Sunday, October 25, 2009

A bit of tidying at the nature center

On Saturday, members of the Whittier Narrows Nature Center Associates took the bull by the horns and cleaned and tidied the nature center gift shop.

It wasn't spring cleaning, but fall cleaning. Which makes sense since fall and winter are the height of bird activity at Whittier Narrows.

The project was the idea of Associate Jessica Nava, who led the effort that involved about half a dozen volunteers and staff.

There are some very nice items in the gift shop: a good selection of books, some wonderful nature photographs, naturalist equipment for kids, and small items to serve as mementos of a visit to the Whittier Narrows wildlife sanctuary.

There are a number of nature walks offered each month by the Associates, the staff and now the Whittier Area Audubon Society.

Plan a visit or just drop in for some peace among the wildlife.
More photos at

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rescue Dog Association at the Natural Area

I stopped by the Whittier Narrows Natural Area this morning and found the parking lot full of SUVs, people in khaki and lots of dogs.

Turns out the all-volunteer California Rescue Dog Association, or CARDA, was holding a training session there.

A member told me they had 12 - 14 members present and an equal number of dogs. Lots of German shepherds and Labrador retrievers, if I remember correctly.

He told me they trained their dogs for open area searches, trailing and cadaver searches in various environments and settings.

I asked whether they'd had any involvement in the post-Katrina rescue and recovery efforts, and he said members had traveled to the Gulf area, with one staying out there four weeks.

I mentioned my own interest in the Natural Area, told him there were plans to build a big water museum and conference center.

His reaction?

"There's too much concrete already," he said, "and too little open space.

"That's why kids want to stay indoors and play video games. Their only chance to see nature is when playing with their Wii."
Photo: California Rescue Dog Association.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Whittier Narrows named best educational hike

The secret's out: the LA Weekly just named the Whittier Narrows Natural Area best educational hike.

The Natural Area appears in the Weekly's current "Best of LA" issue.

Todd Kraining writes that "deep inside the sanctuary, the solitude of the desert can be a liberating experience." But he also says that, "With all the paw prints pressed into the sand around you, you have the feeling of never quite being alone."

Krainin also mentions the transmission towers, power lines and billboards that mark the Natural Area as being part of an urban landscape. Yet, he writes, "this is a quiet, relaxing place, completely free of charge. That much, at least, is the way nature’s supposed to be."

Photo: Preschoolers from the Nueva Maravilla Child Development Center in Los Angeles on a visit to the Whittier Narrows Natural Area on April 1, 2009. (Photo by Lou Orr)