"Pinnipeds, Pollinators and People – We’re all in this Together"
Author: Paula Olson
Published on: June 3, 2015

Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach, California. Why are our wild marine mammal friends at PMMC instead of out in the blue Pacific? Wounds, parasites and fishhooks account for some of their issues, but for most of them, malnutrition and dehydration brought them here.  
The majority of PMMC's patients are pups found stranded on our beaches. According to the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), pups are going hungry because unusually warm water along the Pacific coast has made it more difficult for their mothers to find food.

Climate change, drought and pollution are affecting each and every earthly being and so, it is with great commitment, that several UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County have taken on the task of revitalizing the garden area in and around PMMC.

As supporters visit the Center to learn more about the plight of the marine mammals, they can also learn about native plants, water-wise gardening, beneficial insects and water quality, bringing their experience full circle.

Founded in 1972, the PMMC is nestled at the foot of the Laguna Canyon hills juxtaposed to a waterway that flows directly into the ocean. Mixed in with the sound of barking sea lions, frogs croak. Along the fence leading down to the creek and near brick walkways Master Gardeners have planted more than 50 new plants including Butterfly Cassia, California Fuchsia and White Yarrow, attracting pollinators and using little water.

“It is the perfect place to create a learning environment for the general public,” said Master Gardener and project lead, Ingrid Cebula. “The garden adds value to the entire experience of what each of us can do to help support our precious earth.” Garden plans also include informational signs throughout the landscape and free educational materials at the PMMC gift shop. Master Gardeners can be frequently seen tending to the garden, ready to answer questions.

“While our focus at the center is on marine mammals, we strive to create an awareness of all living creatures and their importance to ourselves and our planet,” said PMMC's Executive Director Keith Matassa.  “We are grateful that the Master Gardeners have volunteered their time, expertise and resources to show our visitors even more ‘everyday' ways to keep our ecosystems in balance for all creatures.  The garden is a welcome and beautiful addition to PMMC!”