Our Programs

Ballona Discovery Park serves as a rich living laboratory for research and teaching.  Designed to replicate the Ballona Creek Watershed, there are interpretive panels to guide participants through various habitats associated with the historical and current landscape of the area.  In addition, the Park serves to support the cultural history of La Ballona with exhibits of Native American architecture and an oral history kiosk.  Ballona Discovery Park is home to a  surprisingly diverse community of living organisms that are supported by the native plant gardens. There is outdoor seating and an amphitheater for presentations and for informal science and cultural education.  The site is also fully supported with electrical outlets and wireless internet coverage.

The management partnership at Ballona Discovery park welcomes all who are interested in learning more about the urban ecology of the watershed and are eager to support classes, tours and community groups who wish to use the Park.

Introducing a new internship program: BALLONA LIVING LABORATORY

We are excited to announce a new partnership and the development of a reinvisioned internship program. The Bay Foundation (TBF) and the Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) are working together to develop a more extensive internship program. This program allows for students and young adults to engage in restoration and research projects that benefit local watersheds and the Santa Monica Bay. In doing so, participants have the opportunity to become stewards of the environment by actively learning from local experts. Projects that clean up the waterways, create greenspace and natural habitats in underserved communities, advocate for wildlife, and increase public education are available for participants. The workdays range from sea urchin dissections and tracking coyote activity to water quality sampling and dune restorations. To emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in regards to environmental work, individuals with non-science backgrounds are more than welcome. These participants are encouraged to work with our education or social science programs, such as the greenspace access research and the Ballona education docent program, with room to expand scholastic emphases to other fields. With these two organizations coming together to provide these opportunities, participants will be exposed to a full suite of environmental science projects making the LMU base a local hub for informal education on becoming a natural scientist. If you are interested in becoming an intern, or would like more information please contact the intern coordinator: viktoria.kuehn@lmu.edu.

Major Projects:

Depending on the season and other factors, various projects will require more work others at any given time. Below is a brief overview of some of the projects that are currently underway that interns will have the opportunity to be involved in. 

Environmental Science:

  • Rain Garden study
    • Water quality
    • Invertebrate biodiversity study
  • Animal Behavior Studies
    • Crow Studies
    • Avian Biodiversity in Marina del Rey
    • Hummingbird presence
    • Coyote movement
  • Various Restoration Projects
    • Stone Canyon Creek
    • Malibu Lagoon
    • Ballona Salt marsh and dunes habitat restoration

Social Science:

  • Baldwin Hills Park Use Study
  • Restorative Justice
    • Youth Participatory Action Research: Greenspace Access
    • Restorative Practices: Community Building Circles
  • Community Based Monitoring Program in Marina del Rey

Informal Science Education:

  • Ballona Wetlands Education Docent
  • EcoVoices

More information about each of these projects is available upon request.

Internship structure:

Below are the various forms of participation in the Ballona Living Laboratory Intern Program. The internship types are broken down in tiers depending on commitment level, and subject matter. Regardless of what type of internship individuals are involved in; all interns are encouraged to attend events listed on the calendar to supplement their hours and to gain exposure to a variety of types of environmental work.

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*Based on LMU science requirements for credit. Requirements may vary for different departments, internship courses, or universities.

Get involved:

Requirements: Interns must be at least 16 years of age. Interested applicants should email the intern coordinator a brief description of his/her interests along with an attached resume. A brief interview will be set up with the applicant afterwards.

Internship supporting documents:

Refer to these documents for further details about the program, or if you were directed to them before signing the participation waiver.

  1. CUResInternPolicyStatement
  2. TBF Participation Waiver

– See more at: http://cures.lmu.edu/our-programs/education/internship-program/#sthash.B9l0D2tF.dpuf