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live / 2016

California Native Plant Public Education Project

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Landscape Integrity Films and Education (LIFE)

Short films empowering people to create evergreen, flowering California native gardens that bring back LA’s butterflies and birds and save water! Learn how to plant native to revitalize LA!

Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Arroyo Seco Foundation

Please describe your project proposal.

The 2050 Challenge grant will fully support one series of short-content films. Our proposed series is “Mixing California Native with Non-Native Plants”. These short films show people how to retrofit their non-native gardens with native plants adapted to our rainfall, climate, and soil – plants that most of our butterflies, birds and other animals can’t live without. Use these films to retrofit with native plants for creating a beautiful resilient LA where nature and urban agriculture can thrive!

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Waterways
  • Local water
  • Resilient communities
  • Tree canopy cover

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Gateway Cities
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

Through the content of these films and the action they inspire, the LA2050 landscape can be one of beauty with ecological function and decreased reliance on aquifers and imported water. For LA to become this environmentally inspiring place to live, we need an informed public.

Everyone knows we are in a water crisis, but not everyone knows we are also in an extinction crisis and that how we landscape matters. The world has lost 52% of its vertebrate wild animals – birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians – since 1970. Two-thirds of California’s arid-land bird species are at moderate to high risk of extinction without aggressive conservation action. Native gardening is something we can do across the vast LA landscape, in containers, parkways and yards, to help mitigate the extinction crisis and support biodiversity and the nature of LA.

Our proposal supports a major shift in public awareness that is needed for LA to meet the challenges of long-term drought, climate change and extinction of pollinators and other species. If 50% of LA were landscaped native, this vast area could be evergreen flowering habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife – landscape habitat that achieves an 80% reduction in water and corresponding energy use compared to conventional non-native gardens. Native landscaping requires no soil amendments, fertilizers or pesticides, all of which can harm ecosystem and watershed health. Our short films will help create an informed public that knows practical steps they can take at home, at school or the work place to help slow climate change, heal the bay, and bring birds and butterflies back to LA.

Los Angeles is a biodiversity hotspot blessed with an incredibly rich natural heritage threatened by population pressure and habitat loss. Our proposed films will show how to use this incredibly rich natural heritage for landscaping that uses less water, creates less green waste, requires fewer maintenance hours, and supports the nature of where we live. These films are essential because we have so thoroughly erased most of LA’s natural landscape that most people know little or nothing about native plants:
Myth: All green is the same. Non-native plants feed the ecosystem just as well as native plants. Fact: Only native plants support the nature of where we live. Up to 90% of leaf-eating insect species (caterpillars of butterflies!) can eat ONLY native plants; these insects are protein that fuels the food web. Myth: Most California native plants are cacti. Fact: only 1-2% of California’s 6,000 species, subspecies and varieties of native plants are cacti. Myth: California native plants don’t make flowers. Fact: Yes, they do, and native gardens can produce flowers throughout the year!

Our proposed films will help inform the public about how to use LA’s rich natural heritage for making LA the best place to live in 2050.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

LIFE’s YouTube channel analytics measure our playback locations, traffic sources, subscribers and distribution partners. A dramatic increase in our audience size will be a direct measure of the success of our project. Indirect measures of success will be increased native plant availability and sales at nurseries, more native plant landscapes in public and private spaces, growing interest in native plant gardening, a healthier watershed, and more butterflies and birds (not just generalist species such as crows and pigeons, but specialist species such as cedar waxwings, scrub jays and Square-Spotted Blue butterflies.) All these, along with water bills that reflect a reduction in water consumption, will provide visible evidence that the films are driving change for a healthy, resilient and beautiful Los Angeles by 2050.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support