San Fernando Valley Audubon is pleased to announce 2014‒15 field trip grants for its popular Sepulveda Basin Environmental Education Program (SBEEP). Audubon will subsidize the full cost of the education program at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve (SBWR) for up to 30 schools (a $430 value). The cost of transportation is not included. Schools must arrange for their own travel using district transportation. Teachers who have not participated in this program before must attend the teacher’s workshop prior to the date of their field trip. The workshop and field trip is open to teachers of grades four thru six.

The Teacher’s Workshop, “Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife,” will be held Saturday, November 1, 2014. Its goal is to offer curricular support and preparation for the subsequent field trip you’ll be taking with your students. Topics include the energy cycle, food web, local birds, native plants, water-resource awareness and classroom activities. Teachers who have attended the workshop before do not have to repeat it, and are still eligible for a field trip using the same application form. Workshop participants will be informed later of event details.

The Field Trip is a two-hour program in environmental education at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve (SBWR) delivered by the education staff at the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM). The program runs from 10 am to 12 pm, and the content is aligned with state standards. Field trips can accommodate from 45 to 70 students divided into four groups. Schools must provide at least four adult chaperons (one for each group). Experienced RCD educators will lead the students in a rotation system through the wildlife area. Activities include identifying plankton with microscopes, observing wildlife with binoculars, testing the water quality of the lake, and learning about native plants.

To maximize the number of students per field trip, fourth- and fifth-grade teachers should apply two per school. Sixth-grade teachers may apply singly or in pairs. Among other criteria, selection will be based on (1) the date your application is received (2) previous student interest, conduct, and preparation (3) proximity to SBWR, and (4) achieving a balance between new and returning schools.

To Apply please download an application from For questions, contact Paula Orlovich, SBEEP Chairperson:

For more information about Audubon programs visit For more information about RCD programs visit

Field Trips

San Fernando Valley Audubon Society’s outstanding Sepulveda Basin Environmental Education Program (SBEEP) takes place at the Sepulveda Basin’s Wildlife Reserve. Each school year, we provide thirty field trips to the Wildlife Reserve for sixty paired classes from the fourth, fifth and sixth grades in the Los Angeles Unified School District. We also sponsor an environmental education workshop for teachers new to the program.

Many of the nearly 2,000 children who participate in the program are from low-income families, and live in heavily urbanized areas in the San Fernando Valley and central city. For many of the children, the program offers their first adventure into a natural environment.

The program is free to the schools. However the school must provide transportation for the children to the Sepulveda Basin. Contact Paula Orlovich

Teacher Workshops and Student Tours

To prepare for the field trips, the teachers who have not previously participated attend a day-long workshop, Water, Wetlands and Wildlife, on the ecology of riparian wetlands. They will also be offered the opportunity to have an Audubon volunteer give a presentation in their classroom on birds and free subscriptions to a student newsletter, “Audubon Adventures”.

Then, each pair of classes is invited for a morning at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area. The students will be divided into four groups and conducted on the tour by environmental educators from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. On the field trip, they use binoculars to watch birds like cormorants, ducks, egrets, herons, pelicans and hawks and use microscopes to view tiny organisms that live in the lake. They also learn about native plants and animals, ecological interrelationships, the reclaimed water in the lake and creek, the riparian trees and shrubs, and the flood control basin surrounding them. A pamphlet entitled Birds of the Sepulveda Basin is provided after the tour for each student to take home.

To view a copy of this booklet click the title above or download it here.

Are You a Teacher Who Would Like to Bring Your Class to Sepulveda Basin?

If you teach grade 4, 5 or 6 in an LA Unified School, you may be eligible to apply for an SBEEP field trip and teacher workshop. E-mail our SBEEP chair, Paula Orlovich, right before school starts in the fall to receive an application for the program, or fill out an application SBEEP.Application.2014.

We also sponsor a limited number of other field trips and tours, led by volunteers from San Fernando Valley Audubon, for youth groups and other organized groups, as well as teachers unable to receive SBEEP tours. These groups may be able to arrange a tour led by volunteers from San Fernando Valley Audubon. To arrange a volunteer led field trip, contact Youth Activities chair Muriel Kotin at 310-457-5796.

You Can Become a Naturalist

If you love nature and like working with children, you may wish to train to become one of our naturalists. No formal experience is necessary. We need enthusiastic nature lovers who love to share their knowledge. Training begins with a series of classes taught by scientists and seasoned naturalists. It also includes observing and co-leading actual children’s tours.

Training sessions take place in the fall. If you are interested, call the Education Coordinator of the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, our partner in charge of naturalists: Stephen Vodantis at 818-597-8627 ext. 103.

You may also train to become a volunteer for our other nature tours by contacting the Youth Activities Chair, Muriel Kotin at 310-457-5796 or

Classroom Programs

San Fernando Valley Audubon volunteers visit classrooms and youth groups with presentations on birds and conservation. Youngsters respond actively to the stuffed birds, bird photos, and dialog about the similarities and differences between unique and familiar birds and their habitats.

We also sponsor classroom subscriptions to the Audubon Adventures newsletters with teachers’ guides. The Classroom Resource Kits are packed with exciting resources to bring science to life in any classroom, but with focus on Grades 3-5. Audubon Adventures helps form positive attitudes about nature and supports teachers with instructional content aligned with national standards for Social Studies, Civics, Science, and Language Arts. Please go to for more information.

For more information on classroom visits or Audubon Adventures, contact our Classroom Education Chair, Dave Weeshoff at 818-618-1652.

Weekend Walks

San Fernando Valley Audubon leads bird walks for families and beginning adults at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area on second Saturday mornings at 9:00, October through March.

Special walks for youth and other groups may also be arranged. For more information, contact Muriel Kotin at 310-457-5796.

A pamphlet entitled Birds of the Sepulveda Basin is available here.


An all-volunteer organization, San Fernando Valley Audubon funds its education programs through donations, membership dues and grants.

SFVAS accepts donations dedicated to its Education Program. If you would like to help us support this worthwhile environmental education program, please send your tax-deductible contribution to:

SFVAS Education Program
PO Box 7769
Van Nuys CA 91409-7769

Our Gift to Children

Our goal is to help children become more knowledgeable about the natural world, more comfortable in it, more aware of their relationship to it, and more apt to care for it responsibly. For some students, the trip opens their eyes to the possibilities of scientific studies.