Project Manager Blog

Below is a series of updates issued by our Project Manager on our latest conservation & stewardship initiatives, from our YES! program to Snowy Plover habitat protection. Check here for occasional updates on important chapter activities!

Jazmín: January, 2022 Update

Like many of you, I started the year doing solo hikes or with only one or two people but my favorite part of birding is sharing my walk and what I see with other people. Thankfully my solo birding trips turned into group birding mid-year and with that some of the most enjoyable sightings. When you bird in a group other people spot birds you might have been unaware of some of the highlights of this year include the pair of Great Horned Owls at Angels Gate Park, Western Meadowlark peeking through the grass at Madrona Marsh, Cactus Wren hiding in the cactus at Alta Vicente, Snowy Plovers running back and forth to feed at Hermosa Beach and Dockweiler Beach, the Nuttall’s Woodpecker pecking at a tree in Debs Park and most recently a Northern Harrier swoop down and eat a songbird at Point Vicente Bluffs. Some of my fondest moments birding is when I am able to share them with others. Which is why I am delighted that we were able to resume our birding groups at Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park, which occurs on the first Sunday of the month. As of October we started a Birding for Kids which is open to children and beginners at Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center. Together we cover some of the basics of bird watching including how to use binoculars, which we provide. Participants can walk away with a more confident birder and starting this month, with a bird pin to collect. Every time a birder stops by they will receive a small pin to add to their collection! Birding for Kids and beginners is every third Saturday of the month (for holidays, the event will occur the 3rd Sunday of the month). The next birding for kids and beginners is Saturday, December 18th at Madrona Marsh. For further information and to sign up for a bird group please visit our website.

In addition to birding groups, I have continued presenting and recruiting students at a couple of schools. Along with James DeMoss, the Science and Design STEM Coordinator, hands-on restoration work in 10-acres of Rolling Hills Prep. Students will weed, plant and gain a better understanding of the importance of creating habitat for this endemic butterfly. We want to make sure we are creating programs that are relevant to students so that they can have a deeper connection to nature and local wildlife. At Esperanza High School in East Los Angeles, I started a conversation with students about the importance of native plant gardens and I am hoping to create a small garden in their community or school. We already got interest from a handful of students after only one visit!

Along with Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy and California Native Plant Society we are continuing to plan and implement habitat restoration at one of the few dune habitats left in Los Angeles basic, the Malaga Dunes. We created a proposal which we turned into the City of Palos Verdes Estates. We continue our efforts and continue to create partnerships with the nearby community and organizations.

Upcoming events and projects to watch out for include some of our partnerships with Madrona Marsh for next year including night walks and a leadership program for high school students in the greater Los Angeles area. I also now have physical space to work in from Madrona Marsh and plan to be there on Thursday and Friday mornings! Come visit me and the marsh.

Jazmín: August, 2021 Update

Solo hikes, bug chats, neighborhood bird strolls, dragonfly walks, and community events are some of the activities I have been doing to learn about safe and engaging events for our YES! members and Audubon community. Audubon YES! provides meaningful, hands-on outdoor experiences for the youth but this year has been challenging with so many events canceled for the safety of our members. Which is why this fall we will launch a new and reimagined program that has the flexibility to run both in person and virtually. We need programming and community environmental events not only for the youth but with youth, and by the youth. After speaking with Steve Ash and Jessica Mercado from Madrona Marsh, and a few teachers that were willing to share some of their vacation time with me I am creating a proposal for a program this fall. Through this program participants will have a deeper understanding of the ecology and conservation efforts in their neighborhood and the Los Angeles community at large.

I am excited to announce that Audubon YES! Program has a new leadership team. Welcome me in congratulating Megan Yoo and Caitlin Lee as the new presidents for Audubon YES! 2021-22. We met over zoom and have been talking about new events for our Audubon YES! members and recruiting initiatives for teens for this upcoming school year. If your teen or school is interested in partnering with us please contact me at

This past month I have also attended the Olmsted Anniversary Celebration in Palos Verdes Estates where I got to meet some community members and also had the opportunity to take a nature walk of the dunes lead by Allen Franz, PVPLC Board Member. With the help and support of PVE residents and community, the Palos Verdes Peninsula land conservancy and the California Native Plant Society, we hope to connect and propose a restoration project to the City of Palos Verdes Estates. If you would like to learn more about our proposed conservation project, I would like to invite you to answer the short questionnaire on the PV/SB Audubon Society web link below:

Jazmín: February, 2021 Update

Happy New Year everyone!

Since the start of my position as the Project Manager I have continued to reach out to local environmental organizations. I had the opportunity of meeting with folks at White Point Nature Preserve, Madrona Marsh and with Marcos Trinidad at Debs Park before the stay at home order went into effect in Los Angeles County. We discussed future plans for the Audubon YES! Program such as having habitat restoration days again, once it is safe to do so.

I also visited Malaga Dune several times in search of irrigation water and found a potential source for future restoration efforts and a mushroom or two. I will be visiting Chandler Preserve with Ann Dalkey and Austin Parker to learn more about the adopt-a-plots for El Segundo and PV Blue Butterfly. Stay tuned for updates on both Malaga Dunes and Palos Verdes Blue habitat restoration efforts. Now that schools have resumed classes and are back from the holidays, I am contacting schools with established partnerships with our Audubon Yes! Program, and looking to create new ones.

If you have any ideas or want to chat about any of these projects, feel free to reach out to me at

Jazmín: Bird Watching During the Pandemic

The pandemic has had a profound impact on our lives, the way we spend our time, and the activities we can safely engage in. One thing that changed for me and my family, aside from moving 2,027 miles back west (i.e., Chicago to LA), was that I now had year round access to parks and nature. My partner Carlos and I are fortunate to be able to work from home. This has allowed us to go on walks around our neighborhood during breaks, explore the city’s green spaces, and, for the first time, participate in a Los Angeles Christmas Bird Count.

Given the time restrictions and Carlos needing to return home for a work meeting, we decided to count bird sightings around our neighborhood on a route we were both familiar with. We started our observations the moment we walked out of our apartment. Allen’s Hummingbird! It was perched right outside our apartment. There was an American Crow down the block and three American Goldfinches were flitting from tree to tree. Carlos pointed out one of the few birds he is confident identifying, a single House Finch. Around the corner we spotted another hummingbird: an Anna’s hummingbird! I was surprised to see one so close to an Allen’s, but there it was clear as day, boasting an iridescent magenta crown. Another bird in the books that Carlos is now able to identify. One hour, 60 birds, and 11 taxa later, we headed back home with enough time for Carlos to make his meeting. Even though my count falls outside of any of the official CBC target areas, this year’s CBC is on the record as far as I am concerned. Not only is this is the first time I have participated in a Los Angeles CBC, it is special because Carlos got to participate with me. It kicked off what has become his amateur birding hobby.

Now every time we go out on a walk or hike, Carlos makes sure he has his binoculars with him.

Jazmín: Project Manager Introduction

Greetings Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon community, I am María Jazmín Rios, and I am delighted to be joining you, both as a member and as your new Project Manager. My position does come at a unique time, as we find ourselves adjusting to the new realities and uncertainties associated with COVID-19. However, whether you are a long-time member or new to the PV/SB Audubon community, I am here to continue the great work this chapter has been doing for the local community for over 40-years, in a safe and meaningful manner.

I am excited to be leading both old and new projects including the YES! Program, Snowy Plover enclosure at Hermosa Beach, and habitat restoration for the Palos Verdes Blue Butterfly and Delhi sands flower-loving fly. I am committed to build upon the already strong foundations by creating new connections and helping engage the evolving youth and nearby communities so that we can continue conservation of the peninsula for many years to come!

I was born in Culiacan, Sinaloa and moved to Los Angeles at the age of six. We moved around a bit during the first few years, but my family was able to set roots in Bellflower. From a young age, my parents exposed me and my two sisters to numerous cultural and natural spaces throughout Los Angeles including its many parks, gardens, or museums. Two of my favorite places to visit were the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Angels Gate Park, both of which introduced me to the beauty of the natural world in a highly urbanized setting. My interest in the environment and conservation stems in large part from these memories. As I got older, I expanded my curiosity about the natural world by taking coursework on the natural history of Southern California at Cerritos College and participating in a project studying the western fence lizard at CSU Long Beach.

I recently relocated back from Chicago, where I worked for the Urban Wildlife Institute leading a number of local urban wildlife programs including managing the only documented population of Illinois-endangered black-crowned night heron (BCNH). I was naturally drawn to the PV/SB Audubon Society, an organization that seeks and implements ways to preserve local flora and fauna while providing educational tools. During my short time in this position, I have had the privilege to learn about both the history of this chapter and continue to learn the natural history of this region from Tony Baker, Jess Morton, and Stacey Vigallon. I have also had the opportunity to meet with a few volunteers at Vicente Bluffs Reserve thanks to Ann Dalkey, and have signed up to volunteer my time every Tuesday.

I look forward to meeting every one of you in the upcoming months and engaging with you in future events, whether it be virtually or in-person!

A couple of images of Jazmin at the Urban Wildlife Institute in Chicago. First image with a snapping turtle and the second with a black-crowned night heron.

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Address: P.O. Box 2582, Palos Verdes, CA 90274

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