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September 2013
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DirecTV Employees Give Back in the Ballona Wetlands

The Friends of Ballona Wetlands hosted an employee volunteer day for some staff members of DirecTV on Tuesday, September 3rd. In the morning the staffers were given the option of working on clearing some brush and non-native plants from an area slated for future El Segundo Blue butterfly habitat or wrapping tule leaves and willow branches on the Tongva Ki frame at the entrance to the Ballona Wetlands off Culver Boulevard. The Ki is located in the representational Tongva Village that has been there for decades with the help of like-minded volunteers.

Everyone was having such a fun time at the Ki that the other group, which finished early clearing brush and plants, came to join them. Lots of laughing and telling stories – which is JUST what would have happened in the Ki’s that once dotted the landscape on this sacred site. The Ki makers soon discovered that this was tedious work, made light by many hands. Nevertheless, the 30+ employees talked about what it must have been like to have to build these huts as shelter from the weather, and what it must have been like to live back then – depending on the plants and animals around you for survival.

After a quick lunch at the Del Rey Lagoon the staffers came back for a Creek Cleanup. This time of year there isn’t as much solid trash as after the first rain storms of Spring, however, the bits of styrofoam were sure challenging to pick up. The employees soon learned that the nurdles of Styrofoam (the small round balls the material breaks down into) are often times mistaken for eggs by marine life – filling them up with no nutrition and threatening their very existence by starving them to death. A new appreciation for the misuse of Styrofoam was discussed.

As the hard-working volunteers from DirecTV left, Lisa Fimiani promised to get them the recipe for cat tails, since they had collected so many while re-thatching the Ki. A special thank you goes out to Dr. Edith Read and her crew for providing the much-needed tule reeds and cattails to put the Ki back together after an accident had destroyed the Ki back in August.

Here is some info on cattails: