Friday, November 06, 2009

Reyes, Federal Fish and Wildlife, Bring Wilderness to Pico-Union School

November 6, 2009

Contact: Monica Valencia/Reyes (213) 280-0740,
Mary Loquvam/Audubon (323) 664-1294,

Councilmember Ed P. Reyes will join hundreds of K-5 students, families, Audubon and Los Angeles Unified friends tomorrow, Saturday, November 7, to transform a Pico-Union school yard into a lush ecosystem of oak woodland, vernal pools, and grassland just blocks from the 10 freeway. The event will take place from 10 a.m.-Noon at the Leo Politi Elementary School yard, 2481 West Eleventh St., Los Angeles, CA 90006.
"Together we are transforming 6,000 square feet of school yard into an urban oasis in Pico-Union, one of the most park poor communities in Los Angeles," said Reyes.
Reyes will join about 400 people to plant native oak and sycamore trees, wild grasses and plants, helping to protect and restore Coastal Sage Scrub, a plant community unique to Southern California that has been drastically reduced due to urbanization.
Los Angeles Audubon helped Leo Politi secure a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service School Yard Habitat Grant of $18,000 for the project. The School Yard Habitat Program is a new one for the Fish & Wildlife Service and Leo Politi is the program’s inaugural school in Southern California, and a model for other schools in Los Angeles.
Leo Politi Elementary lies in the Pico-Union neighborhood, one of the City’s densest neighborhoods. Yet since its construction in 1991, the school has emerged as an urban oasis for its 818 pre-K-5 students, their families, the community, and hundreds of birds-some resident, some migratory. The 8-acre campus is home to more than 200 trees and the planting of trees has been part of the school’s culture since ground was broken.
The school’s vision is one which began with its namesake, Leo Politi, a Caldecott Award winning author of children’s books. When Leo moved to L.A. in the late 1920s, he embraced the city’s multiculturalism, children, history, flora and fauna. Leo focused his artistic eye on the City’s urban parks and the wonders found within them. The school seeks to fulfill Leo’s dream of making this city a peaceful, safe and happy place for its youngest citizens-a place where their imaginations can run wild and where they can explore all the wonders of the natural world.

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