The Egret Corner
October 2021 | Issue 16
Description: At first glance, this may look like a happy muffin but in fact, it's Araneus gemma. A. gemma is commonly known as the cat-faced spider; it's harmless to humans and great at catching insects in the garden and around the house.
Location: Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, Eucalyptus Grove
Photo: Jonathan Coffin, edited by Lisa Rachal.
Dear Ballona Wetlands Advocates,

This October we have two spooky creatures you can see at the Ballona Reserve, an inspiring space engineer, and two examples of how the United States is working to improve relationships with Indigenous tribes.

Project Updates:

  • Our fish brochure has been printed! We will be distributing them at local events and at pop-ups along Ballona Creek, you can also view our digital version here on our website.

  • Currently, we have Zoom nature classes lined up for a series of elementary students. If you know a class or group that would be interested, please feel free to contact or fill out this form.

Enjoy the rest of the newsletter. For previous issues, please visit our newsletter archive. If you have any questions or concerns email Lastly, please give us feedback by completing our newsletter survey.

Thank you for your ongoing support.


The Ballona Wetlands Team
Diversity in the Field: Presenting Sandra Cauffman
In this segment, we aim to support diversity by showcasing people currently underrepresented in STEM(science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, working to improve the environment and/or people's access to natural spaces. We hope to provide representation for people who might not see themselves in these fields and inspire ways to be more inclusive.
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we'd like to recognize Sandra Cauffman, NASA's Earth Science Deputy Director. As the director, she oversees and manages NASA's entire Earth Science portfolio, from technology development to missions and operations.

Her work helps society better understand our planet through analysis of Earth's greater systems from afar, and research of other planets to better understand our own planet.

Cauffman's journey from a low-income household in Costa Rica to Director for NASA is inspiring to say the least. Listen to her TedTalk to hear her journey to the stars.

Patrick’s Point State Park returned to Yurok name ‘Sue-meg’
Patrick's Point State Park in Humbolt County was renamed Sue-meg on September 30, 2021, marking a historical moment as the first CA state park to be renamed.

“...Sue-meg, is home to the Yurok people, it’s within our ancestral territory,[...] This place is named after an individual who harmed the Yurok. That can’t be OK for the Yurok. That can’t be OK for the state of California.”

Local News
Eleanor Osgood
Bird watchers, gardeners, family, and neighbors all joined to celebrate the life of Eleanor Osgood this past Sunday at the Stoneview Nature Center, one of many natural areas where Eleanor donated her time and knowledge...

L.A. moves to make amends to Indigenous people
Standing with Morales and other tribal leaders on Indigenous Peoples Day, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans Monday to rename Father Serra Park in downtown Los Angeles — one of several policy initiatives intended to right historical wrongs and rectify the city’s relationship with its Indigenous people...

Bird of the Month: Turkey Vulture
Birds featured here have been seen at the Ballona Reserve or in the surrounding area.
Interesting Facts
The Turkey Vulture is known for its red bald head that starkly contrasts against its dark brown feathers. But by having no feathers around their face, they can stay cleaner after diving headfirst into fresh carrion.
Habitat: open areas in most of North America to northern Central America

Diet: carrion, freshly dead animals

Nesting: vacant, hallowed areas e.g. caves, abandoned buildings, fallen trees; far from humans
Facts from
Photo: Anay Tarnekar
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Contributions collected are used to advance our efforts to advocate for the greater Ballona Wetlands ecosystem. Any contributions are greatly appreciated.
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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.