Monday, April 27, 2009

FOCL celebrates Earth Day: Econversations, Trash Clean-Up, Native Planting and yum yum Veggie BBQ

To kick off the weekend, FOCL hosted its 3rd annual Earth Day Celebration. The party started on Friday April 24th and ended Saturday afternoon with the BEST Vegetarian Barbecue I've ever had–thanks to our volunteer cooks for the day, the food was fabulous!
Friday's festivities were something special. Lagoon lovers gathered around a bonfire to listen to three of the night's FOCL speakers, each taking us through an educational journey in honor of our little wetland. And while we listened, we grubbed on snacks and hot chocolate (Yummy!). Eric made a great host that night, he was so excited. I loved his introduction and transitions into each presenter.
Tim, FOCL's awesome Creative Arts facilitator (and creator of this lovely blog), gave the audience a visual taste of Mornings at the Lagoon, which highlighted some of the wetland's most breathtaking moments. Tim's photos were brilliant and the presentation was calming. For a moment I could forget the stress of school/work and just sit back and relax to photos of birds and plants ( and a little taste of Tim's acoustic skills–he strummed a soothing tune on his guitar). One of Tim's slides described the efforts of FOCL: Together-All hard work leads to beautiful things. Ain't that the truth! Another favorite section of mine was the slides following the category, What's under da Sea? (Tim's titles were fun!). Eric chimed in with a little information on plankton and also corrected Tim's pronunciation of "Fouling," which I thought was funny (It's okay Tim, I've pronounced it wrong too!). In the section on WAMSEC and Friends, he described the purpose of it all as a way to "laugh and enjoy nature and get the community involved." He ended his presentation with a "softer look at the lagoon,"showing some black and white photos (while he played music in the background). Summer's approaching quickly, which reminded me of FOCL's A Night of Art and Music, the next big event that all you FOCLers should look forward to. The dates are the 19th and 20th (of which month I cannot remember! Sorry guys, but someone will post that up soon).

Next, Eric made another short and sweet speech, this time going over FOCL's beginnings. The organization has been doing what they do since 1999. Since this September, about 2,232 community service hours have been calculated from an amazing 980 volunteers who have come out to help restore the lagoon. Eric said that "a lot of this (is) made possible through friends." Our friendships are still growing and expanding. I expect the number of volunteers (and hours) to grow as more and more people of all ages start to sprout up at the lagoon! I was impressed by the age range in volunteers, kids as young as five years old come out to pull ice plants and clean up trash. Some of FOCLs senior volunteers are just as strong as the youth! Go volunteers!
The next presentation was given by our own project manager and FOCL board member (and Graduate student in geography), Adrienne Bosler. By the way, Eric made a hilarious (at least to me) joke and imitation of a raptor, I was totally cracking up! I thought it was a great transition into Adrienne's slide show on Raptors in Wetlands. I learned about so many different types of birds. The kids in the audience enjoyed Adrienne's presentation, they asked a lot of good questions.
The final econversation was given by Dr. Christine Whitcraft, CSULB Wetlands Professor and FOCL board member. Christine told us about What's for Dinner at Colorado Lagoon? And all the choices sounded so tasty (mmm bacteria and seagrass!) that I headed over to the snack area to munch on some fruit and veggies.
But the greatest show of the night was, of course, the Colorado Lagoon itself. It was absolutely stunning. The water shimmered while birds glided across it like tiny shadows.

Saturday began with a bang. People showed up ready to clean up the Lagoon. We collected 20 bags of trash weighing in at 36 lbs. Great job guys! If anyone was more excited than Eric, it was the kids. They were excited about spending their morning digging up holes for the Native Planting and diving into FOCL's education display. Although the Ladderball Tournament never happened, the kids loved playing it between activities. Next time the competition should be pretty heated now that everyones' had some practice. (I've yet to play the game, but it looks like tons of fun!).
Newlyweds, Allyson and Andy (sorry if I spelled your names incorrectly) spent their "honeymoon" at the lagoon, having just been married the night before. I spent the duration of the planting talking to the adorable and enthusiastic couple. Andy was a "digging machine" that day, Allyson and I could hardly keep up with filling each hole with plants. It happened so quickly! And now there are lots of beautiful little plants around the concrete path leading from the WAMSEC, and wrapping around the sand and playground of the lagoon. Everyone who helped should feel extremely
proud for making this past weekend a successful celebration of our wetland. Thank you guys!

We missed you this weekend Taylor, I hope you had as much fun in Hawaii as we all had at the lagoon!

Oh, and please check out the article in The District Weekly, it is phenomenal:
Take care and enjoy the rest of the week! –Amber :)

Here's some pictures from the weekend!

Enjoy :)


  1. Amber- You have once again done an excellent job reporting on the great things going on at the Lagoon! I alwasy enjoy reading your pieces.

    Earth Day weekend was a great one indeed. There were a lot of smiles and laughs thats for sure!

    Thank you!

  2. I visited my daughter who lives on E. Colorado St. (is that right?) and I immediately noticed the lagoon and asked her about it. She knew NOTHING. She said it was a body of stagnant water. I watched it over several days from her balcony, noticing the water level rise and fall and realized this was a "real" lagoon, connected obviously to a bigger body of water. It didn't look good to swim in but what a wonderful natural area right in the middle of Long Beach. Your pictures are great. From a Wisconsin visitor . . .