Camp took place at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, offering plenty of open space to explore as well as fantastic views of the Ballona Creek Watershed and beyond.

Camp took place at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, offering plenty of open space to explore as well as fantastic views of the Ballona Creek Watershed and beyond.

By Cindy Hardin and Photos by Stacey Vigallon

Western Tanager September-October 2016

Los Angeles Audubon’s Summer Day Camp at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area concluded on Friday, August 12th. Over a two week period, from August 1st to August 12th, we worked with two separate groups of campers, ages 7 to 12. In total, 42 campers participated in camp activities, with the majority in attendance for all five days of their respective sessions.

OUTREACH: The camp was publicized on social media. This included postings on neighborhood websites that serve the Baldwin Hills area, and the Los Angeles Audubon website. In addition, several teachers who are involved with LAAS’s environmental education field trips during the school year helped to spread the word. Flyers were also provided to the offices at the Community Center located in KHSRA, in order to address inquiries from visitors to the park.

We were able to fill our target enrollment number of 20 campers per session well in advance of the camp start date, and had a substantial wait list that was used to fill in a couple of last minute cancellations.

Campers were led by staff who knew the area well, including several alumni from the environmental education internship program at Kenneth Hahn SRA and the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program.

Campers were led by staff who knew the area well, including several alumni from the environmental education internship program at Kenneth Hahn SRA and the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program.

CONTENT: Morning hours were spent exploring all corners of the park with our campers. Each hike was designed to highlight the different habitats found at KHSRA. We explored the Coastal Sage Scrub that is found in the canyons that spur off from the Eastern Ridge Trail. We learned about the Ballona watershed as we took in the breathtaking views from the bluff trail pavilions on the west side of the park. A favorite day for both groups took place at Gwen Moore Lake. The lake was a perfect place to learn about aquatic invertebrates, which were collected by campers, viewed under microscopes, and then returned to their homes at the lake.

Campers worked in teams to create maps from the point of view of different wildlife species found in the park.

After each hike the children participated in educational activities designed to amplify their knowledge of what they had just observed. Each child received their own field journals, which were filled with illustrations of the morning’s sightings by the week’s end. Maps that were designed to show the park through the viewpoint of resident animals were created by student teams. Three dimensional models of the local topography were used in a hands-on demonstration, which helped to convey the concept of a watershed, and particularly the Ballona watershed. Insect observation was another component of the camp, complete with a presentation of an extensive insect collection gathered by a former intern, who was a tour leader during LAAS’s regular school year program at the park.

Thanks to our new partner organization, reDiscover, campers spent their afternoons learning how to build with wood and tools.

Thanks to our new partner organization, reDiscover, campers spent their afternoons learning how to build with wood and tools.

The afternoon’s activities were overseen by our partner group, reDiscover. ReDiscover staff helped the campers to design and build animal habitats that will enhance conditions for wildlife found in the park. Lizard lounging structures were created with sticks and branches that were gathered on site. Bee boxes were also produced to provide nesting sites for our native Carpenter Bees. These projects taught campers how to use power tools and gain a better understanding of what animals need to survive.

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Campers learned about Western Fence Lizard natural history and then built small habitat structures that would provide the lizards with surfaces to get sunlight, places to look for insects, and protection from predators. These structures were then placed in a coastal sage scrub restoration area.

STAFFING: We achieved our goal of providing an adult to child ratio of one adult to every four campers. Staff included two interns from West Los Angeles College. This high ratio enabled us to provide lots of individualized attention to our campers, and created a strong team with diverse knowledge and talents.

One of the building projects that campers worked on included elaborate nest structures for our native solitary bee species. These projects will serve park pollinators and be on view to school field trip groups during the school year as well.

One of the building projects that campers worked on included elaborate nest structures for our native solitary bee species. These projects will serve park pollinators and be on view to school field trip groups during the school year as well.

Special thanks to the Baldwin Hills Conservancy, KHSRA park staff, and to the Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority for their support in this year’s endeavor and our future camps, occurring through Spring 2019.

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