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Looking Forward: Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust Opens Spaces for Healthier Communities

Enhancing park and open space in the Los Angeles and San Gabriel River watersheds is essential to creating healthy communities for all Angelenos. This is central to the mission of the Council for Watershed Health (CWH). On November 8th, we would like to recognize an organization that not only shares this goal, but has led the way with exceptional work to achieve park equity in Los Angeles Coutny and create healthier urban environments for all communities.

The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust (LANLT) and CWH believe in the potential of natural spaces and natural water features to improve social well-being and bring communities together. LANLT’s work exemplifies the meaning of multiple benefit projects and demonstrates the many ways in which building green spaces can foster safer, cleaner, and healthier communities.

In the past 15 years, the Land Trust has successfully established almost eight acres of green space which serve over 350,000 people and by 2019, the organization will complete five additional parks and gardens, adding nearly 15 additional acres of green space to LA County.

“LANLT serves low-income communities and communities of color. For years we have been teaching residents how best to conserve water especially during dry summer months, encouraging drought tolerant plantings, and incorporating bio-swales into as many projects where possible. I’m thrilled the Land Trust is being recognized as a Next Generation Water Leader, and we look forwarding to carrying forth and growing our impact in this area,” said Tamika Butler, LANLT Executive Director.

Additionally, the Land Trust incorporates green infrastructure into its designs, including Jacaranda Park and West Athens Victory Garden, which have the potential to reduce flooding, water pollution and increase local groundwater supplies. The groundbreaking for Jacaranda Park was held earlier this year - providing a little over 5 acres of green space in South Los Angeles. By improving the associated land, LANLT demonstrates their commitment to a healthier L.A. River Watershed now and for future generations.

“Park disparity is a real problem in this city and Jacaranda Park is one small step - a very important step - towards solving that problem,” said LANLT Board Vice President Belinda Vega during Jacaranda Park’s groundbreaking ceremony.

“I have worked with the LANLT for many years and what has always impressed me is their commiment to building leadership in the community through education. Their work isn’t just about the parks but investing in local leadership development that is necessary to sustain more equitable land management practices over time, - said Wendy Ramallo, Executive Director of CWH., “They set the bar high for others to follow and we are thrilled to be recognizing their achievements.”

LANLT projects and programs invest in the future by incorporating education, skill-building and leadership. Its Gardening Apprenticeship Program educates at-risk youth about nutrition, environmental science, agriculture and watersheds, exposing them to sustainable ideas and providing them with an opportunity to envision a better future. LANLT helps shape leaders who will address quality of life issues within the community, laying the foundation for a promising future.

Join us on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017, as we celebrate another year of impact and the work of water leaders throughout Los Angeles County at the California Science Center Ecosystems Gallery. We will recognize the leadership of the Honorable Mel Levine, President, LADWP Board of Commissioners; the next generation of water leaders, Thomas Wong, San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Board President and David Diaz Avelar, Social Innovation Director at Day One; and open-space champion, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.

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