This is the end….

Wow! I can’t believe my time is up. These five months went by really fast!! I can honestly say I have learned a lot and gained a lot of experience that others can take years to gain. I am so thankful to everyone that made this internship possible, not only for myself but for all the other interns as well.

The training we had in San Diego was very informative and fun for all of us. We got to visit various locations that I can’t wait to go back myself and have more time to enjoy them. I have made several friends along the way that I know I’ll keep in contact with, and we help each other out in this new chapter in our lives.

This internship really let me see how it is to work with a non-profit and all the hard work that goes into it. Since I was placed in Los Angeles, and this was the first year EFTA had interns in the L.A area, we had to really get ourselves out there to make things happen. Having made connections with several elementary schools and other organizations will make it easier for future interns to get started.

I have gained skills in communications, research, and outreach that I know will help me stand out in the future.

I am so thankful to have worked along side Stacey Vigallon from L.A Audubon. She has been a mentor of mine since I graduated high school, and working with her during this internship helped me build a strong work relationship with her that I hope will result in future job opportunities.

I realized through this internship that research assignments were not for me but outreach and interpretive work was. I guess that’s what internships are for, to help you decided whether you want to work in that field or not.

As to what I am going to do now that this internship is over…
-Continue with school and get my B.S In Environmental Geography
-Continue working for CA State Parks and take the test to possibly obtain a Park Interpretive Specialist position here in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Northern California.
Oh, and start my own Vegan/Vegetarian E-cookbook!

This has been quiet the experience and I am truly grateful for everyone, including the readers for being part of all our journey!
Thank you!


It’s Been Over Five Years!

It has been a very exciting week regarding the Least Terns! We have spotted Least Tern chicks for the first time in over five years and we have set up a fence within the exclosure to keep the chicks from going out of the exclosure. That will protect them from getting stepped on or ran over by a vehicle because they can be difficult to spot, even at close range. There haven’t been many crows landing within the exclosure either. Sometimes they fly over but the terns are quick to get them out of there.

The chick fence we set up covered a good amount of the nesting terns, but because of a shortage of fence, some terns were left outside the fence. The western part of the fence was made with wooden stakes and a thick plastic that was about three feet tall. The eastern part of the fence was made with wooden stakes and a smaller plastic tied to them. It was a lot of work but we had a few people helping so it went by pretty fast. We will keep monitoring the site and keeping an eye on the fence and chicks.

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Rainy Bird Walk…

Being from Southern California we rarely get any rain…especially because we have been in a drought for quite some time. When preparing for my bird walk I prepared by thinking to myself about how many people might attend, what to talk about, and which trail to take them on…ect., but I was NOT prepared for it to RAIN!!!!!

It hasn’t rained in MONTHS and, of course, the weather Gods would choose to make it rain during my walk. It freaked me out. In my mind I was like, “Oh no, the birds are not going to be out and these people are going to leave.” Good thing it only rained for a couple of minutes…enough to leave me wet! As we continued the hike, I talked about the plants, scenery, and what make the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook so special. We had the luck of seeing a gopher snake, a good amount of birds(once the sun came out), and we even enjoyed cracking some black walnuts from the trees here at the park (SHHHH…Don’t tell my boss). Which, by the way, black walnuts are delicious but it was too much work to crack open for a tiny little piece of walnut! Haha:)

Over all it went well. The couple that came was great and were super into the walk and gave me great feedback. I had a great time leading a little bird walk. Unfortunately because of scheduling I did it in the late afternoon, a morning walk would have have been better. But hey, I learned from it.

Looking Good For Least Terns

This week I participated in a walk-through of the Least Tern site in Venice, and we counted 53 nests! Most of the nests have been around for about two weeks, and they usually hatch at about three weeks. Then, it takes the chicks another twenty or so days to become more independent. The crows seem to be staying away from the area where most of the nests are located, and when a crow does get close, it gets bombarded by over 60 terns flying at it. The terns are doing a great job at keeping the crows away from their nests. We do see some predated eggs but it is not as bad as when the terns first tried nesting earlier in the summer. It is a bit unusual that the terns have tried to nest again so late in the season because in most seasons they are usually leaving the site by early or mid July. This coming week we will do another walk-through to see how the nests are doing and we will set up a fence within the exclosure to help keep the chicks inside the exclosure if they start hatching. It is very exciting, and I am looking forward to seeing chicks at Venice soon.

Least Tern eggs at Venice site

Least Tern eggs at Venice site

Natural History Museum

Last week we had the chance to get a behind-the-scenes-experience with the Ornithology department at the Natural History Museum, which is one of my FAVORITE museums here in Los Angeles. Every time I go, I HAVE to check out the their bird room, and I have always wondered if that’s all they had….well they don’t! They have thousands upon thousands of different birds from all over the world, it’s AMAZING!

We met up with Kimball L. Garrett, the Ornithology Director and he gave the grand tour of the department. He took us to their rooms that have THOUSANDS of different species of birds that have been found or taken in for science purposes and are now now curated and kept safely. Mr. Kimball was telling us that one of the biggest problems they have in this room is keeping beetles out. He even showed us the traps they us, and many of them had several beetles stuck to them.

We were also able to go into the room where the volunteers were dissecting the birds, cleaning them and stuffing them back together. It was VERY cold in there, and it had this smell that reminded me of that time in high school where I was forced to dissect a frog. Some of the volunteers had been there for 15+ years!!! Wow, talk about dedication. It was such a treat to be able to see to all the work that really goes on to be able to put a new bird out in display at the museum.

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