Six years of students helping coastal species

By Stacey Vigallon, Director of Interpretation

October 12, 2012

The 2012-2013 school year is well under way, and this October marked Dorsey High School Eco-club’s 11th visit to the Least Tern Colony on Venice Beach. This is the sixth consecutive school year that these students have played an important role in Least Tern conservation by assisting biologists in maintaining habitat at the colony. And thanks to Toyota and the TogetherGreen Volunteer Days Program, students from 186th Street Elementary School have joined Dorsey students at the Venice colony each fall over the past five years as well.

Snowy Plovers on our Los Angeles County beaches have also benefitted from the help of students over the past six years. Students have helped spread the word about plover conservation through film, illustration, and presentations. During our fall field trips to Dockweiler Beach, students in the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program lead elementary school students through a beach ecology curriculum they created, helping younger students to find Snowy Plovers, explore their habitat, and write down observations in field notebooks.


Dorsey graduate, Elia Arispe, was one of the first Dorsey students to ever visit the tern colony back in 2007. Her younger sister, Ariam Arispe , is now a Restoration Leader in the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program. 


A Baldwin Hills Greenhouse student helps an elementary school student spot a Snowy Plover at the Dockweiler Snowy Plover enclosure.


Politi Elementary students draw a crab at the wrack line at Dockweiler Beach.


Dorsey High School eco-club students help create dune habitat in the Venice Least Tern colony.


A crowd of family and local community members gather to watch a play about the Snowy Plover that was written and produced by the Politi Elementary GATE class.

Do you want to get involved in Snowy Plover and Least Tern conservation? We are always happy to welcome new volunteers to our monitoring program. We are also offering beach walks this winter through the Dockweiler Youth Center and the Annenberg Community Beach House. For more information, contact Stacey Vigallon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (323) 481-4037.

Published Western Tanager Vol. 79 No. 2 Nov/Dec 2012