2020 has been a difficult year; though some activities have been curtailed because of the pandemic, FoGP continued to advocate, support, educate and serve Griffith Park and the people who love it.
Highlights of 2020
Here are some of our accomplishments:
- Continuing the opposition to the proposed aerial tram.
FoGP is loudly advocating with other local and national environmental groups against a proposed aerial tram that will destroy open space as well as disturb the Park’s wildlife and native habitat.
- Canyon Drive land purchase.
With support from private donors, CD 4 and neighborhood associations, FoGP spearheaded the purchase of two privately owned lots next to the Bronson Canyon entrance to Griffith Park to be placed in permanent conservancy. The purchase will help protect wildlife and oak-laden native habitat in a park adjacent area.
- Rodenticide Bill passage.
FoGP joined forces with other environmental groups within the State to support the passage of AB 1788 which places a moratorium on second generation rodenticides in California. AB 1788 became law on September 29 and will reduce the unintentional poisoning of our wildlife.
- Restored Fern Dell bridge unveiled.
FoGP planned and engineered the restoration of the Fern Dell pedestrian bridge, and erected the wrought iron fence with a matching grant. Now, pedestrians will no longer be forced onto the roadway when crossing over Fern Dell creek.
- Raptor Study.
FoGP sponsored and successfully ran the fourth annual Raptor Study, attracting an unprecedented number of volunteers who monitored and documented the nests of more than 180 breeding pairs and their offspring. The study is receiving national attention.
- Online Lecture Series.
Free Zoom events from FoGP welcomed guests to learn about the Raptor Study from survey leaders, the connection between insects and plants, the history of housing individuals inside Griffith Park with historian Mike Eberts; and author talk with Casey Scheiner about his newly published book Discovering Griffith Park: A Local’s Guide.
- Virtual events.
Working with the National Wildlife Federation, FoGP co-sponsored the fourth annual P-22 Day in October, a celebration of urban wildlife. Additionally FoGP hosted a town hall with Rep. Adam Schiff who answered questions about the environment and the future of Griffith Park.
- Creating 18 giant banners.
To remind visitors of the importance of wearing masks and socially distancing within the Park, FoGP designed and printed up 18 giant banners for RAP to place strategically in and around the Park.
- Pre-pandemic volunteer events/field trip.
In the early winter months, FoGP – with the support from LA RAP, planted numerous trees and native plants in Fern Dell and the Bird Sanctuary. FoGP also lead trash walks with volunteers doing their part to keep the Park litter-free. Additionally, FoGP organized a field trip with ecologist Jorge Ochoa who led a hike into the Park to discuss how environments recover after fire.
Above: Fern Dell bridge construction © Gerry Hans, all rights reserved
2020 Header Photo: Lupine © Brenda Rees, all rights reserved
Friends of Griffith Park had a busy year inside the Park and behind the scenes working on behalf of this urban wilderness area. We are grateful for our volunteers and partners who joined with us this year.
Highlights of 2019
Here are some of our accomplishments for 2019:
- Preserving Fern Dell
Through a successful funding campaign and generous matching grants, FoGP invested a quarter of a million dollars to study and support the restoration of Fern Dell. FoGP provided funds for a structural engineer and preservation architect for a new pedestrian bridge that harkens back to the area’s 1920 roots.
- Raising awareness of rodenticides
FoGP joined forces with other statewide nature-advocacy groups in support of banning the most dangerous of rodenticides (rat poisons) which often results in death to owls, hawks, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions. AB1788 has passed the California Assembly and cleared nearly all committees and, with continued support from the public, may be voted into law in 2020.
- Sponsoring science studies
FoGP sponsored numerous ongoing scientific studies that provide field research, data and recommendations facing Griffith Park’s wildlife. Our Raptor Survey – which kicked off in 2017 – continued this year gaining more volunteer participation.
- Filming guidelines.
