In northeast Los Angeles, the Debs Park Audubon Center partnered with four local public schools (Aldama Elementary, San Pascual Elementary School, Latona Elementary School, and Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet) to create pollinator-friendly gardens on their school grounds. With youth volunteers from the Arroyo Seco Green Team (the Audubon Center’s youth volunteer group), parents, staff, and students from the schools themselves, the Audubon Center hopes to help children interact with local nature and learn about the outdoors.
Viviana Vallin, the project leader, worked with each school to choose the best location for a garden, and planned the specific design and the scheduling of a planting event (there was one big planting day for each school). Parents, staff, and student volunteers were split up into teams to help plant, water, and mulch the garden space, as well as put up hummingbird feeders and other elements to make the space complete.
Volunteers also created label cards for the plants going in the garden, allowing them to use their artistic skills in painting the type of plants used, including their scientific and common name. In addition, art teachers at the schools will eventually be able to use the garden as a learning tool through activities like nature journaling and sketching.
The Arroyo Green Team helped with the plantings and training of parent/student volunteers. During the event, the Audubon Center provided binoculars for volunteers to go on a short birding walk of their campus. This was done before the planting begins as a way to get everyone excited about the wildlife already present on their campus, and a great way to collect CUBs data! Volunteers also received support to participate in the Audubon Citizen Science program, Hummingbirds at Home, where they can help track local hummingbirds on their campus.
The gardens will all be providing native habitat for neighborhood pollinators like the Allen’s and Anna’s Hummingbirds, so volunteers were directly introduced to why native plants are beneficial for native birds, especially in the very urbanized area of Los Angeles.
Viviana wrote us that, “This is truly a meaningful project that I feel will have a positive impact on the school campus and increase habitat for wildlife in Los Angeles,” and we agree! We’ll keep you posted with more photos of the events soon.