Culver Studios & Lin Howe Boosters Create New Butterfly Garden
Special To The Observer
August 31, 2017
Summers in LA can get quite hot. Especially with asphalt that traps and contains heat, its not that pleasant. And at Lin Howe, and with the Culver Studios help they realized this problem. With enough funding Lin Howe transformed their asphalt patch into a beautiful butterfly garden. I went to the Culver Hotel to discuss with the main builders and minds behind the whole project, whom are: Michael Goldfarb (and all of Culver Studios), Jen Conlon (A Landscape Architect who donated her talent to create this garden), and the Lin Howes Boosters Club. This project adds on to Lin Howes Green 5, and will also help Lin Howe to sustain its newly awarded Green Ribbon Achiever Award (CCUSD is only one of five districts in California to achieve this). The garden includes trees and new plants that will attract butterflies. We thank everyone who put effort into this project, including Leah Nico, a Lin Howe mom and a very active volunteer who sadly passed away. I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Michael Goldfarb, VP of Business Development for The Culver Studios. Jacy Gross, Lin Howe Boosters Club President and Jen Conlon, Landscape Architect and Lin Howe Mom who volunteers with the Green Team and also coordinates our Growing Great program. Who came up with the thought of adding a butterfly garden?Jen Conlon- That was my idea. Just wandering around campus last year and I saw that big boring blank area full of asphalt. I always love an opportunity to remove some asphalt. It was a big project so I kind of put it off for a while. At the last minute at the end of the school year I thought if I dont do this now it is not going to be able to have the work done over summer break.When did you think of this idea? Jacy Gross - This has been an idea for many years. Do you remember Leah Nico? She was at the school before Jen was at the school. She tried to do something with that area. The irrigation needed to be done and it was a pricey build and she was not a landscape architect. It was just really frustrating. I had been working with her to get banners to put on chain link fence, we planted, each time we would get a $500 grant from the Parks Department we tried to do something that made it look better, we added the box with the plants, but it did not look really good. Then Jen came, this magical angel, who came right as Leah died, which was very beautiful. She had all of these great ideas.How did this happen so fast?
Jen Conlon- I just came to the realization that the construction had to happen during summer while the kids were gone. The District expedited my plans and got it approved.How will this affect the kids at Lin Howe?Jen Conlon- I have seen several of the kindergarten classes go out for snack time and they have to sit on the hot asphalt and eat their snacks on the ground. They will all be very excited to have a place to eat their snacks. They can now sit on the benches, they go all the way around and every kid should have a seat. The new trees will get growing and give a little shade. On top of that I will be able to use that raised bed for Growing Great so we can fill it with vegetables and I can be sure to integrate this into some of my pollinating garden lessons. I will bring the kids over to show them all the insects we are attracting and the California native plants. There a lot of butterfly attracting types of plants.What was the budget for this project? Jen Conlon- The budget started out small, and then with the help of The Culver Studios we about doubled it to complete the project. The budget ended up being about $10,000.Jacy Gross- You see the part that is not glamorous is the water. That is the problem that we are constantly running into at the school. It is really cheap to go buy $30 of succulent plants. It seems like they are so beautiful, we put them in these pots and they look good for a few weeks and then they all die because there is no water and nothing ever gets solved. So to have this opportunity to have someone (The Culver Studios) invest in the infrastructure to put the water in means that this garden will grow for years and years and will get only get more beautiful each time. We wont have to find so many volunteers to take care of it. The non-glamourous part is the money that came in to go under the asphalt and create the water source and drip system. How did The Culver Studios become involved in this project? Michael Goldfarb- The conversation originally came about because we had to remove some trees to make way for some renovation that is happening on the lot. I spoke with the team here about a possible tree relocation program and they brought up the new garden initiative and that sounded like the perfect opportunity to give back to the community and the school and do something that is going to last for a very long time.Now with this huge project done new kindergarteners and students of CCUSD can see and interact with our new, beautiful, Butterfly Garden. This will also be used for new Growing Great lessons, so children can also learn about planting and health. Thank you to The Culver Studios, the Lin Howe Boosters, Jen Conlon and everyone else who gave a helping hand in this project.