Busy Bugs

Ladybug

Worker Bee

With all of the blooming going on in the park, many bugs are hard at work. Today we spotted busy bees pollinating and Ladybugs eating aphids. Here are some photographs of what we saw!

Your Weekly Polaroid

“Hummingbird Sage”

On the Trail of LA History

To the Park from the Chinatown Gold Line Station

Seniors from Franklin High School’s Arroyo Seco Academy in Highland Park spent some quality time this past semester considering Los Angeles history. With guidance from the National Park Service, students partnered with the LA City planning department to develop trails as part of the CASP (Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific) Plan. The CASP plan is especially significant for the park because it affects future development of the area immediately surrounding LASHP. Not surprisingly, the park figured prominently in the urban trails that the students developed. In fact, after touring the park and learning of the site’s history, students themselves determined that LASHP should be the ending destination for the trails that each team was tasked with developing. Superintendent Sean Woods and Park and Recreation Specialist Stephanie Campbell recently visited Franklin High School to see their proposed trails and talk with students.

Sean and Stephanie checking out the presentations

From walking to biking to skateboarding, the trails were multi-use and creative, capturing many interesting sites and modes of transport. One team envisioned a trail along Grand Avenue centered on the theme of entertainment. Another originated at a Ramen shop in Little Tokyo, passing a monument to a Japanese American Astronaut, and then through a pocket park commemorating Christopher Columbus. One particularly thoughtful trail, titled “Exploration of the Township,” traversed the area adjacent North Broadway, including Cathedral High School, Johnson Fain Architecture and San Conrado Catholic Mission, which holds a Native American mass the final Sunday of every month. In addition to assets along the trials, students also identified areas for improvement such as wider sidewalks, enhanced street lighting, graffiti removal, and the addition of bike lanes, rest stops, and vegetation.

All the trails shared a true sense of Los Angeles history and contained surprises even for State Parks staff well versed in local history. Superintendent Woods was particularly pleased by the student projects, noting the, at times, arduous process of obtaining an historic designation for the park site. “It’s so gratifying to see the students embracing the history of the park and carrying on with what State Parks and the advisory committee began ten years ago.” Councilman Ed Reyes must also have been quite impressed. He not only addressed the students but spent time talking to each and every team about their trails. By 7:00 pm, as the evening was winding down, the Councilman was still happily engaged with students and immersed in LA history.

Councilman Ed Reyes addresses students

Great work Franklin!

The Train From “Inception” As Seen From LASHP

Some of you may remember a video of “train” that we posted 11 months ago. At that point we said that we weren’t sure what this was being used for, be it TV or a film. Now after the Christopher Nolan film “Inception” has been released, we realized that this was the train that is seen barreling through Downtown L.A. in the film. So here it is again moving past the park 11 months ago, enjoy!
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/6420012]

Downey Pool Almost Open

Kiddie pool in the fore ground and adult pool behind.

Just across the Los Angeles River from our park, you can find the Downey Rec Center as well as the Downey Pool. The pool that was once in the present pool’s place was shut down in 2006 amid structural problems and sat ignored and derelict. Last June, Councilmen Reyes along with other local dignitaries, broke ground and proclaimed that the pool would open June 20th 2010. Well it looks like that promise has been kept. From what we can see, workers are busy putting the final touches on the new aquatic arena. So once it opens, you can work up a sweat at Los Angeles State Historic Park, hop across the LA river and take a cooling dip at the new Downey pool. We will be sure to keep you updated as to when pool officially opens. Enjoy!
The pool as seen from the North Spring Street Bridge

Sunset

Mondaysunset

Monday Clouds

Monday Clouds

Western Meadowlark

While out on our weekly scout for LASHP’s dog of the week we were lucky to catch a glimpse of an unusually stationary Western Meadowlark. We’ve seen quite a few Meadowlarks in the park recently but not been able to get very satisfying photos. Here, at least we are able to see the striped detail on the feathers, the yellow coloring, and long, pointed bill. So strange that this one did not immediately fly as we approached. Another nester, perhaps?

Mlark1crop

Mlark2crop

Mlark3crop

Backstage LA – Infrastructure in Three Acts

Digesters at Hyperion Treatment Plant
Digesters at Hyperion Treatment Plant

LASHP would like to extend a thank you to the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design for letting us tag along on a tour of the Hyperion Treatment Plant, the first of their three part series, Backstage LA taking a closer look at components of our urban infrastructure that are so often taken for granted. But taking it for granted is actually okay. Infrastructure, as an underlying base or foundation, by it’s very nature is about not being noticed. Infrastructure is about quietly and effectively helping society get on with the bigger business of being civilized. If we are taking it for granted that means it is doing it’s job well. Sewage processing and treatment is one of those most happily dependable and discrete functions. The ability to make human waste invisible with a quick flush, coupled with its sanitary containment and disposal, is nothing short of miraculous when contrasted with the raw state of earlier, or undeveloped, sewage conditions – to say nothing of public health epidemics with which they were (and are) often accompanied.

The Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant is the largest, and oldest waste water treatment facility in Los Angeles, and the largest treatment plant west of the Mississippi. The plant began operating in 1894 initially as a discharge point for raw sewage directly into the Santa Monica Bay. Today, 6,500 miles of pipeline feed 350 million gallons of waste into the plant each day for treatment. Since 1998 the plant has operated as a full secondary treatment plant and was selected as one of the Top Ten Public Works Projects of the 20th Century along with Hoover Dam, the Panama Canal and the Golden Gate Bridge. This distinction marks the plant’s long operational history and progressive technological improvements. Our tour guides, Nancy Carr and Mike Mullen, colorfully equated the massive high-tech facility with another famous regional wonder – “Disneyland for poop” they called it. The two hour tour included a video on plant operations, presentations by Carr and Mullen, a tram tour around the facility, and even a visit to the super-secure underground pipe galleries. Treating the waste from all of Los Angeles is a complex process requiring this vast industrial landscape of giant pipes, containers, tanks, and equipment – digesters, air scrubbers, outfalls – the massive systems of conveyance were striking, as were the successive stations and stages of treatment.

Something important happens here
Something important happens here
...and here
...and here

Mike Mullen pointed out that 1% of funds from capital improvement projects at the facility is allocated to art, and in the most recent case, building facades were the recipient. Apparently local residents preferred that the plant look other than what what it actually does. Interestingly the resulting architecture, exhibits a slightly cartoonish quality.

architecture

Tanks

If you ask me, this bit looks straight out of Bikini Bottom:

Sponge Bob where are you?
Sponge Bob where are you?

In all seriousness, the work that occurs at Hyperion is invaluable to our quality of life in Los Angeles. During the tour, Mr. Mullen pointed out that the whole reason for the plant’s existence and operation was just to the west. Hyperion Treatment Plant exists to protect one of the greatest resources we share as residents of California, the Pacific Ocean. In that respect, Hyperion Treatment Plant and California State Parks are muy simpatico with respect to a shared mission of resource protection. Looking directly across the street to beautiful Dockweiler State Beach, we were offered a moment of seriously not taking it all for granted.

Dockweiler State Beach
Dockweiler State Beach

After such a high-tech sewage adventure, we will leave you with some impressive, low-tech, waste treatment craftiness by Homegrown Evolution. In the event that systems ever do go down, there’s a lot to be said for reliable back up.

Homegrown Evolution's Milk Crate Toilet
Homegrown Evolution's Milk Crate Toilet

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