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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Reflections From the Lagoon: Mufson ’19 at San Diego Audubon Society in San Diego, California

According to its website, the mission of the San Diego Audubon Society is “to shape a culture in San Diego where nature is a common interest of all – where people learn to appreciate, understand, and actively protect the natural world.” As is the case with most naturalist societies, this endeavor requires work on two fronts: conservation (or, if you have the ability, preservation) and education. While I set out on this co-op with the hopes of learning more about resources management and the natural world (and I have found myself educated in these fields, but more on that later), I have found myself increasingly drawn to the education aspect of the Audubon Society.

When I first began volunteering at the Buena Vista Lagoon, I was working with their Audubon Society’s gardening crew, watering plants that needed extra help and picking invasive weeds. That week, another member of the crew took me to Oceanside Elementary School, where I would help dig a bioswale to make their landscape more water efficient. There, I had the opportunity to work with young students and teach them about nature, and I found my passion for educating rekindled.

The month of May has been a heavy one for tour groups at the Buena Vista Lagoon, so I signed up to become a Nature Guide and give trail tours. This has helped me on the conservationist front as well, since becoming a Nature Guide meant learning more about the native plants and ecosystems in Southern California. This has given me several unique opportunities to become a better environmentalist- taking samples of the lagoon water to observe under a microscope, learning the Luiseno Indian Tribe’s uses for native plants, and, because it wouldn’t be the Audubon Society without a focus on birds, learning about different beak adaptations.

While I hope to continue improving my skills as a conservationist going forward, working with the Audubon Society has taught me something I couldn’t learn in a classroom: what I truly desire to do with my work isn’t abstract, and won’t keep me cooped up in labs so I can publish papers. I will do work, actively and positively impacting the environment, and helping spread my enthusiasm for the natural world to others.

To learn more about the San Diego Audubon, click here.  To learn more about the Buena Vista Audubon, click here. And check out this article about the Buena Vista Lagoon!


*photo credit: San Diego Audubon Society website

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<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jonas Mufson is a member of the Antioch Class of 2016 and an Environmental Science Major. He enjoys going out into nature, whether it be lagoons, forests, or shrublands, and digging in the soil. Since a young age, Jonas has had a passion for the natural world, and sought to protect other humans and wildlife alike from the anthropomorphic destruction of our shared biosphere. Guided by a strong sense of environmental and social justice, Jonas worked with activist groups in his home city of Vista, California, a small suburb of San Diego. In 2014, Jonas realized he had a passion for Environmental Science when he fell into a lake while trying to measure its viscosity. With this zeal for the environment and a commitment to changing the world for the better, Jonas wants to do the hard and dirty work necessary for saving the planet. This task- saving the world, as it were- is not something any one person can accomplish on their own. Yet Jonas believes that he can, and must, do everything in his power to be a force for change in this world. </span></p>

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