FoGP worked with the Griffith Park Advisory Board to create guidelines for how film production companies can safely use the Park as a site location. Scientific data, including seasonal raptor nesting sites, was incorporated into the report.
- Planting native trees and plants
An ever-growing group of volunteers kept Griffith Park green through FoGP-hosted planting and follow-up watering and mulching events.
- Introducing children to nature with Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) hikes
With Sierra Club partner, FoGP has given 3,500+ students from Title 1 Schools in low income areas an outdoor experience in Griffith Park on more than 100 hikes since 2011. FoGP donated to the Sierra Club to pay for the buses so these hikes are free.
- Establishing the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail historical signage/native garden
To commemorate the historic 1775 expedition that walked from Mexico to San Francisco, which included a camping stopover in current day Griffith Park, FoGP worked with the NPS and RAP to create interpretive signs; FoGP also partnered with Grown in LA to create a native plant garden near the Crystal Springs parking lot.
- Educating public with lectures, walks, workshops
FoGP presented opportunities to learn more about the animals and plants of Griffith Park as well as historical events. The 2019 Lecture Series held at the Los Feliz Library included a discussion on fire ecology as it relates to Griffith Park fires, an update on FoGP’s Raptor Survey and seed conservation. Annual bird walks included Bird LA Day in early May as well as the Christmas Bird Count.
2019 Photo: © Kathryn Louyse, all rights reserved
2018 was a great year for Griffith Park as volunteers achieved a number of projects designed to help this Park not just survive, but prosper!
Highlights of 2018
On March 18, thirty-nine volunteers mulched native plants and cleaned up trash in the Fern Dell area. On March 27, volunteers worked with John Marshall High School students to plant trees near the former Bird Sanctuary and on March 28, volunteers and students worked to mulch plants in the upper Fern Dell area.
In late April, in honor of Earth Day, Friends of Griffith Park volunteers planted 30 trees in the Cedar Grove area. The following week volunteers worked with students from the Zoo Magnet to plant trees in Park Central and mulch trees in Crystal Springs.
On May 12, volunteers and John Marshall HS students watered native plants in Fern Canyon.
In early June, twenty volunteers came together to plant Toyon on illegal trails leading to Mt. Hollywood in an effort to prevent further erosion to this area. On June 9, volunteers and John Marshall HS students again came together for a watering in Fern Canyon. On June 10, volunteers and Troop 10 Boy Scouts watered plants in the upper Fern Dell area. This troop continued to water plants every two weeks from June through September in order to help protect the young trees during the drought. On June 21, volunteers joined The Neilson Group in weeding plants in Fern Canyon.
On July 14, volunteers watered the Fern Canyon native plantings.
On September 13, volunteers from The Nielson Group once again descended into Fern Dell to pick up trash along trails. On Sept. 22, volunteers came into the Old Zoo to paint out graffiti and pick up trash along some of the well-traveled trails. And on Sept. 24, to honor the work done by Boy Scout Troop 10, a pizza party was organized by Friends of Griffith Park and the scouts were presented with a Conservation Good Turn Certificate from the Boy Scouts Organization as well as a Certificate of Appreciation from CD 4 Councilman’s office.
On November 17, volunteers mulched the newly planted trees and also cleaned up trash in the NYC Picnic Areas.
In early December, students from the Zoo Magnet and volunteers mulched trees in Park Central. On Dec. 8, volunteers descended into Fern Canyon to again mulch the native plants. On Dec. 17 and 18, John Marshall HS students, volunteers and RAP maintenance did a massive tree maintenance and planting of new natives, weeding and elimination of non-natives and gave the Captain’s Roost area a well-deserved watering.
And to everyone who joined in these endeavors, we thank you for your tremendous service to Griffith Park and look forward to even more in 2019!
2018 Photo: © Brenda Rees, all rights reserved
During 2017, Friends of Griffith Park continued to make positive impacts on behalf of the Park as a place for urban wildlife and native plant life, and also for the people who seek to enjoy the message of nature in the city.
