Ormond Beach Stewardship Program
Funded by an Explore the Coast Grant
Through a California Coastal Conservancy “Explore the Coast” grant, Ventura Audubon developed an outreach program in 2017. Three programs funded under this grant were the Volunteer Naturalist, Sharing our Shores and the establishment of a Student training program in partnership with the CSUCI Environmental Science and Resource Management department.
Volunteer Naturalists engage beach goers about endangered shorebirds that nest on Ormond Beach and our efforts to protect them. We train them to be “plover ambassadors” and to engage the public in a positive way. They also intercept beach goers with dogs and explain about the Ormond Beach Ordinance and hand out copies or Ventura Audubon’s “Dogs on the Beach” pamphlet. This pamphlet provides alternative beach and park locations for dog owners to bring their pets. Volunteer Naturalists either station themselves at the Ormond Beach entrance at Arnold Rd to greet the public or they walk the beach (Beach Patrols).
The Sharing the Shore program engaged 3rd graders at a local elementary school first in classroom education of snowy plovers, then brought them to the beach for immersive education. Curren Elementary School, is a Title 1 school with 90% of the students on free or reduced lunch. It has a 90% Hispanic population including migrant students and is a dual language (Spanish) program. We worked with four 3rd grade classes with a total of 110 students, one of which was full emersion Spanish speaking. We started with a classroom presentation highlighting the Snowy Plovers at Ormond beach.
We then organized a field trip in collaboration with Oxnard School District and Curren Elementary School staff. During the field trip, the Curren Students learned about birding, the web of life and dune ecology and they created Plover chicks from cotton balls which they painted to look like plover chicks.
Finally, the students were given a project to create signage to display at various places at Ormond Beach. From the 110 entries, VAS volunteers selected four drawings and created the outreach signs. The signs are currently on display at Ormond and serve to educate beach goers about snowy plovers.
VAS out like to acknowledge Kaitlyn O’Dea, Melissa Moser, Betsy Bachman, and Curren School staff for their efforts in coordinating this project.
Under Explore the Coast grant funding VAS provided training and supervision for CSCUI students enrolled in the ESRM 200 “Principles of Resource Management” class during the spring semester of 2018. The students performed 424 hours of service-learning hours on Ormond Beach between Feb and May 2018. This included 131 hours of outreach including conducting Plover Pal activities with children at the Oxnard Earth Day festival and beach patrols. Student labor contributed 180 hours towards shorebird recovery work including habitat fence repair, building predator exclosures, data managing, collecting predator observation data and cleaning the beach of trash. Student also had the opportunity to participate in 113 hours to training to learn nest monitoring.
VAS would especially like to acknowledge the California Coastal Conservancy for their generous Explore the Coast grant that funded these projects