It is with a great deal of enthusiasm and not a little bit of pride that I welcome you to our new website at the LMU Center for Urban Resilience. Over the past four months, our new Programs and Communications Director, Ms. Laurel Hunt, along with Ben Sullivan from University Relations and the Sense Company web development team have been crafting our new face to the public.
The new CURes website features sections for each or our programs, plus downloadable resources, such as our UrbanEcoLab curriculum and latest publications. The site hosts social media and will serve as a hub for the wide range of CURes projects in Los Angeles and beyond. So, whether your interests are community engagement, research, teaching, fellowships – we have something for you. In addition, I hope that you will give us feedback as the goal of this website if to serve our stakeholders, which are as diverse s the city itself. Our mission is to use the scholarship and models of urban ecology to empower urban residents so that they can help make their neighborhoods more sustainable and resilient.
Two of our current research projects are featured in the blog. First, Dr. Michele Romolini, who is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CURes, is working with support from the USDA Forest Service to create a interactive map of all of the environmental resource stewardship providers in Los Angeles. This project, called StewMap, provides an online resource for communities seeking to plan or implement environmental initiatives. The map helps stakeholders discover what agencies and organizations are working on in their neighborhood and what services they are providing. These data are helpful in the planning and coordinating of existing and future projects. Dr. Romolini comes to us from The University of Vermont, where she recently completed her PhD under the direction of Dr. Morgan Grove and developed StewMaps for Baltimore and Seattle.
Second, Dr. William Lynn, from Clark University who serves CURes as a Senior Fellow in Policy and Ethics is leading a research project on the ethics and ecology of feral cats in Los Angeles. Domestic and feral cats living outdoors is a hot button issue in American cities as animal control authorities struggle to manage the impacts of this recent addition to the predator population of urban neighborhoods. Efforts across the country are aimed at balancing the functional and ethical aspects of cat management. In Los Angeles alone, tens of thousands of cats are euthanized each year in an attempt to alter the population. We are joined in this effort by groups and government agencies from across Los Angeles and by research collaborators from Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Watch our website for upcoming public symposia that we will be hosting on urban wildlife issues, including outdoor cats, coyotes and wetland restoration.
Let me close with an invitation to become a part of the CURes family. Peruse our website and review the projects. With support from a wide range of funders, including the National Science Foundation, The U.S. Department of Education, The Annenberg Foundation, The Collins Foundation, The County of Los Angeles and other, we have undertaken programs ranging from urban biodiversity, water quality and remote sensing to restorative justice, Mediterranean climate mitigation and science education. We look forward to hearing from you and continuing our efforts to serve the needs of urban stakeholders.
Eric Strauss, Ph.D., is Presidents Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Urban Resilience at Loyola Marymount University. His work focuses on urban ecology, urban predators, science education, and the resilience of cities in the face of environmental change.