The Ventura based MERITO Foundation is working with California State Parks Channel District with the support of State Coastal Conservancy and Wetland Recovery Project to restore an iconic site in the City of Ventura known as Kalorama. The site is in San Buenaventura State Beach south of the Ventura pier at the bottom of the watershed, and it used to be a large wetland area that served as natural flood control and habitat for many species before the construction of Harbor Blvd. and Highway 101. Currently, invasive plant species have been taking over the site threatening the native species, and if you ever drive or bike nearby on or after a rainy day you will see how the site easily floods.
To restore Kalorama wetland, MERITO Foundation has been involving youth ages 9-12 and their families since September 2020 during Marine Science After-school Beach Camps with COVID-19 protocols approved by Ventura County Health. For 3 afternoons of each week until March 12, students work in designated pods of 6 students per instructor 6 feet apart to remove invasive and plant native species, monitor birds, water quality, learn about wetland ecology, and other marine science topics such as invertebrates, plankton, explore, clean up and study the beach. Their family members are also welcomed each Friday to take part in this restoration effort.
This project benefits the City of Ventura’s coast by enriching its biodiversity and increasing flood control, and benefits youths’ education and physical-emotional well being. Exposure to nature enhances youths’ cognitive functioning, character development, reduces stress, and increases physical activity, especially during these times.
MERITO stands for Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans, and it is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization based in Ventura, CA, dedicated to protecting the ocean by empowering multicultural youth to think, live and act in environmentally sustainable manners by exposing them to high quality marine science education, hands-on resource conservation and participation in scientific research.
More details at www.meritofoundation.org/kalorama and at www.meritofoundation.org/afterschoolbeachcamp