Featuring new publications, Earth Month events, and more!
Featuring new publications, Earth Month events, and more!
Center for Urban Resilience | Loyola Marymount University

Featured in this Newsletter: 

Bird LA Day

The 6th annual Bird LA Day was May 4! CURes partnered with the Friends of Ballona Wetlands to do a family bird walk, a native garden workshop, and plant sale, along with kids arts and crafts.
LMU student David Ramirez, (pictured below), volunteered his time to help CURes and Friends of Ballona Wetlands offer a fantastic Bird LA Day event at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh in Playa Vista. Adults, parents, and children went on a bird walk to start the day at the Ballona Freshwater Marsh, led by CURes Fellow Lisa Fimiani.  Later in the morning, they and other visitors were treated to a Grow Native tutorial by Neysa Frechette, Manager of Scientific Programs for the Friends, where folks got to pot and take home there own native plants.  Other arts and crafts projects were also available for the kids to help the birds and bees.
Events - such as bird walks and counts, bird yoga, LA Zoo bird tours, and bird painting workshops - will take place across the city. View all of the events

Saying good-bye to Emily

CURes research fellow and dear friend, Emily Simso, left CURes on Friday, May 3rd to take on an internship at Cartica, a sustainable investment firm in Washington D.C. You can read all about Emily's time at CURes and many contributions here. 

Presentation with TreePeople

On April 12, Dr. Michele Romolini and Dr. Eric Strauss (CURes), along with their collaborators from TreePeople, SavATree, and the University of Vermont, presented the results from their high-resolution LA County tree canopy assessment. The data shows the spatial distribution of trees in LA and can be used to identify urban greening priority areas, address climate change impacts, and lessen environmental inequities. 

Salt in My Soul Book Talk

On April 8, Diane Shader Smith presented "Salt in My Soul," written by her daughter, Mallory Smith, who passed away from cystic fibrosis at the age of 25. Diane shared Mallory's story, not only of her disease, but how she advocated for institutional healthcare reform. The inspiring talk raised bioethical issues surrounding long-term care, pain management, doctor-patient relationships, and the emotional wellbeing of those affected by chronic disease. You can learn more about "Salt in My Soul" and purchase the book here - all proceeds go towards cystic fibrosis research. Read the CURes blog about the Salt in My Soul event here.

Earth Month Highlights

Earth Day at the Ballona Wetlands

LMU student Reilly Grzywacz and LMU Graduate Mia Mummert participated in the Friends of Ballona Wetlands Earth Day Celebration in the Ballona Wetlands Saltmarsh and Dunes, Saturday, April 26, volunteering their time to a worthy cause!  Non-native plants were removed to make room for native California plants to grow and thrive. Now, if that isn’t an example of resiliency, I don’t know what is!

LMU Daycare Tours the LMU Garden

It’s never too early to take tots through the garden!  On Thursday, April 24, children from LMU’s Daycare toured the LMU Garden for a fun morning outing to literally learn about the birds and the bees and smell the sages.

Ballona Freshawater Marsh Bird Survey

Dr. Kristen Covino, LMU Biology, and her student David Ramirez, participated in the monthly Bird Survey of the Ballona Freshwater Marsh, led by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands.  Tree Swallows were seen filling nest boxes with bedding for their babies!  It’s always a lively time at the Marsh – especially in the Spring!

Migration Celebration

The CURes team had a great time at the third annual Migration Celebration on April 6, organized by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands! 

CURes had a station with several tables supporting a “Hummingbird” theme.  Materials included: coloring sheets, activity pages, and stickers for the younger visitors, hummingbird informational pamphlets and other handouts for adults. Children participated in a scavenger hunt and came to the CURes Hummingbird Table #2 on the hunt to find out facts about hummingbirds. Did you know that a hummingbird’s egg is as small as a jellybean? How about that a hummingbird has such a fast metabolism that they must eat the equivalent in nectar and insects as 300 hamburgers?!

Other education materials on display at the CURes hummingbird station were various undergraduate research posters highlighting hummingbird research conducted by CURes Lab students, including hummingbird nest distribution, resource depletion rates, female hummingbird attendance at the nest, and hummingbird torpor in nesting female hummingbirds. Other education materials included a packet containing high school hummingbird supplemental curricula from Urban EcoLab Module 13, Lesson 1: Hummingbird Ecology. Funded by the Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG), these education materials can be used in conjunction with our CURes LIVE Bird Cams.

