Julia Lesel
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Wildlife Blog

Articles on experience as a volunteer abroad, doing wildlife conservation projects (animals!), and to get Involved in Wildlife and Nature Conservation, Specific Resources Abroad and Los Angeles. And sharing stories of what it was like / my own experiences.

In future to include: more detailed / specific funny travel adventure stories.

How to Become a Wildlife Conservationist, Los Angeles edition

How to Become a Wildlife Conservationist, Los Angeles edition

Specific Resources on: Wildlife, Education, Field Work, Outdoorsy Stuff! Resources list

The Greater Los Angeles is more diverse for fieldwork nature spaces than you might think: from the Ballona Wetlands, to Griffith Park/Santa Monica Mountains, Tide Pools, the Great Basin, and beyond! Research and outdoor groups are active all over! They are just sometimes hard to find… So I’ve compiled a list of those I’ve learned of through my years living in LA. I have personally volunteered with almost everything on this list, so I can vouch for them.

For my international list, see article here: https://www.julialesel.com/blog/getting-involved-in-wildlife-conservation-projects-and-research

Ways to get involved in nature conservation, Specific Resources in Los Angeles:

Reaching out, browsing website, and emailing local groups and seeing what opportunities exist:

  • Audubon Society (LA, and other so-cal counties) https://www.laaudubon.org/volunteer

    • More than just bird watching!

    • They do nature walks, conservation, and you can volunteer as a docent to teach youth (inner-city education program) at the Ballona wetlands in Playa del Ray.

  • UCLA biology dept

    • Research assistantships: emailing professors and asking what grad students need support. Can build resume and find out about pursuing a career. 

    • (This is how i ended up working on bat immune system research both in lab and in the field. Camping in the great basin almond groves catching bats all night.)

    • UCLA botanical garden: volunteering in the garden.

  • The Bay Foundation: www.santamonicabay.org

    • (NOTE: NOT to be confused with “Heal the Bay” a totally different org)

    • Like gardening, but in the wild. Teams help remove invasive plant species from taking over and destroying ecosystems!

    • Can also do behind-the-scenes range of work.

  • Urban Carnivores: http://www.urbancarnivores.com/people 

    • Local research with wild bobcats, mountain lions, coyote, etc. Behavior and species health in our parks, including helping with pro-animal legislation projects (Their research data helped build a strong case which contributed to the 405 freeway animal bridge project, which lets wildlife cross safely for wider wild habitat range).

  • Friends of Ballona Wetlands: https://www.ballonafriends.org/volunteer

    • Another conservation and youth education program at the Ballona wetlands in Playa del Ray.

  • Friends of the Island Fox http://www1.islandfox.org/

    • (The only one on this list I know the least about / haven’t worked with in some capacity, but when came upon their work, I got excited that this exists.)

    • Channel Islands, off the coast, conservation projects with the rare, indigenous island fox!

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