Highlights of Year 2017
- In keeping with Col. Griffith’s goal to have Griffith Park free and open to all,
FoGP co-sponsored a rally to keep Beachwood Canyon Gate open. We filed a Motion to Intervene and later a separate lawsuit to follow the judge’s order that public access be provided as close to the gate as practicable.
- FoGP provided input to the Observatory Traffic Plan and to the Access and Mobility Study
to address congestion around the Hollywood Sign.
- FoGP paid for the removal of an abandoned water tank
which encouraged Rec and Park to dismantle other abandoned water tanks throughout the Park.
- Friends of Griffith Park
provided direction for new trail signage in the interior of the Park.
- FoGP’s first Raptor Nesting Survey
was completed in 2017.
- FoGP worked with the Boy Scouts
to repair a small pedestrian bridge in lower Fern Dell.
- Friends of Grifith Park
co-sponsored a coyote hazing workshop to teach local residents how to co-exist with coyotes and keep them wild.
- FoGP partnered with the Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors
program whose purpose is to introduce students to the benefits of the outdoors by taking them on hikes in Griffith Park.
- FoGP hosted a Bird LA Day
site/walk in Fern Dell as well as a mushroom survey in the northwest area of the park.
- FoGP was represented at several environmental fairs
in the LA Zoo and NBC Universal, highlighting the dangers of rodenticide use.
- Friends of Griffith Park sponsored talks
at the Los Feliz Library on the raptor survey, the origin of parks, and the fire of 1933.
- FoGP co-hosted a screening
of The Cat that Changed America with the L.A. Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
- FoGP co-sponsored the second annual P-22 Day
to highlight hazards faced by wildlife living in urban areas and raise awareness for the need of a wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon.
- FoGP hosted a launch party for the P-22 Coloring Book
at the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round.
- FoGP participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count
sponsored by Audubon.
- Friends of Griffith Park with support from LA Rec and Parks
planted numerous trees in Fern Dell, Pecan Grove, and in the NYC 1&2 picnic areas. On Earth Day 140 volunteers planted 150 small trees using a new technology to supply the young trees with water designed to get them through the summer.
- FoGP again hosted Friends of the Los Angeles River’s
(FoLAR) annual clean up at Bette Davis Picnic Area.
- As part of our ongoing preservation efforts,
FoGP continues to mulch vulnerable trees in Fern Dell and water new native plantings in Fern Canyon.
Friends of Griffith Park has a passionate board and positive community partnerships, but we need your continued support to ensure that Griffith Park remains L.A.’s signature green and open space, a place of free recreation, and a linchpin in the survival of Southern California’s native ecosystems. or today.
2017 Photo: © Kathryn Louyse, all rights reserved
During 2016, Friends of Griffith Park continued to make extraordinary things happen!
Highlights of Year 2016
- FoGP settled their lawsuit against the city
regarding ballfields in Crystal Springs and preserved the Crystal Springs picnic area, heritage sycamore, and numerous protected oaks.
- FoGP attempted to get operational limitations
on the permanent stage in the Old Zoo Area, such as free admission and hours of operations for the venue, but the city was unwilling to compromise.
- Working with the Department of Recreation and Parks,
FoGP helped design and position trailhead signs and wayfinding signs within Griffith Park, to help Park visitors navigate through the vast Parkland.
- FoGP provided input to RAP’s Griffith Observatory Circulation and Parking Enhancement Plan
and supported the plan to ease traffic congestion around the observatory and provide increased shuttle service to the observatory.
- The Fern Dell pedestrian bridge repair plans
have been approved by RAP’s Construction Committee; and we are waiting for estimates for the repairs.
- FoGP commissioned a research study
of the declining population of the native Western Gray squirrels.
- FoGP co-sponsored the Nordic Noir concert
at the Greek Theatre to help raise money that would directly support Griffith Park.
