Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Missing the Lagoon!

Buen Dia!

I must say that while I am traveling and enjoying my time here in an amazing area, reading Ambers post definitely makes me a little home sick. I feel like I am missing out on some great things that are happening at home. Thank you Amber for painting a wonderful picture of not only your own thoughts and feelings but informing everyone about the meeting and ice plant removal that took place. You did a great job!

I can´t believe that the ice plant is almost gone, that is so amazing and exciting! That means we can continue planting those native species and our Community based restoration can keep moving forward. Exciting!!

I just wanted to post a few quick pictures of Glacier National Park here in Argentina. Hanging out and trekking over two miles onto a glacier was a very unique experience. This particular glacier can grow up to 3meters a day, so it is constantly changing. You can literally hear this massive mile wide, three hundred foot deep glacier shift under your feet, its very surreal! While hiking the wind was blowing SO hard with gust up to 60mph. The temperature was well below freezing with the wind chill. I had more layers on then ever before!

The South face of the GlacierThis is a pool in the middle of the glacier. There is constantly water running on top of, inside and all around the glacier and they carve all sorts of shapes out of this 80yr old ice. One of the guides hiked to this peak to get a better shot of the pool.

I am currently in El Calefate and tonight I will travel to El Chalten ( where I will stay for the next three days. Plans of trekking to more glacier and peaks are in the works.

I miss my mornings at the Lagoon!

With many smiles,


Monday, March 16, 2009

The Big Picture: Save Colorado Lagoon

The evil Carpobrotus edulis was no match for FOCL volunteers this Sunday.

“You’re going down Ice Plant!”

I say this every time I come out to a FOCL Ice Plant Removal. And this time it looks like the Colorado Lagoon is just about free of the invasive species. There are small piles of it left, decomposing into a dark black and slimy mush. But we’ll be back to finish it off.

Good riddance!

There were 17(as I remember, but correct me if I’m wrong) of us and everyone did an amazing job. Piles and piles of Ice Plant and other debris were removed (we weren’t actually pulling anything, just throwing it all in a trash truck to be smashed up!) And it was tons of work! I was amazed at how much we accomplished. There was great teamwork and plenty of enthusiasm to keep the event upbeat and fun! It was a tough job, but everyone enjoyed themselves. There was music and laughter all around us.

It was beautiful.

At the park near the WAMSEC shack, a large group of people were out and enjoying the weather. It looked like a family celebrating (maybe a birthday) with food and playing soccer. A loose ball bounced towards me and I kicked it back. They were having so much fun.

And so was I.

To be a part of purging Colorado Lagoon of such a destructive plant is something special. I have to admit, I came to the event in the worst mood. I had an awful weekend and I was just looking for an escape. To be away from the stress and worries in my life. I wanted to look beyond myself. To look at the bigger picture. And for me, the bigger picture is saving Colorado Lagoon.

It is one of Long Beach’s greatest treasures. Who wouldn’t want to save it?

Well, not everyone does. It’s not my place to say that some community members are against saving the lagoon, but they are in disagreement on a crucial part of Phase II of the lagoon’s restoration project. And these people aren’t afraid to voice that disagreement (even if it breaks the “rules” of meeting etiquette).

The city of Long Beach hosted a community meeting at Lowell Elementary last Thursday and a lot of supporters came out. Individual members gave wonderful speeches on the lagoon and its impact on their own lives as well as the community as a whole. The amount of support and love for this wetland made me understand how precious the lagoon truly is.

Our own Taylor Parker voiced his opinion. As the last comment, he summarized all the great educational opportunities the lagoon provides for local schools.

Colorado Lagoon is a priceless learning tool.

Just last Tuesday at our second TIDE meeting, Cris walked us through some history in Native American Ethnobotany. We discovered the importance of some of the native plants and the roles they played in the traditions of the Tongva tribe. There is so much to learn! And many educators (some present at the meeting) recognize the opportunities the lagoon provides for their students.

The meeting offered the public an opportunity to learn about, and comment on, alternatives for restoring circulation to Colorado Lagoon (Phase II of the restoration). The preferred alternative (according to the Environmental Impact Report) is restoring the original Open Tidal Creek between the lagoon and Alamitos Bay. It is expected to bring permanent and full tidal circulation to the lagoon. This is crucial to the overall restoration (including the flow of clean water). And as some supporters noted in the meeting, this open channel will enhance the aesthetic beauty of Marina Vista Park and the community.

But for those in opposition, major concerns are safety and the disruption of sports/recreational activities.

Again, it’s not my place to say who is right or wrong, but I do feel like people aren’t listening to the benefits. They won’t look outside themselves and see what a great opportunity this is. To restore what man ultimately destroyed. To protect a Long Beach treasure.

There is plenty of room in the park to create field space for sports like soccer. And as for safety, the Colorado Lagoon is threatened by contaminated water, trash and other issues. These are the greatest dangers. By restoring the lagoon we can make it a safe place for people to come swim. Who wouldn’t want that?

