Bird Fest features native fauna, flora

A guest of the California Botanic Garden's Family Bird Festival compares her wingspan to that of different species of birds on Sunday in Claremont. The festival featured interactive booths, bird watching, art and crafts and presentations about birds. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez
A guest of the California Botanic Garden’s Family Bird Festival compares her wingspan to that of different species of birds on Sunday in Claremont. The festival featured interactive booths, bird watching, art and crafts and presentations about birds. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez

Kamila K. De La Fuente
LV Life Editor

The annual Family Bird Festival 2024 flew its way into the California Botanic Garden Sunday, drawing approximately 1,300 guests.

The event attracted bird-enthusiasts of all ages to the 86-acre garden to enjoy a day outdoors with hands-on experiences, educational opportunities, and booths presented in partnership with Pomona Valley Audubon Society.

“There are a ton of studies that have just shown the more kids are introduced to nature when they’re young, the more apt they are to help the environment,” said Laura Christianson, senior horticulturist at the Botanic Garden.

A volunteer at the Family Bird Festival on Sunday in Claremont speaks to a father and daughter about the species of falcon on her arm. The Family Bird Festival was held in the California Botanic Garden to highlight local bird species and promote bird watching. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez
A volunteer at the Family Bird Festival on Sunday in Claremont speaks to a father and daughter about the species of falcon on her arm. The Family Bird Festival was held in the California Botanic Garden to highlight local bird species and promote bird watching. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez

With stations including “Local Birds & Birding,”” Food and Fun,” “Are You Up For the Challenge?” and more, crowds and critters basked in the sunshine to enjoy nature. 

The buzz of wildlife and music filled the garden – from the information booth to the outdoor classroom – where guests could learn more with a rotating schedule of wildlife, gardening lessons, story time, crafts, and more. 

The aroma of treats from L.A. Donuts and 5 Elementos Mexican Food attracted guests to come get a taste. 

“I think it’s nice as an educational opportunity,” said Jennifer Ives, a La Verne alumna and Botanic Garden member, who attended with her almost 2-year old son.  “To see them up-close-and-personal rather than out and flying in the sky, and just to learn about them, so you can respect them and be respectful towards nature so that you’re not harming things unknowingly.”

The fest kept guests busy from 11 a.m to 3 p.m with an agenda of educational displays, new birding skills, and endless photo ops in the great outdoor backyard of Claremont. 

“I’ve always been a birder,” said Christiane Elin of San Dimas, who attended the event with her daughter. “I think it’s a good idea to take a look at your area. There’s things going on in your backyard all the time.”

Kevin Romero,who attended the festival with family members, including his nephew Jakob Lachman, talked about how events like this bring awareness among young people.

“Like my nephew here,” Romero said. “He’s got an opportunity to see what California was like when I was a kid. 

“We’ve been good at growing houses rather than our wild lands, but I think that hopefully, that will become less in the future,” Romero said. 

Romero said he likes the idea of nurturing and growing native California flora and fauna, as at the Botanic Garden, and he believes that every homeowner has the responsibility to do so. 

Lachman said a highlight for him was learning about the birds, their habitat, and the fact that these events raise awareness about endangered species.

For one of the educational activities, Christianson presented “Wildlife Gardening for Birds” in the outdoor classroom. 

Other presentations included story time, for which Mahima Dixit, a graduate student at Garden, read “She Heard the Birds: The Story of Florence Merriam Bailey” by Andrea Aquino and “‘Waa’aka’ The Bird Who Fell In Love With The Sun” by Cindi M. Alvitre, which is about a nature activist.

“Story time reaches a broader audience, from children to their parents and everyone in between,” Dixit said. 

By the end of the event, all of the L.A. Donuts, roughly 20 dozen, were gone.

Kamila K. De La Fuente can be reached at kamila.delafuente@laverne.edu.

A bird handler at the Family Bird Festival at the California Botanic Gardens in Claremont showcases a red-tailed hawk on Sunday. The Family Bird Festival showcased many birds that are native to California. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez
A bird handler at the Family Bird Festival at the California Botanic Gardens in Claremont showcases a red-tailed hawk on Sunday. The Family Bird Festival showcased many birds that are native to California. / photo by Christopher Rodriguez

Kamila K. De La Fuente is a fifth-year senior creative writing and broadcast journalism major. She is currently the LV Life editor for the Campus Times. She is a dedicated broadcast journalist who is passionate about storytelling and community engagement. Devoted to a lifestyle of knowledge, service and vision, she is actively involved in her community as well as a fierce advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. She has previously served as an assistant editor and staff writer in Fall 2022.

Christopher Rodriguez is a senior photography major and a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

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