Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The parking lots need occasional maintenance, and I joined a clean-up last weekend. Wilson Lau, Watershed Coordinator at the Arroyo Seco Foundation (ASF), put out the word on the Arroyo Seco chat list ("What better way to show love for your country than to clean up the Arroyo?...Gloves and trash bags will be provided...") and I posted about it here on PDP.
I expected the turn-out to be small, but it was small. Besides Lau and Tim Martinez, a college student, native plant expert and one of the ASF's top volunteers, the only person to show up besides me was a PCC student who shuns the spotlight, so to speak. The four of us cleaned several large islands in two hours. 15 or 20 people could have done the whole parking lot in about 90 minutes, but I doubt they would have had more fun.
Our parking lot islands are populated with black sage, little red berry and California rose. The latter's hips shimmy in the photo above and its thorns wrote their tale on my forearms. I got an excellent upper body workout.
The islands, and the spaces next to them that look like they're paved with beige bricks, are a permeable filtration system that removes trash and impurities from storm water before it runs into the Arroyo stream bed. I never knew a parking lot island could be an engineering marvel, but in Lot I they are marvels indeed.
Another marvel is the number of cigarette butts down there getting filtered out of our water. An amazing amount of cigarette butts. I said to Wilson, "Are these things major polluters? Or do they biodegrade?" He said "Oh, they biodegrade if you give 'em a hundred years or so."
If you'd like to be informed about Arroyo volunteering opportunities, you can fill out the ASF's volunteer form. There's always something to do. It's likely you'll meet Wilson and Tim in the process. Big plus.