Student volunteers have always been a part of Friends of Griffith Park, but this year we have seen a large increase in the number of students and schools providing valuable community service; student volunteers are coming from John Marshall High School, Immaculate High School, King Middle School, Zoo Magnet High School, Brio College Prep School, Sonia Sotomayor High School, and many other Park-adjacent schools.
After the 2007 Griffith Park fire, students from John Marshall School Environmental Studies Academy began planting native trees and shrubs in Fern Canyon to help restore the area back to a lush, seasonal riparian area with a beautiful nature walk. Earlier, students studied the area soil and developed a plant palette incorporating native trees and shrubs that would thrive in the existing canyon vegetation. Once the plants were purchased (with assistance from FoGP), they were carried into the canyon. After they were planted, chicken wire was placed around these new plants with identifying tags which included the common and scientific names.
For the last 12 years, hundreds of students from Marshall High and other nearby schools have gone up to Fern Canyon to water these plants. Since there is no water system in Fern Canyon, FoGP works with the Park Rangers to coordinate parking a water truck at the top of the canyon so students can fill buckets and hand-water the plants throughout hot summer months. Additionally, to cut down on evaporation, students weed and mulch the plants. This is an ongoing project that always needs helping hands.
This year, students from area schools have also participated in other Park projects: from planting 15 trees in Fern Dell, 20 sycamore trees near LA Live Steamers, and more than 150 native shrubs along the Anza National Historic Trail next to the Wilson Harding Golf Course. They’ve removed invasive plants from other Park areas including Captain’s Roost and the Bird Sanctuary, and have mulched trees in Park Central and Crystal Springs. Zoo Magnet students recently cleaned up the campus-adjacent native garden to create an outdoor environmental laboratory.
FoGP thanks all these students, teachers, and parents who work tirelessly to make the Park we all love a shining example of an urban wilderness environment.
Is your school interested in getting involved in the many FoGP projects that take place throughout the year? Go to our website at friendsofgriffithpark.org and send an email to our Volunteer Coordinators Laura Howe and Ross Arnold. Follow FoGP on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with Park activities so you, and your school can volunteer with us! Hope to see you out in the Park!
photo: Students from the Zoo Magnet School show off their recent garden laboratory.