80 Volunteers Work to Bring Native Species Back to Los Angeles
During the month of June, Discovery Communications organizes thousands of employees throughout the world to give back through their “Discover Your Impact Day.” On June 12th, SCA supported these employee engagement efforts with a conservation project on the Los Angeles River bringing together over 80 local Discovery Communications staff.
SCA teamed up with the Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), a local nonprofit which aims to make the LA River swimmable, fishable, boatable, and bikeable. Since the 1930s, when the river was channelized to prevent flooding and its banks were encased in concrete, many native fish and bird species have disappeared. But now, with help from organizations like FoLAR, natural vegetation and wildlife is being reinstated.
After convening at the Frog Spot, FoLAR’s community gathering space overlooking the river, SCA leaders guided Discovery volunteers down to the waterfront to collect trash, complete biodiversity surveys, and record data on macroinvertebrates — tiny creatures that serve as indicators of the health of the river. This wealth of data will be used by FoLAR and other partners to help in future conservation and advocacy efforts on the river.
After collecting water quality data, SCA leaders and Discovery volunteers got to work building nesting boxes to bring bluebirds and other native species back to the river habitat. The dozens of birdhouses completed at the end of the day were donated to the Audubon Center at Debs Park, where Audubon staff — including SCA alum Sarah Miggins, who serves as Center Director — will distribute them through Audubon’s school programs.
“I have a dream for the LA River,” Audubon educator Ximena Gil told Discovery volunteers. “There is a bird called the yellow-billed cuckoo that used to flourish right here in Los Angeles. When the river was channelized, that bird was driven away. But if we can bring just one yellow-billed cuckoo back to the river, there will be hope. With the help of volunteers like you and organizations like SCA, that can be not just a dream but a reality.”
Big thanks to Discovery Communications, and to Audubon and the Friends of the Los Angeles River for partnering with SCA on this project!