Butterflies, birds and bobcats, oh my! These are just some of the creatures that can be found in both the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary and the San Joaquin Marsh Reserve, located on either side of Campus Drive near UCI. One site is open to the public; the other provides opportunities for academic research.
‘Oh, what is that?’ exclaims one boy. ‘Let me see,’ says another, as they crowd around the microscope. Peering at tiny crustaceans, snails and plant life, fourth graders from Escalona Elementary School in La Mirada learn about the food chain that powers life at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. Later, taxidermy specimens, bird nests and a guided tour will aid their scientific understanding of birds.
Educational tours are provided for fourth through sixth grade classes to learn about the wildlife found at the sanctuary. Naturalists trained by Trude Hurd, project director of education at the Sea and Sage Audubon Society, lead the expeditions.
‘Our goal is to protect birds and the habitat in which birds live,’ Hurd said.
UCI students can volunteer to be a naturalist by completing a trainingprogram at the preserve.