19 February 2014
My Kind of Magic
I attended a conference in Anaheim, California, last weekend. The conference hotel sat only a block from Disneyland, and conference attendees received a special rate to visit the theme park; so of course, I headed in the opposite direction.
One of the events connected with the conference was a tour of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve at Huntington Beach, and that's where I went. The reserve protects Bolsa Chica's remaining wetlands from the development that has crept up to its doorstep.
The Bolsa Chica Conservancy works to restore the wetlands and educate the public about their features and importance. Last Saturday, I was one of the conservancy's students. Phil Smith, a member of the conservancy and an expert on the wetlands, walked the group I was in through the reserve, telling the area's story and explaining its biology.
We took in the smells of the ocean, watched for California ground squirrels, and saw plenty of birds. The birding highlights included Anna's hummingbirds, great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and some very large turkey vultures. With rows of houses in the distance, the experience was a testament to how special the work of preservation groups like the Bolsa Chica Conservancy is. To learn more about the organization and the wetlands it protects, click here.
All in all, the tour was a perfect way to ease into the conference. I'll always treasure my decision to trade the "magic" of a cartoon mouse for the wonders of wetlands.