The area in front of our LASHP office has gone through a series of interesting changes since we moved in back in November 2008. We started out with pretty much nothing but a view of the skyline. Seeing that the front yard could use a little love, our neighbors from Metabolic Studio/Farmlab stepped up by planting some deer grass and then seeding the front with a wildflower mix. The result was a lovely, if slightly surreal array, of large, colorful sunflowers dotted with native California poppy and arroyo lupine.
By the following spring, we realized with dismay, that invasive African daisies had hitched a ride in the previous season’s wildflower mix and were taking over, crowding out our native poppies and lupine. So we went to battle, eradicating the pests in preparation for Earth Day and a new palette of native trees and vegetation.
The plan was to get a head start on the final park design which envisions the northern end, where we’re located, as natural habitat and future connecting point with the Los Angeles River. Less than a year later, our tiny trees have come along way. And though we still find ourselves pulling the occasional African daisy, we’re pleased with how our new plants are coming along. White sage, deer grass, fushia, toyon, ceonothus, and more have taken root, and while we haven’t been without set-backs, namely loosing a lot of sage to over-watering (an unfortunate combination of heavy rainfall and irrigation) we see the garden as a successful work in progress. Stay tuned to learn more about native plants and watch our garden grow.
Last week, our intrepid Superintendent for the Los Angeles Sector of CA State Parks, Sean Woods, flew to Washington, D.C. to lobby congress on behalf of State Park projects here in Los Angeles. He was invited to participate by L.A. City Council member Ed Reyes and the Army Core of Engineers, all of home presented to California’s Los Angeles Congressional delegation. They hoped to gain federal support for projects on the Los Angeles River and our sister State Park, Rio de Los Angeles, is one of the locations for one of those projects. The City of Los Angeles is hoping for 6.2 million dollars from Congress in support of these projects.
While anxiously awaiting the return of our seasonal wetland at LASHP, this morning we took a trip over to Rio de Los Angeles State Park to check out how our little sister park was handling the wet weather. Turns out she is faring quite nicely, with an amazing wetland of her own taking shape. The “oxbow” area of Rio de Los Angeles was actually designed to become a wetland, or riparian habitat, with water provided through a combination of seasonal rains and irrigation run-off from the active recreational areas in the park. The plants and trees are native species – willows, sycamores, toyon, bullrushes, sage – to name just a few. Rio de Los Angeles, like LASHP, is a former railyard (Taylor Yard) and was once highly industrialized and covered in tracks. Hard to believe!
We also went a bit further up the road to an undeveloped portion of Rio de Los Angeles which overlooks the Glendale Narrows. The river was flowing more rapidly than normal due to the rainfall, but the birds, as always were abundant in this natural, soft-bottomed section of the Los Angeles River. Someday we hope to connect LASHP to the river and see these same species up close and personal, right here next to the Broadway Bridge.
autumnal equinoxn.1. The point at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator, the sun having a southerly motion. 2. The moment at which the sun passes throgh the autuemnal equinox, about Septmeber 23, marking the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.
Saturday’s sunset campfire was a smashing success thanks to a great turnout of kids from the neighborhood. Our rangers and interpreters along with special guest stars courtesy of Wildworks put on a great show about local wildlife and the layers of history at LASHP. The kids from Chinatown Service Center and Solano Avenue School were all smiles – the campfire program and marshmallow roast being a first for many of the children. Topping off the evening, what could beat S’mores!
Yes, the highly anticipated Ffy Fest has come and gone. And from the looks of the park on Sunday, someone certainly had a good time. We had great fun with our State Parks booth showcasing the saga of Madame Wong’s vs. the Hong Kong Cafe and the ensuing Chinatown “Punk Rock Wars” that is the stuff of Los Angeles punk rock legend and lore. Our little exhibit was well-received by the younger folks to whom the story was new, and by those oldsters who’ve been around long enough to remember that punk rock and indie music have a significant and interesting history in L.A.’s Chinatown and environs. Another hit was the California State Parks Foundation, with their Save Our State Parks booth, in partnership with the festival to raise awareness regarding the dire situation and imminent closures facing many of our State Parks due to budget cuts.
Best of all, were the bunches of new, young visitors who were thrilled not only to hang out and enjoy their favorite bands, but also to discover Los Angeles State Historic Park!
Check out the LA times blog for a review of the festival! Unlike some of us, they managed to stay for the after dark excitement.