Environmental Projects


Ivory Ventura - Photographer

National Park Foundation receives land grant

Written by Danielle Padilla – Staff Writer

On Oct. 16 the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area announced that it had acquired a grant from the National Park Foundation of nearly $7,000 to start the new Ticket to Ride program.  The Ticket to Ride program funds transportation for school field trips to national parks.  Due to the donations and funding received from various supporters, the NPF is able to sponsor these school trips.  Visitation to the SMMNRA is expected to increase because of the more frequent opportunities to visit the area and the increased availability of resources for funding, which is provided by the recent grant.  Additionally, the grant was given in an effort to educate local residents about the nature that surrounds them, specifically the historical background of the Santa Monica Mountains.  Visitors are able to participate in bird-watching excursions, obstacle courses and ranger-led tours of the new visitor center.  Nationwide, more than $230,000 worth of grants was given to national parks throughout the country for this year alone.

Fire warning signs installed throughout Calabasas

Written by Laura Mishkin – Staff Writer and Photo courtesy of MRCA

firesignsDue to the prevalence of wildfires in the San Fernando Valley in recent years, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority is taking preventative measures to stop the spread of fires during this fire season.  The MRCA has decided to place 100 fire warning signs along Mulholland Drive and at MRCA parks. These signs are designed to alert residents of the danger of wildfires.  According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, there have been 5,547 fires in California since the beginning of 2012 and 129,219 acres have been destroyed as a result.  The cautionary signs are intended to help decrease these number.  The signs cost about $5,400 in total but are classified as part of regular maintenance.  Therefore, they will be funded completely by the government.  In addition, the MRCA is sending postcards to residents, urging them to report suspicious behavior that could potentially cause a fire.  With these new measures, wildfires are expected to be less common within the Calabasas community.

Net-zero facility in Calabasas opens to the public

Written by Gabi Weiss – Staff Writer and Photo courtesy of Ivory Ventura – Photographer

ranchThe net-zero facility at King Gillette Ranch, located at 26800 Mulholland Highway in Calabasas, is now functional. The United States Department of Energy awarded the National Park Service with a 2012 Federal Energy and Water Management Award for the new “net-zero” facility in Calabasas.  This past June the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area finished constructing the facility out of recycled materials in an effort to lower residents’ carbon footprint and to maintain sustainable management of the lands in the Santa Monica Mountains area.  Net-zero facilities use solar panels to produce hot water and light for the buildings.  The new facility in Calabasas is tied to an electrical grid, but it also produces enough energy to offset its use over the span of one year.  The facility, used as a visitor center at the park, also has a ground-source heat pump for cooling and heating the rooms.  The park service chose the new Calabasas location because the low fire danger of the area is expected to decrease the costs of maintenance.

Mountain Restoration Trust raises funds for new land

Written by Madison Hatfield – Staff Writer and Photo courtesy of MRT

mrtThis year the Mountain Restoration Trust will be hosting several fundraising events to achieve its goal of $100,000 to buy the 17.4 acre Cold Creek Preserve.  MRT began a campaign, the Cold Creek High Trail-athon, after receiving a $500,000 grant from the 2011 Competitive Natural Land for Trails Grant Program. The fundraisers will include dinners with guest speakers from local universities and organizations.  Once the final $100,000 is raised, MRT will be able to purchase the Cold Creek High Trail in the Cold Creek Preserve.  The funds will also be used to create a public trail that will stretch through the preserve.  On the new trail visitors will be able to explore natural features such as the grotto, biomes, shady oak groves and panoramic views.  The funds will help to restore trails, build bridges and purchase additional land from the preserve.  MRT also provides opportunities for students to obtain community service through internships and restoration projects.  To donate, visit www.mountainstrust.org.