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People, Plants, and Water: Caring for the Future Together

Posted by Candace Seu on Monday, October 28, 2019

Children stand on top of a Hugelkulture mound at the side of a bioswale

When snowpack melts off the San Gabriel Mountains, and whenever it rains in Altadena and Pasadena, the water seeps down into the ground to refill the Raymond Basin, the giant underground aquifer that provides 40% of Pasadena’s water.

The water that falls on impermeable street surfaces is swept to the ocean, lost to us forever; but the water that falls on soil remain in our ecosystem and eventually percolate down into our reservoir. It’s a gift that nourishes life, if we’re prepared to receive it.

Our walk started with a simple idea: we wanted to highlight the Pasadena Public Health Department and Pasadena Water and Power’s new hydration station at La Pintoresca Park, and connect that with the water-wise plantings at nearby Washington Elementary and Washington Park. Both locations showcase the use of bioswales to receive, collect, and filter water into Pasadena’s aquifer, and the use of California native plants to support the birds, insects, and butterflies that quietly enrich our ecosystem and sustain our human lives. Bioswales and native plants are an important part of the Complete Streets toolkit for greener, healthier, water-wise streets.

We hope to leave a better world with reliable, clean water and safe, walkable streets to all of our children -- and to ourselves as well.

As we organized this walk, I began to understand more deeply that Pasadena CSC is part of a similar ecosystem of people in Altadena and Pasadena who are working, step by step and drop by drop, to repair our ecosystem and society. They’re challenging the way we handle water, health, and transportation with hands-on, reliable, nature-based, and human-scale solutions. And they met us enthusiastically, with an openness and understanding that we’re all connected, and all in this together.

We’re grateful to Sherreeta and Mary from Pasadena Public Health for sponsoring and partnering with us to build this walk, and to Jonathan from Pasadena Water and Power, who met us bright and early at the La Pintoresca Library to hand out water-related goodies. Wendy from Planning and Community Development taught us about the pocket park to the east of Marengo and Washington, where a community sculpture by an artist named Lt. Mustardseed welcomes neighbors to relax and rest.

We’re grateful to Lois from the Pasadena Audubon Society and Tahereh from Beautiful Bioswales, who tag-teamed to lead us through a tour and explanation of bioswales at Washington Elementary’s future outdoor classroom.

We’re proud that our CSC member Topher, who volunteers with Friends of Washington Park, was on hand to share his botanical knowledge about the butterfly garden he helped to plant at the park.

We can’t leave out April from Water LA and Paloma from Arlington Garden. Although we weren’t able to feature their work in our walk, we deeply appreciated how they greeted us in a spirit of connection to our shared goals.

Finally - and perhaps most of all - we are extremely proud of, and totally awed by the group of 15 Jackson Elementary School students from a local Girl Scout Troop who joined us for the walk as part of their work to get a “Water Wise Badge”. They worked and walked hard to receive their badges, and we are grateful to their parents, who accompanied them in love and support. They, along with our other adult participants, made everything worthwhile.

When we shared that all of the groups featured on our walk offer volunteer opportunities, our walk participants nodded in recognition and appreciation. They, too, are a part of our ecosystem of future builders and leaders. We hope to leave a better world with reliable, clean water and safe, walkable streets to all of our children – and to ourselves as well.

This is Part 3 of a series on Walktober 2019:

Part 1: Reflections on Why We Walktober
Part 2: Glenarm Power Plant: Seeing Things Anew
Part 3: People, Plants, and Water: Caring for the Future Together
Part 4: Bridges: Restoring Balance to a Wounded World

Tags: Beautiful Bioswales, green streets, Pasadena Public Health, Pasadena Water and Power, Walktober, why we work

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