Here with the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, Earth Day is every day! Since 1978, the Friends have been advocating for and protecting L.A.’s last coastal wetlands and inviting the community to get involved and learn more. In honor of Earth Month, and Earth Day on April 22, we encourage you to celebrate by being part of your community and helping your favorite local environmental efforts. If you’re interested in supporting the Friends, read our top five ways to commemorate our favorite eco-friendly month below:
1. Plant Your Name and Adopt-a- Plant!
During April, when you donate $25 or more, the Friends’ staff and volunteers will plant a native plant or tree in your honor. Each donation will include a personalized sign that may include a name and a short message. Once created and planted, our team will send you a picture of your personalized sign and sponsored plant.
Plant your own name, or honor all the special people in your life, there’s no limit to how many plants you can dedicate! We love seeing everyone’s creativity when it comes to their dedications. Don’t forget to post your picture online to help spread the word. Sponsor a plant at ballonafriends.org/earth-month.
2. Attend our Earth Day Community Habitat Restoration.
There’s no better way to support Earth Month and the Friends than rolling up your sleeves and volunteering at one of our community events. We rely on volunteers to help champion our efforts to remove non-native plants from the wetlands and clean up the litter at the water’s edge along Ballona Creek. We offer many opportunities to volunteer each month, and this month, we are opening the event up to more people than ever to help clear as much invasive vegetation as possible! Volunteering is recommended for those ages 7 and up. Please bring gardening gloves and a full water bottle to stay hydrated. Visit our Community Events Calendar to register to give a helping hand at ballonafriends.org/community-events.
3. Advocate for the future of Ballona.
Make your voice heard this month by signing our Restoration Support Letter and sending your local elected officials an email advocating for the Ballona Wetland’s restoration plan. We need support from State, County and City officials. The wetlands belong to all Angelenos and will be our legacy to future generations.
To learn more about restoration efforts, please visit ballonafriends.org/restoring-Ballona.
Locally, some of our elected officials include: California State Senator Ben Allen, California State Assemblymember Tina McKinnor, L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell and Councilmember Traci Park. Visit their websites and head to their contact pages to learn the best way to reach them. Councilmember Park can be emailed at email@example.com.
4. Take a Tour at the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve.
Become more familiar with the sensitive and unique habitat that is Los Angeles’ last coastal wetland. We offer regular tours of the Freshwater Marsh and the Saltwater Marsh led by knowledgeable docents. During the tour, you, your family and friends can learn more about Ballona Wetlands’ rich cultural history and diverse ecosystem. Reserve your spot at ballonafriends.org/community-events.
5. Learn about & Grow Native Plants this Spring!
Make a difference and help save area wildlife by planting local native plants in your yard, balcony or patio. It’s easier than you think to help positively contribute to the habitats of pollinators like hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and moths. If you’re looking for guidance with your native garden, join the Theodore Payne Foundation’s Native Garden Tour on April 15 and 16. For the first time, Playa Vista’s Ballona Discovery Park has been selected to be featured on the annual tour. On April 15, leaders with LMU’s Center of Urban Resilience will be on hand to welcome visitors and answer questions. The park, which includes a plethora of native plants and a medicinal garden, is a partnership between the Friends, LMU and Playa Vista. Grab your ticket to learn tips and tricks to create and maintain beautiful native gardens from the pros! RSVP at nativeplantgardentour.org.
Contributed by Alex Elias. Alexis Elias is the Manager of Communications and Community Engagement for the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, a nonprofit located in Playa del Rey with the mission to champion the restoration and protection of the wetlands while educating the community as stewards of nature.
Even more ways to support Earth Day this month:
- Adopt a Tree. Did you know the trees along Sepulveda Blvd. or not maintained by the city, but instead cared for by local nonprofit Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association? This month, they’re inviting the community to help them keep this major thoroughfare green and beautiful by adopting a tree! The Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation is matching donations up to $5,000 in honor of Earth Day. Learn more at https://www.westchesterstreetscape.org/sponsorATree.html.
- Participating in a Beach Clean Up. The Department of Beaches and Harbors has teamed up with Heal the Bay for a Kids’ Beach Clean Up at Dockweiler Beach on Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to noon. Families can check in at the Dockweiler Youth Center at 12505 Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey, and then after the clean up, enjoy a traveling tide pool and an arts & crafts station. This event is meant to inspire the next generation to get thinking about the environment. Learn more at beaches.lacounty.gov.
- Write a poem. The Book Jewel is honoring Earth Month with a poetry contest for kids. Poets are encouraged to write a haiku, sonnet, ode, limerick or free verse, limited to one page. A hard copy of the poem must be submitted to the store at 6259 W. 87th St. in Westchester by April 12 at 8 p.m. to be considered. If selected, get ready to read at the book shop’s Eco-Poetry Celebration on Sunday, April 16 at 11:30 a.m. Readers that are selected will receive a gift card to the Book Jewel.