Originally written for publishing on April 16, 2013
The ninth annual Bolsa Chica Wetlands Earth Day Festival is celebrated this past Saturday in an effort to bring awareness of the environment.
A bounce house, food, arts and crafts, and booths with community partners and educational programs were set up to enhance learning about the land. All provided free to attendees.
“Learning about animals you learn about how they live and how we as humans affect the environment,” said Grace Adams, Executive Director of Bolsa Chica Conservancy.
Many interactive ways to learn were offered at each booth such as: seeing some live animals that live on the land like a taranchula and boa snake that people could touch.
“The spider was scary and I didn’t know they could live on this land,” said Heidi Carramanzana, 22, a health science major at California State University Fullerton.
Attendees could also learn at the “What is in the Water?” booth by looking through a microscope at plankton samples.
Guided tours of the wetland trails were offered by the interpretive center coordinators.
Eyes on Nest Sites was there to recruit volunteers and bring awareness of the birds that are threatened or endangered in the area. They watch over and protect nests for birds.
“The California [least tern] is endangered and the western snowy plover is threatened.” Ross Griswold, Bolsa Chica Conservancy and Eyes on Nest Sites volunteer.
These and other variety of birds can be seen in the Interpretative Center’s exhibit along with the other animals that live on the land.
The Bolsa Chica history booth provided information and artifacts about the Native Americans who first settled on the land and how they lived.
The South Coast Air Quality Management Air Pollution Control Agency came to provide free items and pamphlets on how to help keep the air clean. This agency, which serves Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties, adopts and enforces regulations in order to protect public health and provide clean air.
Another way attendees could interact and learn was by receiving a earth day festival booklet at the entrance. They could go around to each booth and receive a stamp for finding the answers to several questions. Once they received all stamps they could get a free food item or one free jump in the shark bounce house.
Some noted sponsors are: The Southern California Gas Company, Disneyland, Simple Green, Fred’s Mexican Cafe, Kiwanis international of Huntington Beach, Mike Grumet Insurance and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
“In the wetlands there is such an abundance of life and where fish start their journey before going to the ocean in order to receive nourishment. People don’t realize it’s more than just birds on this land,” said Adams.
Each year the event is primarily volunteer based and most of the same sponsors come out each year.
“Each year there’s an increase in the number of people that come. Today I’ve counted so far 802 people and 70 volunteers,” said Adams.
Throughout the year the interpretative center runs guided tours of the wetlands which are free for the public to visit, although donations are highly encouraged.
For volunteer information go to www.bolsachica.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.