The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Sustainability Committee met Tuesday. Chairperson Julie Stromberg is stepping down, so longtime committee member Dan Kegel chaired the meeting.
The meeting started with three bits of news. First, as Kegel reported, the Public Comment Period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report on the City’s proposed Sidewalk Repair Program has been extended to April 24th, and the Committee is drafting a comment. Second, the Committee’s Community Impact Statement in support of City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s motion to reduce City pension funds’ exposure to climate-change-associated risks should be back on the GWNC agenda for March 11. And third, Committee Member Cathy Roberts reported that the GWNC’s 2020 Garden Tour has been scheduled for May 31st, and the committee is currently looking for gardens to showcase.
The next step in that effort, Stromberg said, will be a “bioblitz,” which she is organizing at Robert L. Burns park on Saturday, April 11. At the event, residents will look for local plants and insects in the park and document them using the iNaturalist app. The observations are automatically added to the GWNC Biodiversity Program database and contribute to the Los Angeles Biodiversity Index. (And who knows – maybe someone will discover a new species. As the Buzz reported back in 2015, it’s happened before!)
Beyond just taking stock of our wildlife, the project aims to support it by preserving natural habitats. Last month, the GWNC board approved Stromberg’s motion to apply for GWNC to become a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. At this week’s meeting, the Committee heard a presentation from Windsor Square resident Calli Goldstein about we have to do to earn that certification. A big part of it is helping residents certify their own gardens by landscaping with native plants, eliminating pesticides, reducing water usage, and removing invasive plants.
Another big part of the certification process is community outreach, such as conducting garden tours that feature climate-appropriate plants, or educational workshops to teach residents about sustainable gardening practices and how to certify their own backyards and gardens (or even balconies).
Stromberg said she hopes the committee can engage the residents of GWNC to certify as many backyards, schools and green spaces as possible within the GWNC boundaries.
“The NWF program really values education and outreach in the community,” explained Goldstein, who recently graduated with degrees in ecology and environmental science. She offered to help the committee reach out to local schools as well as contact members of the Hancock Park Garden Club, many of whom have gardens that could be easily certified.
The committee plans to update the GWNC board on the certification effort at the board’s March 11 meeting. If you’d like more information about the NWF certification effort, or would like to be part of the team working on it, please contact [email protected].