BALLONA WETLANDS VISITORS and participants in the Friends of Ballona Wetlands Wonders of Wetlands program include students from Jian de Anza Elementary School.

The Friends of the Ballona Wetlands has made it to the final round of consideration for a youth grant from the Los Angeles Lakers Foundation.
The environmental organization’s youth initiative, the Friends of Ballona Wetlands Wonders of Wetlands program, has been named among the top five finalists for the grant.
Wonders of Wetlands targets students from kindergarten through the third grade from underserved communities throughout Los Angeles.
The program’s principal objectives include instilling in students a lifelong interest in nature and the outdoors while using a science-based curriculum to explore the Ballona Wetlands and surrounding watershed, said Friends of the Ballona Wetlands Executive Director Lisa Fimiani in a statement.
Another goal is to promote healthier lifestyles and more sustainable neighborhoods by connecting the “natural” world to urban environments around the students’ own schools, and through the exploration of concepts like urban trees and wildlife, urban watersheds and clean water.
The Lakers Youth Foundation assists nonprofit community organizations based on need.
The Friends of Ballona Wetlands’ education and habitat restoration programs aim to offer an immersive experience for students in an ecological reserve, including a one-hour habitat restoration project, where students help to restore healthy native habitat through the removal of non-native, invasive plant species as well as trash from the Ballona Creek.
Members of the public can vote for the Friends to receive the grant at: www.nba.com/lakers/community/1213_yougrant_january.
The voting closes Friday, Jan. 18 at 2 p.m.

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