Before the week of our internship training, I had the opportunity to interact with many visitors of Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve that were visiting the reserve for the first time and locals that visit regularly. It was very exciting talking to individuals who were coming from out of state to visiting California’s beautiful jewels and that decided to stop at ESNERR. Many of the visitors who came to the slough came primarily to watch the birds and also to enjoy the different ecosystems throughout the reserve. Elkhorn Slough is still receiving a great diversity of migratory birds that travel through the pacific flyway, which gives visitors a great opportunity to watch birds refuel before heading to their destination.
During my time at the visitor center, I was expecting to see a diverse number of visitors coming to the slough but I was surprised to see very little turn out from the Latino, Black, or Asian community. It left me wondering how a location that is surrounded by Latino communities has such a small number of visitors. The reserve has many different things to offer, and it makes it a great place to visit even if you are not into birds. Individuals can come to the slough just to have a picnic if they wish to or to explore the cool exhibits that are inside the visitor center. The activities that I just mentioned requires little effort, are free, very educational, and the staff are always willing to share their knowledge. Overall, it was a great week of learning new things and sharing my knowledge with visitors. Now that I have a better understanding of the slough I am looking forward to going out to the community to raise awareness regarding the great resources that Monterey Bay has to offer.