- FoGP joined many other organizations
in celebrating the 120th birthday party for Griffith Park.
- The FoGP website
now has an e-store that sells hats, T-shirts, and We Love P-22 T-shirts. All money goes back to supporting the organization’s work in Griffith Park.
- FoGP continued our strong tradition of educational programs for the public
as we partnered with the National Park Service to host a celebration of the 240th anniversary of the Anza Expedition in Los Angeles complete with costumed re-enactors, horses, dancers, a Native American musician, including a special appearance by Col. Juan Bautesta de Anza. At the Anza celebration, we also helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
- FoGP’s ongoing advocacy includes the introduction of students
from area schools to Griffith Park; this year Inspiring Connections Outdoors partnered with our organization to bring 350 students to learn about flora, fauna, and history. Our goal is to develop a new generation of stewards for the park.
- In 2016, FoGP partnered with the National Wildlife Federation,
RAP, National Park Service, and numerous other organizations for a P-22 event to raise awareness of wildlife in the city, especially our famous mountain lion, and the hazards they face and to raise money for the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon.
- FoGP-sponsored lectures this year
include discussions on mountain lions, bats, amphibians, and Citizen Science as well as wildflower and mushroom walks in the park and Bird LA Day, all led by experts in their fields.
- FoGP participatedin the LA Zoo’s Wild for the Planet
event to teach children about the Anza Expedition and the dangers of rodenticides to wildlife and domestic animals.
- FoGP hosted 16 different volunteer events in Griffith Park involving over 250 volunteers.
These activities included weeding, graffiti paint-outs, watering in Fern Canyon; a tree planting at Captains Roost with SAMO Youth; graffiti clean-ups in Old Zoo area; mulching trees in Fern Dell; hosting the FOLAR Annual Los Angeles River Clean up at Bette Davis Picnic Area.
Thanks for your generosity on behalf of Friends of Griffith Park Board Directors!
2016 Photo: © Kathryn Louyse, all rights reserved
Highlights of Year 2015
- FoGPs Fern Dell Revitalization Plan is now complete!
The draft document is now in the hands of Rec & Parks awaiting their final approval.
- Kids to the Park.
This past year, we again introduced busloads of school kids to the park’s native plants and animal species with 12 different hikes during the year. In total, 608 kids came into this Park, courtesy of Friends of Griffith Park and our partners from the Sierra Club, providing both financial support as well as interpretive expertise. A special thank you to our Directors Felix Martinez and Miguel Ordeñana.
- Volunteer Events.
We continued to provide clean-ups, graffiti paint-outs, native habitat restorations, and the removal of invasive plant species in 2015. Our Volunteer Coordinator/Boardmember Laura Howe again worked with students of Marshall High as well as volunteers from surrounding communities for labor-intensive, time-consuming projects.
- New programming was added to our active calendar –
including our first Native Plant ID Class led by Jorge Ochoa, plus participation in the first annual Bird LA Day with a birding event. These new events are in addition to our continuing Lecture Series which this year included talks on Griffith Park Wildflowers, Park Mushrooms, and the role and health of western gray squirrels in our Parklands.
- Anza Trail Docent Training.
Held in conjunction with the National Park Service. We continue to work with the NPS to improve the 4-mile segment of the Anza National Historic Trail.
- Crystal Springs.
We continue our advocacy to save 49 trees in the Crystal Springs Picnic Area and to protect passive recreation venues and precious habitat. We’ve also worked hard with Rec & Parks to help develop a safe and effective traffic plan to reduce impacts from tourists.
- Looking toward the future.
FoGP continues to fund scientific studies and surveys, including studies on wildlife connectivity and western gray squirrel genetics. We’re also advocating for alternatives to rodenticide use in order to reduce the impact on wildlife in Griffith Park.
Thanks for your generosity on behalf of Friends of Griffith Park Board Directors!
