Ballona Institute, a Playa del Rey-based environmental organization, has announced that several local programs have started this month in celebration of World Wetlands Day February 2nd.

Celebrated in more than 100 countries every year, World Wetlands Day marks the date that the Convention to Protect Wetlands of International Importance was signed in 1971.

New local programs available for participation and enjoyment by the public, include the two following stewardship groups for the lagoon areas of the historical Ballona Wetlands:

ï “Wild Women Weeders of the Marsh:” Women of all ages are invited to join this group of “weeders” who will take care of native plant areas where the institute says unwanted, toxic plants threaten encroachment of restoration areas like the Grand Canal Lagoon during weekly activities; and

ï “Grand Canal Guardians:” A restoration effort scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on the fourth Saturday of each month to continue stewardship of Grand Canal Lagoon restoration, an ongoing worksite.

In conjunction with Livable Legacy, the Ballona Institute is now co-owner of a Catalina 22-foot sailboat which will be used to take inner city students on tours through Marina del Rey where they will learn about the abundant marine and bird ecosystems

This month also marked the beginning of a new nature walk program at the Venice Canals. Led by Ballona Institute naturalist Robert “Roy” van de Hoek, the walks are scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of each month, starting from Baja Cantina, 311 Washington Blvd., Venice.

Information on the various programs, (310) 578-5888 or