Though NativLA does not yet exist, it will coalesce my years of experience with nature and the environment. While earning a BA in Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I created the show Habitat for UNC-CH Cable TV on the abundance of nature found on campus. I spent summers interning at 60 Minutes, The New York Times and studying with the Wildlands Studies Program through San Francisco State University. My first job out of college was shadowing an environmental reporter at CBS affiliate WRAL-TV in Durham, NC where I put together a reel which landed me my first job reporting, at NBC affiliate KIEM-TV in Eureka, CA. As morning and then evening anchor, I wrote, produced and filmed dozens of stories on the local environment, including a three-part special on Coho salmon and their plight, and stories on the headwaters of the old growth coastal redwoods in Humboldt County. After moving to Los Angeles, I wrote and produced nature documentaries for television, including Earth’s Fury, Storm Warning and The Top 10 Environmental Disasters. When I chose to leave the workforce and start a family, I created my own company called Dutch Touch Art designing and commissioning a series of hand-painted oils for the design industry, based on the Netherland’s Golden Age and their iconic depictions of nature in the wild. Currently, I am Chair of a non-profit organization called Friends of Wonderland, which raises over $450K annually for Wonderland Elementary School in Laurel Canyon. We provide the enrichment programs that Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) no longer funds, including PE, library, music and art. We also ask, where field trips are concerned, that the parents carpool and pay for all admission fees.
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1 Submitted Idea
- 2013 Grants Challenge
NativLA is a geo-location mobile app that will provide a YELP-like experience for users eager to explore our city’s wild side. Utilizing photography and video to unveil and document experiences with urban nature, users can share as well as search for experience by region, using categories such as “wildlife”, “seasonal” and “kid-friendly” as filters. As a social network, a place-based educational tool and an urban nature guide, NativLA will inspire environmental stewardship and foster a city-wide understanding of how nature sustains life. Los Angeles is the place without a sense of place, famous for sprawl and overdevelopment, and defined by its car-clogged freeways. It might seem inhospitable to efforts to connect with nature and community. But this city is rich in nature's amenities — the ocean, mountains, diverse habitats and eco-systems, with a Mediterranean climate. The City of Los Angeles has 15,710 acres of parkland, including 4,217 acres in Griffith Park, the largest municipal park in the United States. L.A. has nine lakes and an urban forest of one million trees. Approximately 70 community gardens are growing in Los Angeles County, serving 3,900 families and dozens of commercial urban farms are taking root within city limits. There are three core modes to the NativLA app: Spottings, Nativ Ambassadors and Location Based Field Guilds. Spottings are experiences with nature that can be shared and accessed by everyone. Snap a photograph or shoot video of a nature activity or wildlife sighting, select the appropriate category, confirm your location, add some descriptive tags or comments and submit it. In Upper Fryman Canyon, off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills, a mother and her two sons record a chorus of frogs in the rain-swelled stream beneath a Eucalyptus grove. A torrent of comments follows, which identify the creatures as Southern Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs, and claiming that February and March are the best viewing months. Further east in Hollywood’s Bronson Park, a guide from Urban Outdoor Skills photographs lush swaths of California sagebrush, mugwort and bay leaves, includes tips on how to gather and preserve them and provides a link to the organization. In Culver City, a father uploads video of his daughter “foraging” for guavas in the trees lining the Ralphs parking lot and, like a true Nativ, cautions her to pick only as much as she can carry. Nativ Ambassadors are urban farmers, homesteaders and environmental groups such as Los Feliz Eco Village and The Institute for Urban Ecology, who are willing to open their operations to Angelenos-at-large for the purpose of exploration and education. For example, an urban commercial farm in West LA, called Wybrandt Farm, uploads pictures of their 3,000 square foot vegetable garden, posts information about tours and provides a link to local farmer’s markets where they sell their produce. In Koreatown, The Los Angeles Eco-Village, designed to demonstrate lower environmental impact and higher quality of living in an urban environment, uploads video of their greywater and solar panel systems with a link to tours (lunch optional) and garden hours. The Location-based Field Guide is an opportunity to see what kind of eco adventures are occurring near you and learn more about them. Search through a map view, list view or grid view of recent Spottings and Ambassador posts all based on your location. You may also search through personalized Field Guides, rated by popularity, in which individuals or organizations have mapped out tours through specific neighborhoods or highlighted “best of” destinations. To aid in your search, you can filter by categories to find what you are most interested in. Categories include: Wildlife, Urban Farming, Foraging, Eco Adventures (adventures in sustainable alternative living i.e. art and design), Farmers’ Markets, Hikes & Walks, Kid-friendly and Seasonal. NativLA Field Trips: Los Angeles has experienced severe cuts in supplemental learning excursions from elementary through high school. Schools used to be able to take children on three district approved field trips per class, per year. Now budget cuts have forced the school to cut out field trips completely. Even the lure of free admission to a venue or experience isn’t enough – teachers have no way of providing transportation since the schools have to pay for the buses. NativLA Field Trips, a component of the Location-Based Field Guild, are built right into the application and web presence, and will allow teachers throughout Los Angeles to access information about free and accessible outings. Teachers will find many activities they can walk to right from school and there will be public transportation routes to NativLA Field Trips taking place across the city. According to the Center for Eco Literacy, place-based learning encourages students to experience the natural world and better understand the places where we live, work and learn.