Something as simple as moving a plant from one area of the planet to another can result in big problems.

Native plants are the structural and functional backbone of the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem because they provide food, water, and habitat. Unfortunately, fast-growing non-native vegetation can outcompete, outgrow, and crowd out our slow-growing native species, thereby reducing wildlife population. This is because invasive plants produce more seeds, have fewer predators, and require fewer resources to survive than native plants, often without providing any benefits to wildlife.

80% of the debris on our beaches start out as urban trash and street litter.

Nearly 130 square miles of Los Angeles’ storm drains run into Ballona Creek, which means gutter trash from as far away as North Hollywood can end up right here in the wetlands. This is hazardous to sensitive wildlife, decreases water quality, and mars the beauty of the natural landscape. Every year, staff and volunteers remove tons of debris that would otherwise end up in the wetlands, on our beaches, and in the ocean.

You can make a difference!

Roll up your sleeves and join us at a community restoration or creek cleanup event. Your hands-on participation helps revive this rare coastal habitat and keep our coastal waters safe and clean.

YOU can help Bring Back Ballona!

Brownie Troop participates in Community Restoration at the Saltwater Marsh


Community Events

Community Events Volunteer with Staff

Fridays and Saturdays
Love our volunteer events and want to help even more? Work alongside staff to set up supplies, then greet, sign in, and supervise volunteers during community restoration and creek cleanups.

Special Events

Migration Celebration Volunteer

Various Dates
Volunteers help with all stages of planning, fundraising, setup, and execution for awesome events year-round.

Eco Paparazzi

Volunteer Event Photographer

Any and all events
Take awesome pictures at our events so we can share the great work our volunteers do on our website, newsletters, and social media.

For more information, or to sign up for an assignment, email our Volunteer Team or call us!

Restoration Tern logo

Upcoming Volunteer Events:

All volunteers need to sign a waiver. Save yourself some time (and us some paper) by bringing a completed one with you.

Volunteer FAQs

What will we be doing?

Restoration and cleanup projects focus on improving the wetlands habitat and its ecosystem.

Tasks include:

  • Removing non-native vegetation
  • Planting native trees and shrubs
  • Picking up trash along Ballona Creek

Do I need to RSVP?

Nope! Unless you're coming with a group of 8+ people, there is no need to RSVP. Just show up on time.

Do I need any special training?

Nope! Staff and volunteer leaders will teach you everything you need to know, including tool safety, wetlands health, and the importance of specific tasks you will be doing.

What should I bring?

For your safety and comfort, please bring:

  • Sturdy closed-toed shoes (required)
  • Clothing that you don't mind getting a bit dirty
  • Long pants and long sleeves to help protect against prickly plants
  • Warm layers and a hat
  • Full reusable water bottle to stay hydrated

We will provide all necessary restoration and cleanup supplies.

Is there an age minimum?

Volunteers of all ages are welcome! The work is typically geared towards adults and kids 10 and up, but kids 13 and under are welcome to participate with adult supervision.

Volunteers ages 14 - 17 can attend on their own but MUST bring a completed and signed Youth Waiver the day of the event.

Can I receive service hours and credit for volunteering?

Yes! Check with your school, class, or program to verify that volunteering with The Friends, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, will satisfy your service hour requirements. If so, please bring any paperwork you need and we will be happy to sign off at the end of the event.

What if it's raining?

For safety, restoration and creek cleanups are cancelled if it is raining. Please keep an eye on the weather and if you’re not sure, call our office or check our social media for announcements.

Can I bring a group to a public event?

Yes! We welcome groups at our public events. Please email us to RSVP if your group is larger than 8 people. If you'd like to schedule a private volunteer event, please click here.

I have another question!

Ask the Volunteer Team!