On Saturday, November 18, SFVAS hosted 90 or so UCLA undergraduates from two classes on environmental science, for a comprehensive tour of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve.
Students had been immersed in such diverse elements of the science as geology, food and water sustainability, the importance of native plants and water landscape for animals and migratory birds – in other words, subjects that are right in our wheelhouse.
It was a perfect Fall day and we covered a lot of ground. The UCLA professors were Raffaella D’Auria, Noah Garrison and Tom Smith; SFVAS leaders were Muriel Kotin, Carole Hill, Lynne Hopkins, David & Kathy Barton, Barbara Heidemann, Pat Bates and Art Langton.
In addition to the usual identification of observed birds and plants, we were able to point out the fundamental personality of the Reserve: its demonstration of how reclaimed water creates the creek and the lake, of the importance of the riparian habitat, of the adaptations to drought of the plants in the wildlife reserve and of the flood control purpose of Sepulveda Basin as a whole.
The students who were seeing the Basin for the first time expressed delighted surprise at the existence of a natural refuge and open-air environmental laboratory in the midst of our urban hubbub.
This visit is the sort of event we’d like to see happen on a regular basis. It is essential to provide informed and enjoyable experiences in nature to future leaders. Further, the more young people who come to appreciate the Wildlife Reserve and see what a precious resource it is for recreation and education, the more its upkeep by the City, and thus its future, can be assured.