Notes about your surroundings

Beach Patrol--Help gather knowledge about the habits and distribution of coastal bottlenose dolphins by joining the Orange County chapter of the American Cetacean Society's research team. On Saturday, volunteers will be positioned at 14 stations along Orange County beaches to look for and observe the dolphins. The "Day of the Dolphin" sighting project will last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with various shifts available. A required orientation will be given at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Costa Mesa Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Ave. At the session, participants will receive instructions, meet with team leaders and pick up sighting forms. The project is an ongoing quarterly event to help local scientists assess the dolphin population off the Orange County coast. Information: (714) 534-5177.

Park Lark--Santa Ana's parks and trees and the world's environment will be celebrated Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Centennial Regional Park, 3000 W. Edinger Ave. Designed for children 5 to 12 years old, "Arborfest '97: Naturally Parks Are for People" features a nature hike, ceremonial tree planting, park cleanup, educational displays and games. Admission is two recyclable aluminum cans or 2-liter plastic bottles. Information: Leon Raya, (714) 647-6559, or Dawna Sims, (714) 571-4242.

Shell Seekers--A field trip to Newport Bay is planned Saturday by the Micropals group of the Orange County Natural History Assn. The group will collect shells dredged from Newport Bay, examine sediments with fossil shells, observe elongated shells grazing on algae in a spring-fed estuary and collect Monterey dolomite from the base of the Newport Bay cliffs. The meeting spot is 10 a.m. at the Newport Aquatic Center, 1 Whitecliffs Drive, Newport Beach. Field clothes such as blue jeans, sturdy boots and a hat should be worn. A spatula or similar tool is needed. The event is free to association members and $5 for nonmembers. Reservations required. Information: (714) 487-9155.

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