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Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve - Jenny Green


Reviewed by: Jenny Green, High School Biology Teacher.  


6335 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91406

Description: This field trip is a cross-curricular project involving Biology, Geology, Chemistry, and Physics.  It's formed and managed by The Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation as well as the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant which cleans and recycles water and then dumps it back into the Los Angeles River.  The field trip includes, soil and water testing, weather studies, plotting quadrants,as well as flora and fauna identification.  The park has dirt tracks that go around the outside of this small lake and wildlife on each side of the path.  It is managed by the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation. It is also wheel chair accessible and has bathrooms and sinks as well as water fountains. Here's a local trail map.

History: The Sepulveda Dam Basin in Van Nuys was built to protect Los Angeles from the ravages of flooding caused by the torrents of the Los Angeles River during heavy downpours after the floods of 1938. Now the 2200-acre Basin has two wildlife areas and one of three soft-bottomed sections of the Los Angeles River. Steve will present a history of native revegetation projects in the Basin, discuss the latest revision of the Master Plan for the Basin, and talk about his kayaking experience along the LA River.

Audience: This Reserve would be ideal for all grade levels and fit well with California Science Standards found in the 7th grade life science classes as well as high school Biology classes.  This location is central to most of the high schools found in the San Fernando Valley and it's free with no reservations needed.  
  • Biology students would benefit from this trip because the park contains most of the local flora and fauna found in Southern California.  It addresses species diversity, as well as looking at fresh water reclamation and treatment, niches and communities, as well as genetic diversity intra and inter species, competition with invasive species and identification of flora and fauna found in the park. 
  • An environmental science class would benefit from visiting Sepulveda Basin because it provides local examples of chaparral and mixed coniferous forests, water pollution, dams and the effects on the ecosystems, flooding zones, and soil types. Also water, nitrogen, phophorous, carbon and oxygen cycles could be studied here as well.
  • Chemistry looks at pH of soil and water by using chemical.  Acidity and basicity of soils and waters and their characteristics as well as nitrates and nitrites could be studied as far as the breakdown of chemicals and how the chemicals form.
Science Concepts Addressed
  • pH testing of water and soil:  testing water for Nitrates, Nitrites, pH, hardness, Phosphates and O2 levels.
  • Speed of wind and barometric pressure: students use electronic wind gauges as well as sling psychrometer to
  • Fauna activity:  The lake has constant populations of birds as well as migratory birds visiting that students could identify and discuss similarities and differences,adaptations, behaviors, etc. There are also many other organisms that live here.
  • Floral studies: students identify the types of plants and identifies them, including studies invasive species, introduced species and native chapparal species.  
  • Intra and Interspecies interactions between nesting, mating and territorial overlap of niches of birds and other organisms found in the lake area.
  • Biomes and Ecosystems:  Studies of chaparral and aquatic as well as 
Study Guide:  Included at the bottom as an attachment.  The Study guide contains information as well as 5 different aspects to study at this park: water testing, soil testing, floral and fauna studies, and atmosphere.  

For additional information:  Los Angeles Audubon Society

Jennifer Green,
Oct 26, 2011, 8:35 PM
Jennifer Green,
Oct 19, 2011, 2:07 PM