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

UCI’s YES Program: Encouraging Young Scientists

This summer, Amigos de Bolsa Chica is collaborating with UC Irvine’s Young Engineers & Scientists (YES) program. The YES 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 are geared toward second and third graders and will focus on teaching about environmental science and stewardship. The UCI YES program will be guiding the students to learn more about nature and how to care for it using the process of science and engineering design.

This is a no-cost online program sponsored by California Subject Matter Project. It brings together UCI faculty and students in science and engineering, elementary teacher leaders, and local non-profits like the Amigos de Bolsa Chica with the goal of supporting science and engineering at the elementary school level. All students in the program will receive free books and materials aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. While the summer program has filled to capacity, a fall program for grades 4-5 is being planned.

Due to COVID precautions, the entire YES program will be online and through Zoom this summer. Our role as Amigos will be to lead two 30-minute tours of the wetlands (July 14 & 21). We will be using the “Live from the Wetlands” format we developed this spring and will connect with the students through Zoom. Along with the volunteer Naturalists talking with the students over Zoom, we have another volunteer hosting the Zoom session remotely, and another volunteer to film, work the microphone, and use a telephoto lens when needed to allow the students to really see more of the birds, plants and wildlife. COVID has challenged us to be creative, collaborative, and really learn to utilize technology!

The Amigos are very excited to have this opportunity to share about the wetlands with these future scientists!

Huntington Beach Central Library

Amigos de Bolsa Chica is collaborating with the Huntington Beach Central Library on two dates in July. Our first activity on July 12 will be a make-and-take project for 50 children that focuses on a bird that is frequently seen outside the children’s library window and also occasionally at the wetlands: Owls! Additional items in the bags will include a scavenger hunt card and a map to encourage families to visit Bolsa Chica Wetlands, a poem about an owl who says “Give a hoot, don’t pollute”, a link to a related children storybook, “Owl Babies,” and links to Amigos de Bolsa Chica website for further information about our programs and videos.

The second activity will be an Amigos member being filmed reading a wetlands/nature book appropriate for K-5 aged children. The film will be loaded to the library’s YouTube website, and children will be given a link to watch the film. Lauren Fillet has volunteered for the reading. We are looking forward to a contining collaboration with the library for other wetlands and ocean related projects.

Girl Scouts Love State Parks 2021

This annual celebration is the largest and most popular outdoor event created by the Girl Scouts. On September 12, Girl Scouts from across the nation will engage in nature related activities in all 50 states. Bolsa Chica State Beach and Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve have been chosen as host sites for Orange County. Amigos is hoping to lead up to 90 girls in groups of 10 from the south parking lot to the first overlook and back. We hope to stagger these tours to begin every 15 minutes so that docents/naturalists can lead several of them. These tours should take around 45 minutes and cover high interest topics that are easily seen on that day. As this will probably be our first guided tours in over a year and a half we are actively seeking docents/naturalists to lead them. Some of us may be a bit rusty on specific details that usually are featured in our tours. However, most of these girls will be quite young and we hope to point out the basics. Birds, pickleweed and endangered species seem to be the focal points of this tour. Our naturalists will receive a Girl Scout patch for their efforts. Please join us as we prepare for this wonderful event

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these events, please email us at info@amigosdebolsachica.org. Your support is much needed and appreciated.