Additionally, Lisa Fimiani (CURes Gottlieb Environmental Leadership Fellow) led a bird walk of the Ballona Freshwater Marsh and co-led a Grow Native booth with native plants for sale, as well as information on local species and how to best care for them.

LMU Center for Ignation Spirituality BDP Tour

On April 5, Dr. Eric Strauss and Lisa Fimiani (CURes) partnered with the LMU Center for Ignatian Spirituality to lead a tour of Ballona Discovery Park. Father Randy Roche organized the event, which takes place annually.

Spotlight on American Crow & Least Tern Project

CURes has been tasked to assist with an important conservation project … conditioning American crows Corvus brachyrhyncos NOT to eat Least tern Sternula antillarum eggs at a protected nesting site in Venice Beach, CA. As part of an ongoing mitigation and conservation effort, CURes Senior Scientist, Dr. Pete Auger and staff and students have been working diligently since the latter part of 2018 and thru the Spring of 2019 to first determine how many crows are in the area of the Least tern protected enclosure, and how many are resident vs. transient crows. As of April 30th, preliminary indications are that the terns have arrived back from migration but have not yet begun to establish nests. Courtship is the first step and then nesting may take place. This is the critical period for success. If crows can be kept out of the enclosure and the terns can be attracted in, nesting just may take place.

2018-19 Environmental Lecture Series

Thanks to everyone who came out to the final lecture in the 2018-19 Environmental Lecture Series! Dr. Jeremy Pal and Dr. John Dorsey (LMU Civil Engineering and Environmental Science) presented on climate change risks, adaptations in Southern California, and projections for future impacts.
Stay tuned for the 2019-20 Environmental Lecture Series calendar!

Green LMU Partnerships

DominoOne allows students to prioritize the environmental issues they think are important, and then vote on what changes they think should be made. The hope is that Green LMU can then use the student voice to implement change at the university level.

Restorative Justice Updates

Interested in receiving RJ talking points, news articles, events, and more - all in one newsletter? Sign up for the LMU Restorative Practices Newsletter by emailing CURes@lmu.edu! Newsletters are sent every couple months.
View past newsletters here. And make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Education Corner

Education Corner

Spotlight on Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are amazing marvels of nature!  Did you know that they are the smallest bird and the only bird that can hover and fly backwards and upside down?! They are called “extremophiles” for good reason! They can withstand many kinds of extremes – from extreme cold and heat, to lowering their body temperature at night to a state called “torpor," a suspended state of shallow hibernation which allows them to conserve energy.  Hummingbirds are so interesting and fascinating, that CURes has continued to expand on its hummingbird education research component by creating a Hummingbird Ecology Lesson as part of the free, on-line access Urban EcoLab curricula. It can be found in Module 13: Birds in the Urban Landscape.

Funded by a grant from the Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG), this Lesson can be used by high school teachers as supplemental curriculum to introduce students to this miniature marvel, the hummingbird. Students will get the opportunity to investigate topics including but not limited to resource depletion rates, feeder visitation rates, and species identification and composition. The Lesson activities include a picture walk, hummingbird videos, research, and scientific research design. The core of the Lesson focuses on providing students access to Live Internet Protocol (IP) cameras linked to the CURes website, whereby students can watch hummingbirds visiting feeders in four (4) locales around the country:
  • LMU Research Annex, Los Angeles, CA
  • Private residence, Burbank, CA
  • Gottlieb Native Garden (GNG), Beverly Hills, CA
  • Private residence, Cape Cod, MA
A myriad of great scientific research questions (must be testable & measurable) could be asked by students, including but not limited to:
  • How does the species composition vary from one feeder to another?
  • What is the rate of inter-species aggression at one feeder compared to another?
  • How many hummingbirds seemed to “tolerate” other hummingbirds at one feeding location vs. another?
  • What is the depletion rate of sugar-water solution at one feeder vs. another?
  • How does the time of day impact visitation rates to one or more feeders?
Teachers can peruse all the current CURes Urban EcoLab Curricula. Modules 1-8 teach foundational urban ecology concepts and Modules 9-13 focus on expanded topics including the Human-Animal Bond (Module 9), Garden Ecology (Module 10), Bird Migration (Module 11), Human-Animal Interactions (Module 12), and Birds in the Urban Landscape (Module 13).  

The CURes Urban EcoLab curricula is free, on-line access, and can be used in part or in whole, based on specific instructional needs. CURes staff is also available to conduct professional development workshops for educators, to help facilitate the implementation of the Urban EcoLab curricula. Any questions may be directed to Maria Curley, CURes Education Specialist, at Maria.Curley@lmu.edu.
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