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This week our founders, Alex Havasi and Marilyn Fordney, visited two classes of third grade students at Brentwood Science Magnet School in Los Angeles, California. These excited students recently experienced a field trip to the Malibu Lagoon and  learned a great deal about Malibu’s tide pools and wildlife by exploring the area.   

Most of the students at Brentwood Science Magnet School have grown up in a metropolitan environment. There’s no doubt that the streets, parks, and museums of Los Angeles provide youth with an outstanding experiential education, but offering kids a chance to immerse themselves in nature can round out their understanding of the world.  Fortunately for all, the nearby Malibu Lagoon houses hundreds of different species and provides an ideal learning environment for curious students.

Malibu Lagoon

Today, Malibu Lagoon is one of Los Angeles’ few remaining estuaries. At just 110 acres, the lagoon is less than half of its original size. Just one century ago, the sprawling open water inlets and brackish marshes were common along the Southern California coast. Throughout the 1900’s, urban development and decades of soil dumping reduced these critical coastal habitats to their existing size. Over the past 35 years, various restoration projects have helped recuperate the wetlands by cleaning up waste and reintroducing endangered fish like the tidewater goby back into the area.

Photo Sourced from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/47051377@N00/4733770719

Coastal Ecosystems

Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment as they support species during impressionable life stages and encourage biological diversity. Marshes, tide pools, and inlets are habitats used for roosting, nesting and feeding and can offer animals refuge during dangerous weather conditions. The open water estuaries of Malibu Lagoon form an ideal nursery for young fish—including the threatened steelhead trout— while nearby tide pools house a bevy of species.Wetlands form corridor habitats that support the migration of birds and marine mammals. Each year, the marshes attract more than 200 migrating birds while the chaparral surrounding the area provide homes for rodents, mountain lions, deer, and coyote.

Back in the Classroom  

Each of the third grade classes was eager to show off their knowledge of the Malibu Lagoon.  After a short Q&A, Anastasia Ponnet’s class (Photographed below) received scientific participation medals for completing assignments based on their experience at the wetlands.

Visiting Ms. Carole Hakak’s class came next on the agenda and they listened as Alex Havasi gave a short, interactive presentation, obtaining responses from several students who described what they saw during their time in Malibu.

Pencil drawings provided to HWF by the student scientists at Brentwood Magnet depict some of the wildlife and plants found in the lagoon, its tide pools, and the surrounding oceans. 

The Havasi Wilderness Foundation would like to offer our congratulations to all students who handed in completed assignments. We wish you and your teachers an enjoyable summer and hope that you will visit the Pacific Ocean again to share the experience with your family and friends. Visit our website to learn more about animals and plants and try your hand at our educational games. Remember that the best way to learn is to GET OUTSIDE AND EXPLORE YOUR WORLD!

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