The LA Parks Foundation has begun implementation of its LA Parks Forest initiative with the installation of two mini forests; one at Lemon Grove Park in Hollywood and another at Mar Vista Recreation Center in Mar Vista.
“The Park Forest Initiative adds small “forests” to city parks throughout L.A. to offset our carbon footprint, cool surface air temperatures, and educate the public about climate change. Sponsors will have the opportunity to plant groupings of climate-appropriate trees for all Angelenos to enjoy,” announced the Parks Foundation website. “In partnership with Mayor Eric Garcetti, we hope to plant thousands of new trees citywide in the coming years.”
“At Lemon Grove, we installed six jacarandas and six Shumardi oaks (a species of oak which has scarlet foliage in fall) in the picnic area in October,” LA Parks Foundation Executive Director Carolyn Ramsay told the Buzz. “The trees will cool surface air temperatures, clean the air, mitigate noise from the 101 Freeway which abuts this park, protect wildlife and provide a long list of other benefits. The community was very enthusiastic about this project.”
Funds were provided by donor Leeor Maciborski, who dedicated the forest to his parents with a plaque on a new bench facing the trees.
In addition, the LA Parks Foundation has installed 20 trees of varying species at Mar Vista Recreations Center, with funds provided through an annual gift from nearby Windward School.
Ramsay told the Buzz that the organization has also funded four others small forest projects including adding new olive trees to augment the original historic installation at Barnsdall Art Park. In Griffith Park, a small forest will be planted near the Griffith Observatory, and Ross Snyder Park in South LA will get a dozen trees installed in early 2021.
The fourth project that will take root next year is a special demonstration forest planned near the Bette Davis Picnic Area,abutting the LA Equestrian Center, with funding provided by the Hancock Park Garden Club.
“Modeled after the Miyawaki method of afforestation, this park forest will use strictly local, indigenous species arranged in a dense planting with various layers of vegetation (e.g. understory, shrub, tree and overstory trees) planted side by side to provide a thick, impenetrable quality over time,” wrote the Hancock Park Garden Club’s projects coordinator, Michaela Burschinger, on the club’s blog. “The resulting self-managing forest is said to require zero maintenance after two years and will be a treasure for local wildlife, children, students and the landscape design community.”
This is an extremely important project because it serves as an experiment for Los Angeles City Parks, explained Ramsay. This is the first such demonstration project in California and if it’s successful, the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks could plant these native installations throughout the city, helping to restore native habitat and reduce the heavy cost our non-native plant installation required, she added.
“The Department is very excited about this demonstration project,” Ramsay told the Buzz. “It also dovetails very nicely with the work the Hancock Park Garden Club has been doing in our local neighborhoods to promote the use of native plants in our own gardens and yards.
Ramsay’s work is concentrated in areas of the city that need shade. Donors who are interested in supporting the work of the Parks Foundation can underwrite the cost of a mini forest for $25,000. These funds enable the foundation to purchase 12 large mature trees, usually in 24-inch boxes and often over 12 feet tall, with two years of monthly maintenance including deep watering, weed and pest abatement. (After two years, the plantings become self-sustaining.)
If you are looking or the perfect gift for someone who has everything, consider supporting the work of the Parks Foundation in their honor. It’s a wonderful tribute and a great improvement in our city and our planet.
How wonderful to learn of the mini forests. Trees are essential to the ecology and provide life-giving oxygen and pollution mitigation by filtration with their foliage, as well as vital shade for a warming planet.
In addition to this, trees give us views of greenery and provide peace to our troubled lives.
Hug a tree and feel its soul.