The Egret Corner
May 2021 | Issue 11
A close-up, top view of a cluster of bird's nest fungi, at their various life stages and their stone-shaped peridioles - a protective sac containing mushroom spores.
Location: Greater Ballona Ecosystem
Photo: Jonathan Coffin, edited by Lisa Rachal.
Dear Ballona Wetlands Advocates,

Welcome back!

In this month's newsletter, we are focusing on soil ecology! Learn about the fun-guys in the ground. Meet ecologist Bala Chaudhary, discover a step-by-step way to make your own mycorrhiza fungal inoculum, read about an up-and-rising local environmental hero from Westchester, lastly, find out what little but feisty bird is the bird for this month.

We continue to offer our environmental virtual classes for 1st to 5th graders. If you know of a group or class that may be interested in our virtual class, please feel free to contact or fill out this form.

Please enjoy the rest of the newsletter, for previous issues visit our newsletter archive. If you have any questions or concerns email

Thank you for your ongoing support.


The Ballona Wetlands Team
Diversity in the Field: Presenting Bala Chaudhary
Meet Dr. Bala Chaudhary, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Studies at DePaul University. Her research focuses on plant-soil-microbial ecology. In addition to her research, she works to improve racial equality in environmental science fields.

Check out her most recent interview with NEON(National Ecological Observatory Network)
In this segment, we aim to showcase people of color or organizations in outdoor and STEM fields working to improve the environment and/or people's access to natural spaces.
Fun DYI: Make your own mycorrhiza fungal inoculum
About 80% of all plants—even your potted plants at home—have a symbiosis with one type of helper fungi, called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. You can keep your plants healthy by making your own arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal inoculum (Figure 3)....

Bird of the Month: House Wren
Interesting Facts
House Wren nest in inside tree holes or nest boxes which can become infested with mites and other parasites that feed on their young. Researchers have found wrens often add spider sacs to their nest, those spiders then eat the nest parasites thus resolving the problem.
Habitat - the majority of North America, where trees, shrubs, or pilings are present

Diet - insects, spiders, and the occasional snail shell

Nesting - inside tree holes, natural crevices, nest boxes, or man-made discards like old tins, boxes, shoes, etc.
Photo: Anay Tarnekar
Facts from
*Birds featured here have been seen at the Ballona Reserve or in the surrounding area.
Ballona in the News
News items related to the Ballona Wetlands
do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust.
Westchester youth helping the planet, protecting important habitat
Justin Sather is an environmental activist who works tirelessly to save endangered frogs, protect the rainforest and reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. In just under five years, he’s raised nearly $25,000 to save the planet. And he’s only 10 years old...

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The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust is a non-profit community organization
dedicated to advocating for the greater Ballona Wetlands ecosystem and to facilitating access to this ecosystem for education, stewardship, and public outreach.