Forty third-graders from Westwood Charter School equipped with binoculars and magnifying glasses toured the Ballona Wetlands on Thursday for a lesson in ecology.
They learned about invasive nonnative plants, scuttled after lizards and even saw a red-tailed hawk.
"It's fun seeing all the animals and little bugs that you don't normally see," said 8-year-old Melanie Shaw.
Teacher Jody Sabah said her class makes an annual field trip to the 190-acre expanse of salt water, fresh water and brackish marshland.
"It's a perfect trip because it integrates our curriculum, including the history of Los Angeles, the environment and social studies," Sabah said. "There's no substitute classroom."