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Young naturalist inspiring others to appreciate birds

Lara Tseng

Did you know Aurora Park is home to birds, particularly bluebirds, that live in special nest boxes? On Tuesday, 13-year-old Lara Tseng gave a presentation to the City Council about the nest boxes, which she maintains.

The nest boxes were installed by the Southern California Bluebird Club (SBCB), primarily for the Western Bluebird, a species that historically depended on natural and woodpecker-made cavities for breeding. Gillian Martin, a local naturalist and leading member of SCBC, met Lara two years ago and trained her and her parents on the proper monitoring procedures for the birds.

“Lara is an exceptionally intelligent, passionate and responsible young naturalist who is an avid student of birds and nature,” Gillian said.  “Our local Audubon Chapter has contributed greatly to her knowledge as have other mentors, workshops, summer camps and her volunteer activities. It was these exceptional circumstances that led the SCBC to authorize Lara to assume responsibility for the nest boxes in Aurora Park when the former monitor could no longer care for them.”

Along with monitoring the boxes weekly, Lara and Gillian maintain a bird list for the park located at 23202 Via Guadix to understand the habitat quality of the park for resident and migratory birds.

The hope is to inspire residents to support cavity-nesting birds and promote good stewardship.


Submitted by Lilllian Rostoker on Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:39 am


That's wonderful.
I do have the bluebirds come to my fountain at the right time of year. Will check out the park.

Submitted by Jason on Sat, 08/31/2019 - 6:21 pm


That's so amazing.
I saw this girl a couple times in the park.
She did take care her bird boxes. She took pictures at each one, cleaned out some trash, watched birds, maked notes or drawing pictures or something..... A little shy but very special young scientist.
Great work and good luck.

Submitted by Deborah Lan on Sun, 09/01/2019 - 10:17 pm


Very inspiring, Lara. Having such ideas and dedication caring for the animals truly deserves a plause. The world will become a better place if there are more people like you.

Submitted by Amara on Mon, 09/02/2019 - 9:42 pm


Thank you so much for your work, you have done so much at a young age. Most adults wouldn’t do that because they don’t think they would make an impact, but here you are doing it at a middle school age. You are doing good for the environment.

Submitted by Marie on Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:04 pm


I know this girl personally and I have to say she is one of the kindest people you will ever meet. Although she's a little awkward when you first meet her there's no denying the passion in hey voice whenever she talks about nature. Listening to her talk is heart warming. You can tell how much she loves nature, specifically birds. She deserves all the success in the world.

Submitted by Vanessa on Wed, 09/04/2019 - 12:18 pm


From setting up the nesting boxes to witnessing empty nests, you had shown us that A Little Goes A Long Way! Thanks for sharing with us that building bluebird nest boxes is a great way to help conserve birds at a local level. We are so proud of you!

Submitted by Gillian Martin on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 12:21 pm


Lara is an exceptional youngster and has equally exceptional parents. This is why the non-profit, Southern California Bluebird Club (socalbluebirds.org) agreed to allow a minor to monitor nest boxes under parental supervision. Rare indeed. However, adults who might be interested in volunteering for this bird conservation program in Orange County are invited to contact the President of the Club, Bill Wallace: walrus45@att.net. Volunteers are needed to replace retired monitors to care for boxes that are already used by bluebirds. (Installing additional boxes for bluebirds in new locations is not the priority of the program at this time.) Free, informal and convenient training is provided. Monthly meetings in Irvine continue to educate and support monitors. Being a monitor is easy and fun. Meetings build understanding and appreciation of the natural world and provide opportunities for new friendships.

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