A Memorable Day in the Santa Monica Mountains

Today was my first full day with the Student Conservation Association, and already I know this will be a memorable experience. I traveled from Atlanta, with a layover flight in Las Vegas, then to Burbank, CA. At the Burbank airport I was greeted by jovial and enthusiastic participants, project leader, and staff. We traveled from the airport to the Santa Monica Mountains where we will be camping out, greeted by the beautiful sunrise every morning. Tents were already set up. While waiting for dinner from our amazing cook (Halle) we delved into our first few games. Before you knew it, we were headed to our tents, cold and shivering trying to rest in the night’s low temperatures.

This morning we woke up, with freezing hands and feet, but still managed to get breakfast and prepare for our first full day. After breakfast we started our day with a few icebreakers just to get to know one another a bit more. A great way to get our bodies warmed and ready after a cold night’s rest. We then packed and prepared to travel to Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Upon our arrival we were greeted by members from the California National Park Service, and other workers who had been planning to revitalize the beach for twenty years. I actively listened along with my fellow SCA members as we learned about native plants, invasive plants, and the work that was taking place on the beach.

After getting up to speed, gloves went on and we started our work. We were asked to help remove the invasive plants (non-native plants that don’t belong). As a team we eagerly tackled the job with hand tools to help pull roots, and a basket to hold the uprooted invasives. It is important to remove those plants, because they take space away from the native plants. It was interesting because we were able to see firsthand the steps the park staffers made after 20 years of planning.

I was thrilled to see the impact of our work on Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Look OUT! More to COME!