Posts tagged Griffith Park

GriffithParkTeaHouse

Hike Up Taco Peak to the Not-So-Secret Griffith Park Teahouse: It seems all of Los Angeles is talking about the guerrilla art installation, The Griffith Park Teahouse, a structure which magically appeared seemingly overnight near Dante’s Peak in our city’s largest public park. Though it is still standing as of now, there are murmurs the hand-built structure is going to be dismantled despite the love and praises amongst city hikers who’ve made their way to visit and share photos via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. There’s already a petition to save it, so hopefully you’ll make it over the holiday weekend for a visit and the view.

Turf Terminators Has Gotten Rich Turning Yards Into Gravel, But Is It Creating Blight?: “We’re creating an environment that is more paved over than the existing environment and doesn’t hold onto rainwater. We have to have living plants. If we eliminate that, we could easily be pushed into an extreme drought situation.”

Metro’s Launching a Big Bike-Share Program Downtown: “The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority today voted to launch an $11 million bike-sharing program in downtown L.A. They’ve awarded a contract to Bicycle Transit Systems, Inc., a company that has launched similar programs in Philadelphia, PA and Oklahoma City, OK. A second company, BCycle, will supply more than 1,000 bikes and 65 bike share stations to the area when the program launches next spring.”

Norway Aims For World’s First “Bee Highway”: Beekeepers, biologists, civilians, designers, and politicians in Oslo are teaming up to create the world’s first “Bee Highway”– an interconnected series of flower fields and green roofs that together form a “pollination route” across the city.

A New Playground in the Bronx Soaks Up the City’s Problematic Storm Water: A new Bronx playground is designed to capture between 500,000 and 700,000 gallons of storm water using a porous layer of gravel beneath the play yard’s turf field, alongside a long bioswale filled with plants designed to act as a giant sponge, soaking up storm water.

Photo: National Park Service via LA's Loneliest Lion.

Photo: National Park Service via LA’s Loneliest Lion.

P22, aka The Griffith Park Mountain Lion, is Los Angeles’ most famous monitored predator. He made the news recently when he wandered out of the hills of Griffith Park and into the basement of someone’s home. Thankfully, P22 came out of the basement on its own and returned to the hills, but the story reminds us that urban carnivores are present right in our backyard.

A few days after P22 became front page news, I attended a lecture about how a growing population of coyotes live among millions of people in Chicago. Professor Stan Gehrt of Ohio State University presented some of the findings from a study of Chicago’s coyote population which he and a team of researchers began in 2000. Gehrt refers to coyotes as “ghost dogs.”

“Coyotes were not part of the urban fauna of Chicago…their success in the urban landscape depends on their ability to hide from us. They are trying to be ghosts while they live with us.”

Gehrt unfolded an amazing wildlife story about how coyotes have managed to colonize metropolitan Chicago and live in close proximity with people. Despite a common fear and perception that coyotes will harm us and our pets, coyotes will stay out of human sight to avoid interactions with us whenever possible.

Statistically, coyotes are more likely to fall victim from human interventions (e.g., cars, trappings) than the other way around.

I was captivated by videos showing coyotes roaming the city at night, alone or with a mate, and Gehrt’s stories about the study’s first female and her mate, which researchers nicknamed “Melon Head.” Most importantly, I listened as Gehrt and four other wildlife biologists, who joined him for the lecture’s Q&A, urged the audience to appreciate predation. Coyotes, mountain lions, foxes and other predators are valued for restoring balance to the urban ecosystem by keeping other animal populations in check.

P22 and Melon Head have learned to adapt their behaviors in order to co-exist in an environment made up of diverse species and habitats. Surely, we can learn how to do the same.