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 The Fall 2021 Biodiversity Initiative 


test      test      test   


Group planting           iwakichi and kyla          Cleaning out the shed 




Meet the Students


Vanessa Sandoval

Undergraduate Student


Vanessa is currently a first year student at College of the Canyons. Her goal is to become TAP-Certified and achieve her Biology AS-T and transfer to one of the UC campuses. Her semester project for the Biodiversity Initiative is one that has never been done before, and she is ecstatic to have been given this opportunity. She will be creating the official website for the Biodiversity Initiative (the one in which you are reading now), which will highlight the amazing current and past projects of her fellow peers who have been been apart of the Initiative. Additionally, the website will be where all information relevant to the Biodiversity Initiative will reside, and she hopes that the creation of this website will not only be the start of spreading awareness, but also, will serve as a catalyst for those both inside and outside of the community, to advocate for the preservation and creation of biodiversity.

Watch Her Presentation Here:

Kyla Massie

Undergraduate Student


Kyla is currently a second year pre-med college student. Her semester project focuses on California native medicinal plants, and the properties that these plants have. She has currently begun planting and observing medicinal plants on both the Canyon Country and Valencia campuses. Her goal with this project is to collect and summarize research analyses on the medicinal properties of certain California native plants, and successfully grow a few of them. The plants she is currently researching include California poppies, yarrow, mugwort, Cleveland sage, California evening primrose, toyon, elderberry, yerba mansa, and yerba buena. 


Watch Her Presentation Here: 

Iwakichi Embuido

Undergraduate Student


Iwakichi is a first-year college student at College of the Canyons. His  semester project is focusing on increasing the southern California native bee population by planting native wildflowers on both the Canyon Country and Valencia campus. He started planting in October, and will continue planting throughout November as well. His goal is to attract yellow-faced bumble bees and sweat bees, however, any native bee is welcome. Some wildflower species being planted include: California poppies, sky lupines, fare-well-to springs, and desert marigolds.

Watch His Presentation Here: 

Anh-Thi Ta

Undergraduate Student


Anh-Thi is a first-year pre-med student at College of the Canyons. Her semester project is an at-home controlled experiment about arbuscular mycorrhizae, a type of fungi that forms a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. Because these fungi aid plants, she will inoculate two native plants—white sage and desert globe mallow—with different species of mycorrhizae to determine which species helps them more. After the experiment is finished in two months, she will plant these species on the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.

Watch Her Presentation Here: 


Mikaela Martinez

Undergraduate Student


Mikaela is a third-year college student majoring in Chemistry. Her project focuses on planting California native plants around the Valencia campus in areas that may be difficult to plant in due to leaf litter. Currently, she is researching the effects of oak tree and pine tree leaf litter on the growth of these native plants. Her goal is to determine the plants that best grow in conditions in which oak tree or pine tree litter may discourage growth of California native plants. The plants she is currently studying are sugar bush, false indigo, and blue-eyed grass.


Watch Her Presentation Here: 

Genesis Valle

Undergraduate Student


Genesis is a second year Biology student at College of the Canyons. Her goals include attending UCLA for the rest of undergrad and pursuing a career as a veterinarian at a zoo, aquarium, or an exotic animal sanctuary. Her ultimate goal is to open up her own exotic animal sanctuary and provide opportunities for all people in her community to learn and fall in love with animal conservation.

For her research this semester, she is focusing on monitoring the diversity and population of native Southern California Lepidoptera before and after planting specialized flora on the Canyon Country and Valencia campuses. She also hopes planting these new flora on both campuses will increase biodiversity in other native organisms including hummingbirds and bees. 

Watch Her Presentation Here: