1. Explore the native flowers and plants at Ballona Discovery Park
April is a great month to check out Playa Vista’s Ballona Discovery Park and the plethora of flowers in bloom. Walking around the two-acre habitat and admiring its pollinator, medicinal and native gardens, it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of a bustling community. In addition to connecting to nature while you stroll through the park, which is part of the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem, make sure to take the time to read all the interpretive signs to learn about the history of the area, while listening to birds chirp and being on the lookout for local wildlife.
Ballona Discovery Park is located at 13110 Bluff Creek Drive in Playa Vista.
2. Volunteer to CLEAN UP Westchester
Longtime Westchester resident Grant Francis is passionate about supporting his hometown and recently started a CLEAN UP Westchester volunteer group to help beautify the area’s downtown business district along Sepulveda Blvd.
Thanks to a successful outing in March, and each volunteer having no problem filling a bag of trash, he’s making CLEAN UP days a monthly event and is inviting community members to join him in his efforts.
The next CLEAN UP Westchester day is scheduled for Saturday, April 24 at 9 a.m. Volunteers are asked to meet in the parking lot behind Mono Poke/Citibank (at the northeast intersection of La Tijera and Sepulveda in Westchester) for an hour of picking up trash, separating recycling and making the area shine!
Inspired by the volunteer effort, local businesses like The Coffee Company and Westchester Eye Care Center are taking notice and have stepped up to sponsor refreshments and bright yellow T-shirts that are provided to volunteers. Contact Grant Francis at (310) 216-9365 to learn more and sign up for the next event.
3. Learn more about the LAX Dunes
Restoration work continues at the LAX Dunes through a partnership with Los Angeles World Airports and The Bay Foundation (TBF) in an effort to help native plants and species thrive. The site, which is located between the west end of LAX and the ocean, provides a habitat for more than 900 species including the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly.
Recently, TBF and the LA Conservation Corps conducted vegetation mapping and some non-native plant removal in the area. While the view from the LAX Dunes can’t be beat, the area is off-limits to visitors unless you volunteer during one of their clean up days, which will hopefully resume as soon as COVID restrictions are lifted.
Learn more about the LAX Dunes and TBF’s virtual Dockwalker Training program at santamonicabay.org.
4. Join a Beach Clean Up.
With 130-square-miles of storm drains flowing into Ballona Creek, the Friends of Ballona Wetlands want to make sure that trash is stopped before it can make its way into the wetlands, beaches and ocean.
Visit ballonafriends.org to get the dates for their next Beach & Neighborhood Clean Up Week scheduled for April and see how much debris you can clean up at local locations like Toes Beach, Dockweiler, your favorite park or another neighborhood spot! If you participate, make sure to fill out the Google doc on their website so they can track how much these volunteer efforts help the environment and keep trash from polluting waterways.
This month, the nonprofit is also inviting the community to participate in a donation drive, where everyone who donates $25 will get a plant placed in the wetlands with their name and a short message!
5. Take a hike on the bluffs
If you’ve never had a chance to take a hike on the 3.8 mile Bluff Creek Trail, you’re missing out on a Westchester/Playa gem. Whether you’re bringing the whole family, walking with friends or going for a jog, it’s hard not to be impressed with this nature spot right in our own backyard.
Posted April 2021.