Earth Month activities organized by Ballona Institute
The Playa del Rey-based Ballona Institute celebrated Earth Month with a series of activities that engaged local neighborhoods in learning about the environment and helping to be good stewards of nature in the Ballona Valley, which includes the Ballona Wetlands, Lagoons, Creek and associated upland habitats.
Three events were planned on April 20 and 27 and more than 150 community members took part.
One of the April 20 events involved members of the LAX Area Democratic Club who were given a brief tour of “The Purple Lath House” at Westchester Enriched Sciences High School, where the Ballona Institute works with the school’s garden club to plant and nurture native plants. After the student leaders from the garden club met the democratic club leaders, they selected plants and traveled to the Ballona Wetlands where plants were planted in an area that has been nurtured by Ballona Institute and numerous community groups.
The Sierra Club’s Ballona Wetlands Restoration Committee also participated in this event.
Also on April 20, the inaugural “Foliage and Feathers Walk” was held in Mar Vista as part of the Green Garden Showcase, in which biologist and Ballona Institute President Robert “Roy” van de Hoek led a tour and spoke about the wide variety of trees and birds that were present along the walk. He informed those on the tours about where some of the trees originally were imported from and talked about the relationship of these trees to native birds and other fauna in the neighborhood.
Other activities were held on April 27 at the Ballona Wetlands Grand Canal Lagoon, where dozens of new residents of Latitude 33 in Marina del Rey joined with Ballona Institute to kick off the Grand Canal Lagoon Guardians, a new group that will be working alongside the natural lagoon twice each month to provide stewardship and care to the recently restored habitat.
The residents visited the Westside Global Awareness Magnet K-8 school, where Ballona Institute is working in partnership with teachers to provide outdoor classroom education, as well as a native plant nursery along the lagoon, which is immediately adjacent to the school.
The volunteers helped clean up the lagoon area, pulled out non-native weeds, trimmed overgrowth from the adjacent walk path and planted some native Giant Gumplants.
As part of each of these activities, Ballona Institute made available water conservation information provided by the Los Angeles Deptartment of Water and Power and educated participants about the water and energy conservation benefits of using native plants.