made me reflect on how rare it is to see native plants and hear the story behind plants in parks. While walking along the hiking trails I got to see different plants and animals that I'm not used to seeing. During one of the hikes, we were even able to see a Red-tailed hawk up on one of the tree branches. The program also got us involved in researching bills that we can support that will have a positive impact in our community. We were also able to talk to Carlos Arce about advocating for bills that we would like Assemblymember Carrillo to support. One thing that I learned from my AYL experience was understanding the importance of talking about history and researching how we can support bills. I can take this information that I've learned and look into future bills that I can support that will have a positive impact in my community.
I’m Citlali, a junior from Franklin Senior High, and I’m looking forward to the unpredictable adventures and sights I’ll see during the last summer vacation of my K-12 school year. During my time in the Audubon Youth Leaders program, I learned about various things, such as different birds like my favorite, the California Towhee, and Los Angeles’ efforts to integrate many more natural spaces into its land full of buildings. While the whole program was memorable, working on governing bills was the most impactful. Working as a group to show our support for bills going through the council and state government was very eye-opening to me, as it showed me that there was hope in my generation’s future. I garnered better communication skills when having to go off script to show my support for bills that’d make public transportation much more accessible. After my experience in this one-of-a-kind program, I value natural public spaces much more, and I hope to work back outside for habitat restoration.
Hello! I’m Sophia. I go to Franklin High School and I joined the Audubon Youth Leader internship in 10th grade. I’m currently moving on to 11th grade!! I’m currently enjoying my long awaited summer break and using a small bit of it right now for this program. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my friends but also making new ones during the summer. My favorite bird is a hummingbird because the elementary school I attended when I was younger had a bird feeder for hummingbirds. I often saw them nearby me which sparked my interests in birds and nature. This is mainly the reason why I joined this program. I genuinely really enjoyed the AYL program. Though I wasn’t able to get as close as I wanted with the AYL members because of the short time we were together, I had a really enjoyable experience where I was able to educate myself more about open spaces and advocacy.
Personally, I felt that learning about advocacy was the most significant and memorable part of this program. It was also arguably the most important thing I learned about in this program. My group and I were able to talk to Assemblymember Carrillo’s staff person, Carlos Arce about ACA 14 which is about Homelessness and Affordable Housing. Through learning more about the bill and sharing our opinions out to Carlos Arce, I understood the importance of advocating for our opinion and doing what we think is right. As the bill was about homelessness and affordable housing, I could relate to this topic because the community I live in is getting more and more gentrified as time goes on. I usually lack a little bit of confidence in talking about how I feel so advocating gave me a lesson on standing up to myself. It helped me learn the importance of advocacy as everyone’s opinion is valid and should be heard. I really enjoyed my time at AYL and I hope to join this program again next year!!