2015 Photo: Pink lily © Gerry Hans, all rights reserved
During 2014, Friends of Griffith Park was busy and productive. We’re proud of our achievements and with your help, look forward to even more accomplishments in 2015!
Highlights of Year 2014
- Fern Dell.
Phase II of the Historic Fern Dell Preservation Project is now fully funded. With your support, we reached our goal of $250,000! Technical assessment work is progressing nicely and will be completed by summer, 2015. We still need your generous funding for the implementation phase.
- Kids to the Park.
Busloads of school kids (627) were introduced to the park’s native plants and animal species with 18 different hikes during the year. Friends of Griffith Park partners with the Sierra Club, providing both financial support as well as interpretive expertise. A special thank you to our Directors Felix Martinez and Miguel Ordenana.
- Volunteer Events.
Clean-ups, graffiti paint-outs, native habitat restorations, and the removal of invasive plant species are some of the service projects Friends of Griffith Park facilitated in 2014. Our Volunteer Coordinator/Boardmember Laura Howe worked closely with students of Marshall High for the time-consuming multi-day project—Fern Canyon restoration.
- Anza Trail.
FoGP’s current planning work, in conjunction with National Park Service, culminated with the Department of Recreation and Parks’ adoption of a planning document to restore the 4-mile segment of the Anza National Historic Trail in Griffith Park.
- Crystal Springs.
Friends of Griffith Park has advocated saving the trees in Crystal Springs Picnic Area, and we protect passive recreation venues and precious habitat through our work with the Department of Recreation and Parks, City Council, and L.A. City Committees.
Thanks for your generosity on behalf of Friends of Griffith Park Board Directors!
2014 Photo: California Poppies © Kathryn Louyse, all rights reserved
During 2013, Friends of Griffith Park continued to make extraordinary things happen!
Highlights of Year 2013
Supporting special preservation initiatives in Griffith Park.
Our Historic Fern Dell revitalization work continues with the launch of Phase II. Expert consultants have begun their work studying and evaluating various aspects of Fern Dell. Their technical assessments will guide us on the best way to restore this historic area. Our assistance grant from the National Park Service was renewed and we have taken a major role in planning for an enhanced Juan Bautista de Anza Trail segment which runs along Crystal Springs Picnic Grounds and beyond.
- Funding Scientific Research to help Griffith Park great ecosystem survive.
Numerous surveys of the park’s flora and fauna have been conducted in recent years. In 2013, a primary focus continued to be wildlife connectivity. We have funded studies and invested in sophisticated cameras. In fact, it was the FoGP supported survey that first documented the P-22 mountain lion, who has called Griffith Park his home since February of 2012.
- Serving as Griffith Park’s nature and recreation advocate.
We testified at public meetings on policy, commented and advised on environmental and recreational issues, raised consciousness about historic preservation, pushed hard for more Park Rangers, and lobbied to increase park funding. We kept our members and the public informed through our publications and web site. We promote practices that reinforce Colonel Griffith’s vision of the Park as a free and natural refuge from urban pressure.
- Promoting education as a key to sustaining Griffith Park.
We underwrote and co-led numerous hikes that brought hundreds of urban kids to the Park and taught them about its natural wonders. We continued with our free Griffith Park Lecture Series at the Los Feliz Branch Library featuring authors and academics speaking on the Park’s human and natural history. We campaigned to reduce the use of rodenticides for rodent control, toxic to our wildlife, pets, and children.
- Volunteering for service in Griffith Park.
We delivered more successful park clean ups and graffiti paint-outs events than ever before. We worked closely with the Department of Recreation and Parks staff to fulfill the void lost with budget cuts. We hosted a key Great LA River Clean-up venue – Griffith Park’s Bette Davis section.
Friends of Griffith Park has a passionate board and positive community partnerships, but we need your continued support to ensure that Griffith Park remains L.A.’s signature green and open space, place of free recreation, and linchpin in the survival of Southern California’s native ecosystems. Please take a moment to become a member or renew your membership if you’ve previously supported us.