In 2011, CURes and Friends of Ballona Wetlands began running new outdoor environmental education programs in Ballona Discovery Park utilizing interpretive and interactive panels describing the Times, Tides and Transformations of the Ballona Watershed. The two organizations have been partnering ever since to expand the educational programs and funding sources and to engage urban ecology students from LMU as well as students from universities across the world.
The Ballona Discover Park features a representational model of a watershed, a “Watershed Walk”, which takes the visitor through an estuary, mountains, city, freshwater, saltwater, mudflat, lagoon, ocean, before water from the mountains reaches the sea. The “Willow Walk”, another important feature of the park, leads the visitor from the Watershed Walk to the entrance of a Tongva/Gabrieleno kiiy. In the kiiy, recordings of a Native American actress and singer tell stories about the first Americans of the area, weaving together the history of the Ballona Wetlands and the Greater Los Angeles Area. Other resources include an amphitheater where students gather for presentations, a picnic area, student gardens, and the Riparian Corridor Trail.
CURes and Friends of Ballona Wetlands
Friends of Ballona Wetlands has a long history of providing environmental education programs at the Park; Their educational modules have engaged thousands of visitors over 36 years. LMU and Friends of Ballona Wetlands have worked as a team on education and restoration projects for over 15 years in the Ballona Discovery Park and nearby Ballona Freshwater Marsh. Together, they launched the “Wonders of Wetlands” program, which successfully employs LMU interns.
We provide many underserved schools with bus scholarships to be able to participate in joint education programs offered through CURes and the Friends of Ballona Wetlands.