Long Beach Sustainability Summer Newsletter, July 2021
LB Sustainability Quarterly Newsletter
Dear Friend,

Each quarter we create a newsletter with updates on sustainable programs, projects, and events from our office and others in the City of Long Beach.
Strolling through Willow Springs Park, you’ll witness an incredible revival of a once highly-degraded, native ecosystem. The morning shade of the willow trees feels fresh and cool, mourning doves comfort you with their tranquil song, and the grounding smell of coastal sage scrub almost makes you forget you’re in a city. However, the park hasn’t always been the pleasurable sensory experience that we so gratefully enjoy today. 

Today, the Office of Sustainability continues to restore Willow Springs Park in partnership with the Parks, Recreation and Marine Department. At the time of its opening in 2017, the 12-acre Wetland Restoration Project area within the 48-acre park included degraded coastal sage scrub and riparian habitat. Approximately 200 native riparian trees and 6,440 native drought-tolerant plants were planted onsite. Native plants, such as sagebrush, buckwheat, golden bush, and mule fat are now thriving and continue to take back the land from the invasive plants that previously dominated the landscape. 

“It’s great to see how much things have transformed in just four years,” said Larry Rich, Long Beach sustainability coordinator. “It’s really cool to see how the wildlife flocks to the vegetation. There’s more birds and animals here than ever before.” 

Gladys Avenue Urban Farm is on a mission to bring healing to natural ecosystems and local residents, while providing a space for family fun and education. The small-scale community-managed farm, located on Gladys Avenue just north of Anaheim Street, was originally purchased and maintained by Captain Charlie Moore. Moore is a long time devout environmentalist and founder of Long Beach Organic, Inc. and Algalita Marine Research Foundation. The farm’s current owner, Jan van Dijs maintains the farm with 11-12 volunteers. Van Dijs’s construction management company shares space with the farm and uses recycled materials on his projects and in the garden, including recycling the saw dust from his furniture shop for use in the garden plots.

"It is really awesome to have a business that coexists with a nonprofit and the community,” van Dijs says, “It utilizes the space really well, and doesn’t isolate the business from another or from the neighborhood itself.”

Annual Ranchos Walk
On September 18th the City hosted the 3rd annual Ranchos Walk in partnership with Walk Long Beach, Rancho Los Cerritos, Rancho Los Alamitos and the Historical Society of Long Beach. The walk included a 9.4 mile route following the crest of the Signal Hill Uplift and featured stunning views of the city as well as several points of historical interest. In addition to the full route, the walk offered 3.5 mile and 6 mile route options. After a long day of exploring the city, participants celebrated the end of their journey at the historic Rancho Los Alamitos. The rancho hosted a Welcome Festival including refreshments from Liberation Brewing and Primal Alchemy as well as a walking tour of the rancho. 

This year’s Ranchos Walk highlighted several influential women throughout Long Beach history. Their stories were shared in detail on the route through the izi.TRAVEL app. To listen to the walk’s full audio and complete the tour virtually, download the app and search for the Ranchos Walk 2021 in the explore tab.

The Ranchos Walk aims to educate and excite residents of Long Beach about its rich history, encourage discovery of local neighborhoods, and highlight historical landmarks.

We hope you can join us for Ranchos Walk 2022!
Pick 'N' Treat Clean Air Day
To ring in October and in celebration of California Clean Air Day, the Office of Sustainability hosted a Pick ‘N’ Treat event in partnership with Long Beach Recycles and the Neighborhood Leadership Program Ambassadors. Participants were encouraged to rock their scariest and most sustainable Halloween costumes as they toured Willow Springs Park, a native-plant and wetlands restoration area, and the adjacent cemeteries. The tour was followed by a park cleanup in celebration of Clean Air Day and a costume contest. At the event, participants shared ideas about sustainability and clean air, and learned about the park’s restoration efforts, native flora and fauna, and future hopes for its growth.

Tiny astronauts and clownfish roamed the park to pick up litter. The park was left spotless! Litter-pickers traded their bags of trash in for a bag of sustainable goodies donated and sourced from event sponsors such as Long Beach Recycles and Long Beach Transit. To wrap up the event five lucky winners won sustainable prizes, such as DIY terrariums and vermicomposting bins.  

Follow the NLP Ambassadors on Instagram and Facebook to get involved in future neighborhood cleanups and events.  
Sustainability Workshops
Our workshops have gone online! Check out all the Sustainability Workshops on our website.
Join us for virtual Native Plant Workshops on Facebook and Instagram @LBSustainability.

Previous Native Plant workshop topics:
  • Exploring Natives and Pollinators
  • Getting to Know Encilia Californica
  • Fall Planting Basics
  • What Makes a Naturalist
  • Native Plant Seed Saving Basics
  • Native Plant Diversity in Urban Settings
  • Native Plant Container Gardening
  • Native Plant Propagation
Join us for virtual Edible Garden workshops on Facebook and Instagram @LBSustainability.

Previous Edible Garden Workshops:
  • DIY Worm Composting Bin
  • Upcycled Potato Planter Box
  • Regrowing and Planting Potatoes
  • Summer Planting Basics
  • ReGROWceries
  • Upcycled Planters
Commissioner Spotlight
Get to know the sustainable city commissioners.
Coby Skye
Coby Skye has lived in Long Beach for over 2 decades. He works as an environmental engineer with the Los Angeles County Public Works where he’s worked on recycling programs as well as new sustainability initiatives. Coby also volunteers with a number of environmental nonprofits.
Join us for the next Sustainable City Commission meeting: 
Thursday October 28 at 4pm via teleconference
Agenda Items: Measure US and homelessness in Long Beach

Meet the Team
Veronica Allen
From a young age, Veronica has felt a strong drive to protect nature and increase public awareness of its importance and beauty. Veronica joined the Office of Sustainability in September 2021 as a clerical aide.
In 2019, Veronica graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Environmental Science & Policy and minors in Economics, Geology and Geography. She also studied conservation and Spanish while living in Costa Rica for a semester. Veronica worked in visitor services for California State Parks and is passionate about environmental communications. She feels grateful to live in California, where there is a variety of ecosystems to explore and immerse in. Aside from working for the City, Veronica owns and manages Planet V, a low-waste, botanical skincare business.
Sustainability Fall Interns
Angel Ruiz
Green Business Intern

Angel is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy at California State University, Long Beach. Working as a Green Business intern will allow him to assist businesses attempting to mitigate and reduce their environmental impacts. His passion for protecting the environment stems from his love for nature and animals at an early age. Outside of the internship, he is learning how to live more sustainably. He enjoys cooking, going to the beach, and exercising. 
Candelaria Hernandez 
Native Plant Intern

Candelaria has lived in Long Beach for most of her life. She graduated from college at California State University, East Bay. She is an avid reader, runner and adventurer and loves the outdoors. Candelaria became environmentally conscious when she took a plant biology class as an undergrad. She has experience in research and restoration and is excited to be a part of the Native Plant internship program at Willow Springs Park.  
Robert Morales
Native Plant Intern

Robert aims to understand native ecosystems. He wishes to restore health to the land so that flora and fauna can flourish. This fall, he will be supporting the native restoration in Willow Springs Park and will be involved in hands-on work at the native plant nursery and restoration area as well as research on nursery best practices and plant management strategies. Robert is also an artist in his free time.