Educating Los Angeles

Groundbreaking Water Conservation

Los Angeles residents have greatly reduced per capita water consumption since the early 70s.  With such remarkable success, we still rank as the 6th most water vulnerable city in the U.S. according to a University of Florida study. How do we build a water safe future?

The groundbreaking of the Theodore Payne Foundation’s nature and education facilities marks the expansion of robust education efforts designed to help LA residents young and young at heart understand and work with our delicate natural environment.  The project will include two new classrooms; demonstration gardens; additional parking; and ADA compliance for new restrooms and the bookstore.  Along with other upgrades to the site, the project triples the organization’s class-hosting capacity.

Never before has sustainable landscaping education been more valuable to Los Angeles.  The past 3 years have seen roughly the rainfall the region would normally expect in just one year.  Cities within the Sacramento Delta and cities that utilize upstream Colorado River water, areas from which Los Angeles buys and imports water, also made the water vulnerable list .  These water supply challenges come while the region continues to see our robust population grow.

Councilman Felipe Fuentes, who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony remarked, “It is crucial that organizations like [the foundation] have the resources to educate the public and inform them of how they can help.”

Many collaborators contributed to securing the grant and the ongoing effort to raise funding for the foundation’s improvements.  Lisa Novic, the foundation’s Director of Outreach and K-12 Education worked tirelessly to perfect the $930,000 grant request. Troller Meyer and Associates worked closely with the foundation to ensure the project is designed to have the least impact on the environment and budget, while delivering the greatest impact.  Deborah Whittwer and her husband Ron Maben helped the foundation navigate the city’s complex planning process.  The board and key donors, including Susan and Dan Gottleib and Anthony LeFetra, also played an instrumental role in making the project possible.

“Los Angeles residents care about our delicate environment,” noted Cassy Aoyagi president of the foundation’s board. “We also truly appreciate beauty and design.  This grant and the nature and education facilities it makes possible will help us continue developing appreciation for a distinctive California aesthetic – that is what propels the success of water conservation, and it is one of the foundation’s great successes.”