Overall the meeting felt like a heated debate. I was disappointed that a lot of discussion was lost to complaints about email listings and other side-tracked issues. The agenda was practically spelled out for everyone. All they needed to do was be patient and listen.

But some of us turned our frustration into a positive force for change. We were all pumped on Sunday. Our passion and excitement for restoration fueled us in an unbelievable way. We were energized and ready to clean up our wetland!

I had an amazing time. My mood was lifted, tangled in tree branches and covered in wet Ice Plant. Carrying giant loads of it to the trash compactor; I smiled as it swallowed it all up. And as time progressed, I found myself sunk deep in the black decomposing mush and loving every minute of it. Knowing we were piles closer to restoring our piece of Long Beach.

-Amber Parker

*Pictures taken by Amber for Ice Plant removal. For fun, Can anyone tell me the scientific name of the birds in the pics?

Also, be sure to look out for a FOCL Facebook group. It should be up soon!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

¡Ushuaia- The Bottom of the Earth!

Buen Dia!!!

I am currently in Ushuaia, the southern most town in the world. Its at the very tip of south america. The Andes mountains are unlike anything i have ever seen before. They rise up from the ocean not as rolling hills or mountain tops but as jagged, snow capped peaks. They are magnificant in their stature and beauty, just beckoning a mountaineer. However these peaks are not to be taken lightly as it would be a serious climb, even for an experienced climber. They didn´t teach me this kind of climbing at REI?! The community (tourists driven) is very friendly and its surreal to think that I´m on the bottom of the earth (as it sits on its axis). It only took us 56hrs to get here from LA and my butt hurts to say the least.

I am traveling with a good friend of mine Alicia and yesterday we visited Penguin Island. It is the island where Magellen penguins nest each year. Hundreds of them fill the beach and surrounding brush where they breed and live. Tonight we travel North to El Calefate which deep in the Andes Mtns where we will stay for several days. Tomorrow we are going glacier hiking which should prove to be quite the experience. And then it is on to El Chalten, home of Mount Fitz Roy, a world famous peak.

I miss the Lagoon and have even met marine biologists also traveling who have heard of the Wetlands in Long Beach. I tried to convince them they should come check out our wonderful Lagoon but they said something about going to the Faulkland islands, whatever :)



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lagoon Report for Wednesday March 11th


As I woke up this morning, bright and early I came to realization that I was pretty tired and needed a good cup of coffee. So as I do every Wednesday I picked Taylor up and we went for a cup. I stopped and looked at the clouds before entering the coffee house and it reminded me of a dog that I had when I was young. The thought was so overwhelming that it brought a single tear to my eye....I loved that dog....well anyway, I got my coffee (with a little cream and sugar)and chatted the morning away with Taylor....

ANYWAY, I actually did do all that this morning (except for the tear part) and I wanted to share that with all of you. I'm in very high spirits as I prepare to leave for the next couple weeks. Its been a few years since I've gone on a big trip and am in need of a good break. I will definitely try to post while I am away.

However, last night at our Creative Arts meeting we had several people get excited about posting on the blog. So be on the look-out for messages from Amber, Eric, Taylor, Ravuth and anyone else who is interested in expressing themselves on the blog. We are always open to people writing a story and getting the word out. Just email Taylor or myself and we'll get you set up.

Also we have a new initiative in the works and that is a bike ride we are coordinating with Long Beach A group that was formed by some individuals who see bike riding as a way of life, not just recreation. We will keep you posted on times and dates of these organized Wetland Rides. Its going to be a blast!

Take care of each other and I'll write to you all soon!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lagoon Report for Tuesday March 10th

Good morning!!!
With the time change it makes getting up and seeing the sunrise a lot easier! The Lagoon was so peaceful this morning it was wonderful. I don't usually get take photos before the sunrise so it was a nice treat. I'm posting a few shots because I can't keep them to myself. Enjoy!

A lovely Snow Egert hanging out on the waters edge.

Tonight we have our TIDE and Creative Arts meetings starting at 6pm at the WAMSEC building. Even if you don't know anyone when you show up, you will leave with new friends! Come on down!

Take care of each other.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Lagoon report for Monday March 9th

Hello Hello

I trust that everyone has made it through the time change OK. I know it was tough for me to get out of bed this morning. Then when I got to my car, I had a flat so I had to get that fixed. Which is why the report is a little late today.

Anyway, I drove up 6th street and caught the North Arm of the Lagoon. Definitely more quiet on this end as it doesn't have a busy street running next to it. The morning was nice with the sun bursting through the clouds, not too chilly but just right!

On Thursday of this week I will be leaving the country as I travel down to the Patagonia region of South America. And if any of you are like I me and don't know where Patagonia is, that's OK because I didn't either when my friend asked me to go. Patagonia is the southern portion of S. America and includes Chile and Argentina. It is where the Andes Mountains are located. So on Thursday I will begin a 56hr trek down to the most southern town in the world, Ushuaia. It is the closest town to Antarctica and the beginning of my two week trip. I'll be trekking to three different towns, one of which is a little backpackers town near the world famous rock Fitz Roy. check out I'll be doing some rock climbing, glacier hiking, hanging out with penguins and other activities found in this amazing natural surrounding.

