New Education and Volunteer Opportunities
By Jennifer Robins and Nancy Boyd-Batstone

UCI YES ProgramUCI Yes Program
Amigos de Bolsa Chica’s Education Committee has been busy creating new partnerships and programs. We would like to share with you some opportunities that have been developed from these programs you may be interested in. Some are virtual and others are at the wetlands, so volunteers have plenty to choose from.

Brand new is “Live from the Wetlands,” a virtual tour accompanied by a Naturalist “broadcasting” live from the Ecological Reserve. Rather than simply watch the video of the virtual tour, having a trained Naturalist talk to students about the contents of the video while they are at the wetlands adds a huge extra dimension to distance learning. Tom Pfeifer’s AP Environmental Science class at Segerstrom High has been the first to take advantage of this – see David Nguyen’s “My Bolsa Chica Ecology Event Experience!” to see the impact this had on one young person. In order to make this new concept of a wetland tour happen, it requires one or two Naturalists who walk and talk about the wetlands, a volunteer to film via Zoom, a volunteer to assist the other volunteers by pointing out birds, guide visitors at the wetlands around the presenters, and a volunteer Zoom host to facilitate the connection between presenters and the attendees. Volunteers are needed for all these positions.

A new outreach partnership with the Huntington Beach Central Library is in the planning stages. Volunteers are needed to help create projects that will engage library patrons, both youth and adults. Initially this will be virtual, but as life returns to normal, programs can go live. One example is to read a children’s book about wetlands to children via a Zoom recording. Activities can be developed with the use of our “Birds and Beaks” and “Plankton Races” activities as well as the games in our Coastal Wetlander Activity Book.

Interested in helping to develop future scientists and engineers? Come volunteer with our collaboration with University of California, Irvine’s summer YES program! The YES (Young Engineers & Scientists) program seeks to encourage an interest in science in K-5 students around exciting hands-on curricula grounded in community environmental issues. The two one-week programs this July will focus on teaching about environmental science and stewardship in partnership with the Amigos de Bolsa Chica. The UCI YES program will be guiding the student to learn more about nature and how to care for it using the process of science and engineering design. Due to COVID precautions, this summer, the entire YES program will be online and through Zoom. Our role as Amigos will be to lead two 30-minute tours of the wetlands (July 14 & 21). We will be using our “Live from the Wetlands” format and connect with the students through Zoom. If you are interested in joining us, we need tech people (hosting the Zoom meetings), phone/camera operators (equipment provided) and Naturalists to talk about the wetlands. Or, if want to join us as a trainee and learn more for future in-person collaborations with the UCI YES program, contact info@amigosdebolsachica.org. For more information on the UCI YES program: https://scienceproject.cfep.uci.edu/yes-program-grades-2-3/

Also in the pre-planning stages is an Osprey nest platform. Now that these majestic birds of prey (see article on Ospreys at Bolsa Chica) are breeding at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, we believe they would benefit further from platforms similar to those in place at the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. Fundraising efforts will be essential to ensure completion of this project.

All of the Amigos conservation and education efforts require two things: volunteers and fundraising. We need your help! If you are a Naturalist we haven’t heard from in a while, let us know you are interested in volunteering for a “Live from the Wetlands” tour, the Huntington Beach Library program, or the UCI Yes program. And let us know that you want to be involved in organizing fundraising campaigns for the Osprey nesting platform or to help make our education outreach efforts successful. Please contact info@amigosdebolsachica.organd say yes, I want to help!