Mayor celebrates Earth Day with Sierra Club

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
From Chapter reports

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday presented the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter with a proclamation from the City of L.A.to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Standing at a point in Griffith Park called 3 Mile Tree (because it's three miles from Los Feliz Boulevard), he noted: "We are here because someone had the wisdom to give us the land."

That someone was Griffith Jenkins Griffith, and he's the reason why the park isn't developed with houses. Likewise, the Wilderness Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, protects wildlands for future generations.

In addition to Sierra Club, many environmental groups turned out, including Friends of Griffith Park, Breathe L.A., Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife, L.A. River Revitalization and the L.A. Conservation Corps,

Angeles Chapter Chair Carole Mintzer kicked off the Earth Day event by underscoring the importance of the Wilderness Act and the 110 million acres it has protected for the past half century. Mintzer explained how the law melds beautifully with the Sierra Club's mission to protect the planet. She described these wildlands as places where "people visit but nature rules."

L.A. Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose office helped organize the event, Spoke about his love of the park, which is in his district. "I'm blessed by being born next to Griffith Park," he said, noting he has walked here just about every day since 1978.

L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz spoke too about the political battles that still need to be fought. He said that he supports a moratorium on fracking at the state and local level, and supports a bill requiring GMO labeling in foods.

But the biggest rounds of applause were reserved for Sierra Club leader and Foshay Learning Center teacher Bill Vanderberg, whose 39 students -- some who had never been to Griffith Park, some who had never been on a trail -- whooped and roared when he took the podium.

Vanderberg talked about the need to protect wildlands for future generations but also about the need to bring more students into the outdoors too. He explained the Sierra Club's Building Bridges to the Outdoors which he founded to keep kids interested and out in nature.

U.S. Forest Service's Tom Contreras, supervisor of the Angeles National Forest, Chapter Vice-Chair David Haake and newly elected Sierra Club National Board Member Dean Wallraff also spoke during the ceremony. Afterward, Tom LaBonge led hikers on a trek up to Mt. Hollywood, the highest point in Griffith Park.

Photos: (upper right) L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti mingles with students from the Foshay Learning Center who had hiked to
the top of Mt. Hollywood from the Observatory before the event.

(below, top to bottom)
Chapter Chair Carole Mintzer, left, Mayor Garcetti, Councilman Paul Koretz and Councilman Tom LaBonge at the Tuesday
Earth Day event. A proclamation from the City of L.A. was presented to the Sierra Club.

Students from the Foshay Learning Center who had listened to the mayor and hiked in the park.

Sierra Club Leader Bill Vanderberg spoke about the importance of "building bridges to the outdoors," which also is the name
of the Sierra Club committee that links kids with the outdoors.



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