Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Viewing Area

Author(s): Jon Fisher
Field Trip - Teacher's Guide
SED 695B; Fall 2005

Topics addressed

Water Quality Testing

Land Use and Managemnent

Water Cycle

Bird Watching


Observation Skills


Description of Field Trip


This field trip has a few components to it. It has bird watching, water quality testing, natural history, and pond water ecology. The Sepulveda Basin provides a great opportunity to view birds in their natural habitat. Since the water comes from the nearby water treatment plant, the pond is always full and has a relatively constant water level. The food web of the Basin becomes apparent when you see the abundance of life in the pond water. Because it is relatively shallow, the pond gets quite warm during the summer, this causes some fish die offs and small algae blooms which can be interesting.

The Native Plant Society has been responsible for planting the flora of the area, so it is reflective of how the basin would have looked it it hadn't been disturbed.

There is a trail that goes around part of the lake with a number of different viewing areas.



6th grade Earth Science

Students know the number and types of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and on abiotic factors, such as quantities of light and water, a range of temperatures, and soil composition.

Students know different natural energy and material resources, including air, soil, rocks, minerals, petroleum, fresh water, wildlife, and forests, and know how to classify them as renewable or nonrenewable.

Select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display data




Study Guide/Questions:

I. History of the Sepulveda Basin

a. From where does the water in the pond come?
b. Why do birds come to the basin?
c. What happens to the basin when we get a lot of rain here? Why?
d. What organizations are working to help maintain and develop the natural surroundings at the basin?

II. Plants and Animals of the Sepulveda Basin
a. List 5 plants that are growing in the basin and their use.
b. List 5 birds you see, where they are, and what they are doing there.
c. Put a star next to all of the above birds that are migratory. What does migratory mean?
d. List 3 microorganisms you observed under the microscopes.

III. The Water in the Pond

a. How long does it take for the water to travel from the stream coming into the lake to the stream leaving the lake?
b. Where does the water go after it leaves the lake? Where does it ultimately end up?
c. What is the temperature of the water? Why is that important to know?
d. What is the pH of the water? Why is that important to know?
e. What does the water smell like? Why might that information be useful?
f. Why do you think it’s important to check the water quality of the lake?

IV. Summary
a. How many different species of birds did you see? Why might that be important information?
b. List three things you learned on this trip that you have not already mentioned already.
c. Was this field trip valuable? How could it have been better? What else would you like to know about the Sepulveda Basin?



Students are given binoculars by the Audubon staff and then are instructed how to use them to see the birds.
Students look through disecting microscopes to look at the critters in the lake.
The water in this pond comes from the nearby water treatment plant. The area is a flood control basin which floods during our yearly rains.

References & Links:

San Fernando Valley Audubon Society

Free Weekend Bird Walks