Thousands of elementary schoolchildren throughout Southern California will learn about the importance and significance of the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem through an award by Metropolitan Water District's Community Partnering Program. The award will help fund the Ballona Wetlands Foundation's newly created Wonders of Wetlands (WOW) Team's educational outreach, an interactive program, including field trips to the wetlands for grades K-5.
Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-36th), Los Angeles 6th District Councilmember Ruth Galanter, Kristen Montet, planning deputy for Los Angeles 11th District Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski and Richard Harasick, LADWP's assistant director of water resources, joined Metropolitan in presenting $4,000 to the Ballona Wetlands Foundation during a ceremony that included third-grade students from Norwood Elementary School.
"Ballona is one of our city's best teaching tools," Harman said. "This grant and the partnership it represents helps all L.A. kids learn the importance of clean water and their connections with the environment. I'm happy to be associated with Wonders of Wetlands and this effort."
Wendy Rains, executive director for the Ballona Wetlands Foundation, said the WOW Team "has proven to be the most successful program we've launched. We've reached thousands of children, and our WOW team has helped the children to understand why the wetlands must thrive."
The WOW team program's primary goal is to spark the interest and respect for the Ballona Wetlands and its relationship with the entire ecosystem of the Los Angeles watershed.
The program includes many interactive activities depicting the fundamental functions of wetlands such as filtering pollutants from urban run-off, absorbing excess water and preventing flooding. A follow-up field trip to the wetlands enables students to get firsthand experience of the natural habitat.
Metropolitan's board of directors established the Community Partnering Program in 1999 as a way to promote water awareness and education by sponsoring efforts in the communities of the district's 5,200-square-mile service area.
Under the CPP, sponsorships are provided for water-related activities such as public forums, educational and research programs, exhibits and other community-based events. Memberships in national, state, regional and local associations that support MWD's corporate and mission statements also are eligible, as well as educational mini-grants and innovative conservation programs.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 17 million people in six counties. The District imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other water-management programs.
For more information on our Community Partnering Program, check out MWD's Web site at www.mwdH2O.com.