Binocular & Book Giveaway for BIPOC Youth!

Huge thank you to Jason Goldman & Celestron!

This month, thanks to a generous donation from Jason Goldman (co-author of Wild LA) and Celestron, we were able to distribute 18 pairs of binoculars and copies of the book Wild LA to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) youth through four of our amazing partner schools: San Pascual STEAM Magnet, Esperanza Elementary School, Sotomayor Learning Academies, and Anahuacalmecac International University Prep. We are so excited that we were able to get these books and binoculars into the hands of some budding young birders and environmental stewards.

Events like the Christian Cooper incident in Central Park have brought widespread attention to a fact that many BIPOC individuals are already all too aware of: that outdoor spaces are not equally safe for everyone. White supremacy and institutional racism have impacted all aspects of our daily lives, and the outdoors are no exception. Providing resources and tools to BIPOC youth and increasing representation in outdoor spaces is one major step we can take to ensure that the outdoors are safe and welcoming for everyone. 

Thanks again, Jason and Celestron!

Debs Park Trail Status Update - August 2020

Hiking trails remain open - remember to recreate responsibly!

Although the Center is currently closed to the public, the rest of Debs Park is open from dawn to dusk. Trails are accessible via the pedestrian entrance off of Griffin Ave, or via the driveway entrance off of Monterey Rd. The parking lot off of Griffin Ave. will remain closed, however there is street parking available. 

Please ensure that you are recreating responsibly, including:
  • wearing masks
  • social distancing
  • staying on the trail
  • staying hydrated
  • leashing dogs 
  • picking up & disposing of dog waste 
  • disposing of trash

Click here for the Debs Park trail map! 

Feel free to contact us at with any questions or concerns. 

Who is Grid Alternatives?

Photo: Grid Alternatives

We are proud to partner with Grid Alternatives for the Center's solar system renovation, and we want to take a moment to share about the amazing work that they do!

Grid Alternatives is the nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, whose mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. They work to achieve their mission through a number of programs, such as free solar installations for low-income families, hands-on solar job training, technical assistance programs, advocacy and policy work, and more!

Grid Alternative's holistic and "people-first" approach to renewable energy is very much in line with the Center's approach to environmental conservation, and it's great to be able to work alongside an organization who is similarly committed to investing in local communities, and building a more equitable environmental movement. 

We are inspired by their awesome work and couldn’t be happier to partner with the Los Angeles team on our solar renovation project.

Check out their website for more info!

Bird of the Month, August 2020: Red-crowned Parrot

Red-crowned parrot in tree
Photo: Tom Benson/Flickr (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

Red-crowned Parrot 

Amazona viridigenalis

If you are new to Pasadena or Northeast LA, chances are you may have been quite surprised the first time you saw a large flock of bright green parrots flying around! If you've been in the area for a while, you may be all too familiar with the loud squawking of these flamboyant birds, which often takes place quite early in the morning! Whether you love them or hate them, red-crowned parrots have certainly made themselves at home here. Although there are a few different types of wild parrots that can be seen in Los Angeles, the red-crowned parrot is one of the most prevalent. 

They are beautiful green birds with a bright red patch on their head, a pale colored beak, and an additional red patch on the back of each wing, which can be spotted when they are in flight. Native to northeastern Mexico, red-crowned parrots were introduced to California through the pet trade. The wild population that exists in Los Angeles today actually grew from parrots that escaped captivity and adapted to the urban environment. They adapted so well that in 2001, red-crowned parrots were added to the Official List of California Birds as an introduced species. Unfortunately, due to the pet trade and habitat degredation, the native population in Mexico has decreased significantly in recent years and the species could soon be considred threatened. 

Fun fact: A flock of parrots is aptly called a pandemonium!

Plant of the Month, August 2020: California Wild Grape

California Wild Grapes at Debs Park

California Wild Grape

Vitis californica 

If you have been to the Center, chances are you've noticed the beautiful grape vines that decorate the walkways of our courtyard. As a deciduous plant, the CA wild grape vines change with the seasons. During the spring and summer the leaves are a vibrant green, and are typically covered with grapes by late August or early September. In the fall, the leaves turn to stunning hues of red, orange, and yellow. By the winter, the vines are bare and they remain dormant until the coming spring. 

Native to Southern Oregon and California, CA wild grapes can typically be found along streams and rivers. They are an important food source for many local birds, such as the cedar waxwing and northern mockingbird, and animal species like coyotes and possums. Humans can eat the grapes as well, although they are small with large seeds and tend to be more tart than the grapes you might find in the grocery store. The native Tongva use CA wild grapes for a number of purposes, including food, medicine, and basketry. 

They can be a great addition to many backyard restoration projects as the vines can easily be guided to cover arbors or trellises, or to wrap around existing trees and landscaping. They are also quite easy to grow, provide great shade, and are drought tolerant once established! However, do keep in mind that they can grow quite aggressively and often require regular pruning. 

Backyard Birding Tips: How to ID a Red Tailed Hawk

Have you ever seen a hawk soaring in the sky and wondered “What is that cool bird?” We bet it was a Red-tailed Hawk. But don’t take our word for it! Watch this video and learn how you can properly identify a Red-tailed hawk on your next hike, road trip, or walk.

Backyard Birding Tips: How to ID Common LA River Birds

There’s so many birds along the LA River, sometimes it’s hard to tell which one is which! But have no fear, check out this video for some of our tips for identifying common water birds along the LA River!

Backyard Birding Tips: How to be a Bird Ally along the LA River!

You can find lots of feathered friends along the LA River! From herons and egrets, to warblers and ducks – the LA River’s riparian habitat is home to lots of unique birds. Check out some tips for keeping the LA River bird-friendly on your next walk! 

Backyard Birding Tips: How to ID a California Scrub Jay

If you’ve seen a blue streak flying across your backyard, chances are you’ve seen the California Scrub Jay! These birds are known for swooping across clearings, their harsh calls and long floppy tails. DID YOU KNOW the California Scrub Jay is part of the Corvidae family – meaning this bright blue guy is cousins with Ravens and Crows! Have you seen any California Scrub Jays in YOUR backyard? Let us know!

Backyard Birding Tips: How to ID a Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser goldfinches are pretty small birds, and they’ve learned that there’s strength in numbers! You’ll often find them in flocks mixed with other seed-eating birds at bird feeders. If you see a tiny yellow bird with an all-black cap, chances are you spotted a male lesser goldfinch. Have you seen any lesser goldfinches in your backyard? Let us know!

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