Students plant native species and help maintain local ecosystem – The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle


Environmental club students and Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science students removed invasive weeds and planted native California plants with Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) and the California Native Plant Society in Sepulveda Basin on December 11. The community service event took place after FoLAR’s director of education, Dennis Mabasa, gave a presentation to students on environmental careers on November 29.

The community service event provided an opportunity for students to learn more about their city’s environment and to complete several hours of their annual 12-hour community service obligation.

Mabasa provided an overview of the field of environmental science and hosted a question-and-answer session with the students. Students had the option to go inside the River Rover, which is a mobile interactive exhibit curated by FoLAR, after the presentation was completed.
Ellingson said he hopes attendees recognize the importance of plants to their area.

“I think it is important for residents of [Los Angeles] to gain some personal appreciation of the value of the city’s green and relatively natural spaces to our communities, ”said Ellingson.

Environmental Club co-leader Chloe Appel ’23 said she wanted those in attendance to understand the number of environmental benefits that come with maintaining healthy ecosystems.

“I hope community members who attend FoLAR events understand how to restore the presence of native plants around [Los Angeles] can be incredibly beneficial, not only for the environment, the plants and animals we live with, but also for us, ”said Appel. “I hope seeing how easy and fun it can be to help our community will help motivate students to continue doing more community service as well.”

Appel said working with professional organizations is helping efforts to restore native California plants and species to their natural habitats.

“I think the partnership with FoLAR and the California Native Plant Society always makes the event very fluid because there are so many people out there to help you with whatever you need,” said Appel. “We can cover a lot more ground with all the different people, which makes it much easier to see big results in such a short amount of time. “

Environmental Club co-leader Maya Mathur ’22 said the journey Mabasa has come to this day has helped her realize that an environmental career can be accomplished without the training many of people consider it necessary.

“I already knew that I was interested in a career in the environment, but I think [Mabasa’s presentation] made me understand that [careers in the environmental field] are more accessible, ”said Mathur. “It’s possible to have a career in the environment and not necessarily a major in environmental science in college. “


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