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Panel 2 Spotlight: Schools & Stormwater Symposium

Get an A in the Safe Clean Water Program

On Thursday May 19th, Council for Watershed Health in partnership with LA County Watershed Coordinators will host the Schools and Stormwater Symposium: A Multi-benefit Opportunity. Our exciting event will highlight how collaboration between school districts and water agencies can reimagine schoolyards as a site for broader community wellness and change. It underscores the importance of utilizing schoolyards as viable sites for stormwater project development with multiple community benefits and how to capitalize on the Safe Clean Water Program (Measure W).

Panel 2 will spotlight three inspiring case studies of school stormwater capture and greening projects that catalyzed positive change for student and community wellness. Panelists will discuss their respective project processes of site identification, fostering partnerships, acquiring funding, community-led design, project operation sustainability, and developing curriculum connections. They will describe the process of successfully securing Safe, Clean Water Program funding for these impressive projects. We will also learn about a Living Schoolyard Proposal study underway. We will celebrate their project successes, discuss the lessons learned, and be inspired by the power of collaboration and innovation!

Join us and be inspired to reimagine your local community!

Facilitator – Clarasophia Gust, she/her

Watershed Coordinator

Council for Watershed Health

Clarasophia is a Watershed Coordinator at the Council for Watershed Health for the Upper Los Angeles River. Through this role, Clarasophia strives to support and facilitate partnerships between groups working to create just, livable, climate resilient communities. Clarasophia brings to her role a background in ecology and community-based research methods as well as experience in water quality monitoring, stormwater technical assistance, and translating technical and scientific information into accessible outreach materials. Clarasophia sees opportunity through L.A. County's Safe Clean Water Program to build partnerships between school districts and water agencies to green school campuses and benefit the health of our kids, families, school staff, and broader community through designing for stormwater capture.

Tashanda Giles-Jones, she/her

Environmental Educator

Environmental Charter School

Tashanda is an environmental educator currently teaching at Environmental Charter Middle School Inglewood. She is cultivating a network of school stakeholders, like-minded community partners, eco-focused organizations, and activists eager to support the environmental learning and growth of urban youth in Los Angeles, California.

Claire Robinson, she/her

Managing Director

Amigos de los Rios

The Emerald Necklace Natural Infrastructure Group

For past 20 years, Claire has lead Amigos’ collaborative work with federal, state, county, municipal agencies, school districts, peer nonprofits and coalitions to outline a Landscape Scale Vision for the Los Angeles Basin from ‘Mountains to Sea’ –and implement demonstration community based projects inspired by first peoples knowledge of the land and by the 1929 Olmsted Bartholomew Plan for the LA Basin. Since 2003, they have trained over 250 natural infrastructure youth practitioners, hosted thousands of urban Emerald Necklace Watershed Stewards participation in Emerald Necklace Projects and implemented over 35 urban forestry, multi benefit park, trail, River Greenway and School Greening projects. They advocate for systematic ‘natural infrastructure’ investment in public school campuses so that school communities will benefit from the correlated mental health, academic performance, physical fitness, ecosystem service and climate resilience benefits of urban greening.

Donna Tran P.E., she/her

Associate Civil Engineer

Los Angeles County Public Works

Donna is a California-licensed Associate Civil Engineer for Los Angeles County Public Works. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and Master’s in Civil Engineering at California State University of Long beach. Her experience includes 7 years of designing a variety of water quality, stormwater capture and flood control infrastructure projects. Currently, she is managing the development of capital improvement projects that aims to improve water quality throughout the Los Angeles County region.

Ariel Lew Ai Le Whitson, she/her

Director of Organizing & Education


Ariel leads and manages TreePeople’s environmental education, water equity and urban greening community organizing departments. Her teams mobilize community-members across Southern California, with a focus on environmentally and economically stressed communities who have faced historical environmental injustice, in actively participating in initiatives focused on climate change solutions, reforestation, water security, fire resilience, urban soils and planting a healthy urban tree canopy. This includes supporting teachers and youth to take action in their communities through hands-on, science-based activities. She has extensive experience in managing programmatic and legislative initiatives, fundraising, and marketing campaigns. She also serves on the Board of Literacy for Environmental Justice.

This symposium was made possible through the collaboration of Watershed Coordinators in LA County. Represented organizations include Council for Watershed Health, Day One, Heal the Bay, Melina Sempill Watts Consulting LLC, and TreePeople


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