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By Carol Babeli

Los Angeles Audubon hosted a marvelous group of seven young women from Nepal on a tour of the Ballona Wetlands on July 20th. These seven Nepalese women are from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds coming together to create history. A mission to climb the highest mountain in each continent. Six done, one to go! They just completed a climb to the summit of Mt. McKinley/Denali, the 6th mountain of the mission on June 24, 2014 and their next journey will take them to Antarctica for the final peak. Their motto is “Together We Reach Higher”.

We were truly inspired by their efforts and by their dedication to education, empowerment and the environment.

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Leading the group on the tour of the Ballona Wetlands was Cindy Hardin, LAAS Outdoor Education Director, and a team of volunteer docents; Lynn Bossone, Emily Reed, Diana Spurlin, Connie Semf, Beverly Kokin, Dixie Cleary, Frances Sotcher and Christi Nash, along with Margot Griswold, LAAS Vice-President & Education Chair, and Carol Babeli, Communications & Development Director.

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These seven mountaineers were very interested in learning about our area, and the Ballona tour provided insight into the makeup of the wetlands: exploring aquatic samples under microscope, viewing coastal habitat, bird and wildlife activity, and hiking out to the trestle and to the Ballona channel. It was a good day for bird watching too - we saw an oyster catcher, whimbrels, willets, black-bellied plovers, snowy and great egrets, great blue herons, coopers hawks, Wilson’s phalaropes, osprey, and a caspian tern, to name a few.

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We were delighted to have met this wonderful group of young women who are being sponsored by the U.S. State Department on their tour of the U.S. between climbing expeditions.

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If you’d like to follow their journey visit

Published Western Tanager Vol 1. No. 81 Sept/Oct 2014