Hi! Let me start off with saying: MY FIRST WEEK WAS AWESOME! Upon my arrival, I was surprised to find the National Park Service is in the heart of Downtown LA, with a 2 minute walking distance from the Historical Olvera Street. So yes, naturally my lunches went from salads to torta’s and horchata real fast. My first day consisted of touring the historical sites of Downtown LA such as Pico House, Avila Adobe, Sepulveda House, Plaza Catholic Church and many more! I have some of the fondest memories coming to Olvera Street for field trips in Elementary school and it’s amazing that I’m back to be a part of this experience.
One of my favorite murals here is “La America Tropical” by David Alfaro Siqueiros. This mural is my absolute favorite for 2 reasons: 1. Fresco was used (which is my favorite) and 2. it was actually painted as a political statement. The Indian Peon represents oppression by the U.S. imperialism and is crucified on a double cross capped by an American eagle. The Mayan pyramid in the background is overrun by vegetation, while an armed Peruvian peasant and a Mexican farmer sit on a wall in the upper right corner ready to defend themselves. This mural was extremely controversial because it interfered with Christine Sterling’s (Promoter of Olvera Street) image of Olvera Street and was thus whitewashed. I think the craziest part is that Christine hired Siqueiros to paint a “tropical” mural but when it was revealed she saw a political statement, can you imagine that? Love me some history drama!
On my second day I toured our other parks around the area, the left image is the view from March Park and the right is of Grand Park. Grand Park is mostly known to the public but what caught my attention is Marsh Park. Marsh Park is a beautiful park tucked away in Los Angeles and has an INDREDIBLE view! One of my assignments with NPS is to build a minimum of three programs to engage communities of resource management in the LA community and I’m thinking of using this park as a location for one of my programs to amplify this location, because other than the amazing views it also features amazing programs for the public that I’d like to see more people involved.
The rest of the week consisted of me attending programs created by Rangers. I attended Ranger Hector’s “Santa Monica’s Mountains Survivors” which featured a 30 minute hike and an educational outreach session featuring how native plants have adapted to survive fire, droughts, and heat. He also explained signs of how some native animals have learned to survive, it was interesting and so much fun! We had the opportunity to see a waterfall along with amazing views of Malibu!
The program “”Night Under the Sky” I attended, however, took the cake for my favorite program. This program will be held in Cheseboro Park in Agoura Hills on July 11th and will consist of a short guided hike at dusk (right picture), scavenging for the California Scorpion (left picture) which has a special protein in its chitin that makes it luminesce when UV light is present AND a telescope will be available to see Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and globular clusters. I was fortunate to see these planets and it honestly looked UNREAL! It was like looking at Googled pictures of these planets, I can’t wait to be apart of this program and educate the public of our local surroundings.
For this being my first week, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for my in my second week!