The California Chapter of the Audubon Society is offering a six-week training program for naturalist and educational outreach volunteers interested in leading school tours of the Ballona Wetlands.

Training classes will be held from 9 a.m. to noon every Thursday beginning September 9th and ending October 14th.

Classes will cover wetland ecology, birds, native plants, the food chain and techniques on how to find interesting things in the environment.

Each volunteer will receive a comprehensive training manual.

Since 1990, the Audubon Society has offered tours of the Ballona Wetlands for fourth-through-sixth-grade students in the Los Angeles area.

More than 30,000 students have participated in the tours, which offer the opportunity to see the last major salt marsh in Los Angeles County, the Audubon Society says.

Students can learn about native plants, insects, birds and microorganisms that inhabit the natural environment.

School tours are held Tuesday and Thursday mornings from October to May. Students are divided into groups of 15 and a volunteer naturalist accompanies each group.

During the two-hour tours, students use microscopes, telescopes and binoculars to observe organisms, birds and bird behavior.

Naturalists teach the students about wetlands and the interdependence of living things.

The Audubon Society asks naturalists to lead at least two school tours a month.

Educational outreach volunteers visit local classrooms prior to the school field trips. These outreach visits last less than two hours.

The training program is free to Audubon Society members and $20 for non-members. The $20 fee includes society membership.

There is also a small refundable materials fee for all volunteers.

Information, (310) 379-4669.

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