I am very excited to say the least. I am going to be bring my little digital point and shoot and I'll do my best to make a couple of posts on the blog while I travel. Meanwhile, Amber Parker who is a journalist student at CSULB and wrote a wonderful piece for the blog last month is taking over while I'm gone. I have full faith in her ability to document the Lagoon and present that to you in a new and different way than I have over the last month and half. So be sure to encourage her as she undertakes this awesome task. Thanks Amber!!!

Also tomorrow night there is a TIDE meeting starting at 6pm and a Creative Arts meeting immediately following that. Come on down, check our programs out and see if you want to get involved. It's a lot of fun!!!

Be sure to smile!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Lagoon Report for FRIDAY March 6th

Happy Friday!!!

It was a GORGEOUS morning as I ventured to the East end of the Lagoon. There was a lot of wildlife enjoying the morning sun, feeding and bathing. I was lucky enough to capture this beautiful bird just hanging out watching over the rest of the birds. I don't know the name of it but it is definitely great. He or she let me get pretty close before taking off but I was prepared and set my camera to shoot really fast and got 'em taking flight. Check it out below...

Look at the precision of the wings to the water....Perfect!

So eloquent in their own way. Just going about life in this beautiful Estuary.

And then some good 'ol Mud Peckers!

Its a beautiful day after a week of some rain and clouds. Get outside this weekend and enjoy your surroundings. There is the Save our Science program at Fremont Elementary with all sorts of FUN activities including: Aquarium on Wheels with touch tanks, Telescopes at Twilight, Music and Dancing all a lot of Great people. There will also be food available for purchase. Bring the whole Family!
That is taking place Saturday from 4-6pm at Fremont Elementary on the corner of 4th and Termino

Come on down and help support the children of our community and programs that help shape their education about science.

Also, Monday mornings there are Trash Clean-ups starting at 9am. Come help keep the Lagoon beautiful for us all to enjoy. Meet at the WAMSEC building (the one with the mural)

Then on Tuesday night starting 6pm we have another installment of our TIDE program that everyone is welcome to come and learn about the plants and marsh of the Lagoon. Immediately following that is our Creative Arts meeting where we will be making signs and discussing upcoming events. We wont keep you too late...I have an early bedtime.

Lots of places and activities to be involved with the Lagoon...
Choose Your Own Adventure!

Have a wonderful weekend and I will see you on the flip side!

Many Smiles,


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lagoon Report for Thursday March 5th


I was in a rush this morning but I stopped at the corner by the fire station to get some shots of the ducks and these little guys did not disappoint!

The Sky has cleared and it felt clean and crisp this morning, it was wonderful.
The weekend weather is looking pretty good. Probably a good time to get down to the Lagoon and explore on your own.
Choose your own adventure, get outside and get active!

I love the color of the water early in the morning on this end of the Lagoon. The deep blue is so beautiful and it seems to be a little hideaway for the ducks.

Its a great day to be thankful...


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lagoon Report for Wednesday March 3rd

Buenos Dias!!

It started to rain this morning! It was so lovely as the rain just calmly and peacefully started falling and watering the earth, awesome! I didn't venture far from the car this morning for the picture because I didn't want my camera to get too wet. I haven't photographed this part of the Lagoon very often so I thought I would try it out. This is looking towards Park avenue and the golf course and you can see the tractor treads in the sand. All the mallards and other forms of wildlife were just doing their thing in the water, I guess unlike us humans (Californians) they don't freak out about water falling out of the sky!

....Ahhhhh Its raining, cover your water bottles!!!

Anyway, its going to be a good day and once we make it through today the rest of the week is downhill. Its the perfect kind weather to sit at home with some hot chocolate and a book. Unfortunately for a lot of us...we are at work.

In the midst of so much going on in the world...

Stay up and Smile!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lagoon Report for Tuesday March 3rd


First off, I apologize for no Lagoon report yesterday. I did not go into work so the Lagoon report did not happen. But here I am back today with a shot from Marina Vista Park. I love this corner so much and it always provides a great sky scape. These clouds came in Sunday and have been lingering ever since. What I love about this type of storm system is there are various elevations of clouds and the light obviously strikes them differently. You can watch them move across the sky, its great!

There are a few events this week happening down at the Lagoon. There are some schools who are coming to check things out as part of our School-year education program. On Saturday Fremont Elementary is having an event to bring awareness and support to their Science Program. There will be all sorts of interactive activities set up for people of all ages. Come down and hang out. That is from 4-6pm on Saturday!

I wanted to say a quick Thank you to Taylor for helping me out with my photography show reception on Saturday night! It was a great time had by all and everything went on without a hitch.

Have a great Tuesday!