We've gotten together a few more times since that initial talk a few days ago.  It's weird how out of all the issues we've seen, really the one that's most affected us is one about a tiny bird.  Maybe it's because it's a local species and affects our immediate environment (while carpooling home, Stephanie, who first mentioned burrowing owls to us, pointed out all the areas that were once burrowing owl habitat.  All that's left are huge expanses of dried scrub.  It's something we hadn't really noticed before, but everything seemed to really come into focus as we talked and researched the last few days.

Today, we were talking again, and somehow we couldn't stay off the topic of burrowing owls.  Finally, I said, "All right guys, we all agree we need to do something about this, right? So why don't we?"  I didn't exactly know what to expect, or if I was going to get a reaction at all.  Our group definitely had strong feelings about this topic, but these feelings ranged from "Are you crazy?  We're just a bunch of high schoolers!" to "Cool! Let's do it!"  At the end of our discussion, though, we decided: we have become a group.  We will work like the kids in Hoot and no matter what it takes we will make a difference in these birds' conditions.
We sat down today to talk about problems in our community.  Honestly, this is quite common among us friends, and probably among teenagers in general, to complain about the issues with the world.  I don't know why exactly, but suddenly someone spoke up about the book Hoot.  She was talking about the thoughtless and selfish deeds of humans, using construction companies as an example.  For those of you that don't know, Hoot is about a group of students that band together to help save endangered burrowing owl habitat from destruction by a construction firm.  It speaks about the beauty of the environment, the vulnerability, and the role of even the smallest creatures (like burrowing owls) in it.  Our friend talked about an article she'd read about the burrowing owl's threatened status in California, and I jumped.

"There are burrowing owls in California?"  I wasn't the only one that asked this.  She seemed surprised, and then started to explain.

As it turned out, there are less than 90 burrowing owls left in California, now, which explains why almost none of us had ever seen one.  We were surprised to find out about its steep declines in our state.  It was, as our friend explained, because of construction companies as well.

It went really quiet for a while.  As anyone who's seen teenagers knows, it takes a lot to get a group of them to be quiet.  After we finished lunch, we went off, but we were all thinking about burrowing owls and the environment.  I think a new idea was forming, but I don't think any of us really knew what was going on.

-Alice Wu