Birds Flying High, You Know How I Feel...


Terry and I are in love…with our neighborhood. In an ongoing series we will be interviewing people who live here; work here; making a difference; making their stamp; doing good; creating possibility for the community...

Today we asked Sarah Miggens, Director of the Audubon Center at Debs Regional Park, our three questions. For those not in the know, Ernest E. Debs Regional Park is a large open space nature reserve, in Montecito Heights. It contains 282 acres, of hiking trails and nature!

The Audubon Center is a hidden gem that we want you to know about.

What brought you to the Northeast Los Angeles area?

I was recently hired by the National Audubon Society to revitalize their first urban environmental education and conservation center in the nation, which is located in Debs Park. This park is one of the largest parcels of public open space in the upper Los Angeles River watershed and known for awesome views and great trails.

The team at Debs began refurbishing the twelve year old Center this August with County and foundation funds and we will be establishing a new volunteer corps of trained naturalists and park stewards to expand services for visitors this fall. We are also re-opening our native plant nursery with our partners from the National Park Service in an effort to restore habitat within the park.

We look forward to inviting the community over in January to see all these improvements and meet our volunteers. We will also have Audubon's 2015 Photography Awards on display at our Center from January 10th – 30th. These photographs are absolutely stunning and inspiring!


What do you offer the community here in NELA?

I hope to grow existing and new partnerships that will take care of Debs Park and the Audubon Center. My main priorities include continuing to increase Audubon’s impact, and for me that means both increasing the numbers of young people engaged and enhancing the depth of their experience – which affects both the people and the landscape.

Prior to working for Audubon, I was the Executive Director of Southern California Mountains Foundation (SCMF), an organization that actively involves volunteers in caring for public lands through innovative programming and large scale habitat restoration services. I had the opportunity to expand the organization over the years and now it is recognized as the model for public and private partnership within the National Forest System. You may have been to one of the facilities that SCMF co-manages with San Bernardino National Forest. The Big Bear Discovery Center and National Children’s Forest have been visited by 3M people since opening in the late 90s. I worked for the LA Conservation Corps before becoming Executive Director of SCMF and that is where I honed skills for youth development and engagement. I also fell in love with Los Angeles! I grew very fond of this work and decided to grow a conservation corps since one did not exist in San Bernardino. Now, the largest program of SCMF and called the Urban Conservation Corps of the Inland Empire.

What else would you like us to know?

I find time in nature both energizing and healing and that is why I chose to serve in this arena. I knew early on that I wanted to work alongside fellow nature enthusiasts and introduce my experiences to those that have not realized the benefits of the outdoors. Debs Park reminds me of home. I grew up living in Cleveland's "Emerald Necklace" which is one of the most interconnected and extensive city park systems in the US.

There is so much going on at the Audubon, this needs to be an ongoing series. Thank you so much Sarah! And a Director is as good as her team, fortunately Sarah has an amazing team:

Marcos Trinidad, Operations Manager of Audubon Center at Debs Park
Justin Yee, Biological Science Technician for National Park Service
Karin Flores, Volunteer Manager

Do You Know Someone In The Neighborhood That You Think We Should Interview? Let Us Know!


Friday, September 11

National Park Service Family Nature Program 4:00-5:00PM

This short, free family hike with a National Park Service ranger explores solid trails with a beautiful view of downtown L.A. and Long Beach as the reward. Bring sun block, water, and snacks.

Saturday, September 19

Beginner Bird Walk 9:00AM – 10:00AM

Bring the family to join our teacher naturalist, Ximena Gil, on a short hike to identify the birds of Los Angeles. Binoculars and bird guides are provided to borrow.
Saturday, September 19
Native Plant Nursery Volunteer Training 10:00AM – 2:30PM

Justin Yee of the National Park Service will offer a training for adults who wish to volunteer in our native plant nursery. Those who complete the training will be asked to volunteer one four-hour shift in the nursery twice per month for one year. Participants will learn about California native plants, nursery practices, seed collection, and plant propagation. Plants grown will be used to restore habitat in Debs Park. RSVP is required at 323-221-2255.

Volunteer Docent Training Series

Enroll in a free, three-session course with our teacher naturalist, Ximena Gil, to discover the bustling natural world of Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. Learn about flora, fauna, natural cycles and teaching techniques so you may volunteer with confidence as an educator for all ages. Age 18+. RSVP required at 323-221-2255. Trained participants agree to volunteer 4 hours of their time per month for one year.

Tuesday, September 22 First Classroom Session 7-9PM
Tuesday, September 29 Second Classroom Session 7-9PM
Saturday, October 3 Park Hike 9AM – Noon

Friday, September 25
National Park Service Family Nature Program 10:00AM - Noon
This short, free family hike with a National Park Service ranger explores solid trails with a beautiful view of downtown L.A. and Long Beach as the reward. Bring sun block, water, and snacks.

Saturday, September 26
Old Time String Band Jam 1:00PM – 4:00PM
Sit a spell under our pepper tree and hear over a dozen musicians play Southern Appalachian music live. Listen to banjo, fiddle, guitar, upright bass, and mandolin play toe-tapping tunes from our American heritage. Bring a blanket and picnic for a fun family afternoon.

Second Saturday Map Gallery Tour!


Our Newest...coming This Weekend!



1037 N. AVENUE 63 90042