Meet the Teams: Speedy Sanderlings

Sanderlings fly along the coast in Huntington Beach, CA. Photo by Ariana Gastelum – International Bird Rescue

Team Captain: Ariana Gastelum, Marketing and Communications Associate for International Bird Rescue

Question: What made you want to be a part of Yes We Peli-CAN! virtual 5K?

I’ve been working for the International Bird Rescue for almost four months, and my experience so far has been fascinating, especially being a part of the 2022 California Pelican Crisis. I’ve seen and photographed hundreds of pelicans come in starved and injured and documented their recoveries until they’re back in the wild. I strongly believe pelicans are resilient patients, and this 5K is representative of that resilience. 

Answer: How did you come up with your team name?

I’ve always loved watching Sanderlings run along the coast, dodging waves the best they can with their teeny tiny legs scurrying at full speed. I thought, why not?

Ariana Gastelum recalls seeing a variety of birds while she rowed for college at the Marine Stadium in Long Beach, CA. Photo by Penelope Gallardo

Q: Where do you like to see birds in your community?

A: One of my absolute favorite places to see birds is the Marine Stadium in Long Beach, CA. When I was on the Long Beach State Rowing Team, we started practice at the crack of dawn, and it was the perfect time to see birds. I would teach my teammates about everything we would see – Surf Scoters, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Marbled Godwits, and more! Next door to the rowing center is the Jack Dunster Marine Biological Reserve, where Cliff Swallows nest every year by the docks. This place brings me so much joy, and I still visit for weekly walks with my mom. 

Q: How are you planning to complete your 5K?

A: Running is not really my strongest form of cardio, so I plan to complete my 5K on a rowing machine. In college, I used to arrange extra practices with my teammates in the evening. I have fond memories of listening to music as we watched the sun go down while we all rowed together. This is something I would love to repeat – even if it ends up being a solo row. 

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