Today is the Autumn Equinox, and summer has officially come to an end. We hope you enjoyed our #SummerScienceFriday posts as much as we enjoyed sharing our mission to advance the health and sustainability of our watersheds. Part of our Watershed Connections Science Initiative, this series of posts aimed to inspire readers to learn more about the many ways water impacts the health of our community, the role we all play in environmental stewardship, and to foster an appreciation for our Los Angeles River watershed, which is very much alive.
The Summer Science Friday series provided simple educational tools to help the public learn more about our urban watershed and their relationship to it. Our series covered a wide range of topics, such as water quality basics in the context of water chemistry and ecosystem health; climate change and what that means for the Greater Los Angeles area looking forward; and the water-energy nexus. As climate change and urban runoff impact our water resources, becoming better water stewards, conserving water (and thus energy), and advancing sustainable practices such as stormwater capture become more and more relevant actions that people can take on an individual level to make a difference. In a video-blog, our staff shared a fun, interactive activity to make your own green infrastructure and also explained how these sustainable structures clean water in an urban environment.
Summer Science Fridays focused on bringing the Los Angeles River watershed to life for Angelenos. By identifying species of animals, plants, and insects that live on the river, a deep sense of appreciation can be developed for the life that the river supports. You can connect with your watershed through:
The most exciting part of Summer Science Fridays for CWH staff was how young people chose to take the lead in watershed stewardship. Through our internship program and partnerships with universities—such as UCLA, Occidental, and CSUN—we are training the future water leaders of Los Angeles as they take part in meaningful work that will impact the future health of the Los Angeles River. The report card framework, created by UCLA students, aims to present the current health of the watershed in an engaging way for stakeholders and the public (You can view a video summary of their project here). These types of projects are vital for the development of sustainable water management practices and policies. Similarly, the Los Angeles River Watershed Monitoring Program (LARWMP) 2015 Annual Report and summary aim to inform the public and stakeholders about the conditions and trends of the Los Angeles River Watershed and about the safety of recreating in certain areas. LARWMP is a tool for education, outreach, better decision-making, and stronger planning efforts. The information it collects serves to protect human health while also contributing to the scientific understanding of the watershed’s response to pollution, human alteration, drought, and climate change.
There is still so much to learn on the topics of urban watersheds, environmental health, and sustainable water management, and many benefits to be felt in our communities when we do so together. Our goals are to enhance the economic, social, and ecological health of the region’s watersheds through education, research, and inclusive stakeholder engagement. Summer Science Fridays were just a snapshot of what fulfilling this mission looks like, and from here we hope you will continue Looking Forward with us. Please join us at our Fall Fundraiser on Wednesday, November 8th, when we will celebrate our water champions and water leaders of the future.