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"CommonLore connects me with the tools, resources and models to strengthen my planning for building student led, service based opportunities in lessons and projects—modeling and teaching sustainable habits for healthy communities."
Aida Lugo, Teaching Artist
Los Angeles

"Inviting students to 'fall in love' with their subject matter is a simple but revolutionary concept. It re-engages students with the learning process in a way that allows students to take pride and ownership in what they are learning."
Jonny Rodgers
Service-Learning Director
Campbell Hall School

"During the Summer Institute we found out that the lake in MacArthur Park in our school's Westlake neighborhood is fed by natural springs and is a watershed for the LA River. My students were excited to learn this and now want to start a park beautification project to support the ecological health of the urban park and its surroundings."
Paul Lowe, LAUSD Teacher
Westlake Neighborhood

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As a metropolitan area, greater Los Angeles sits at a figurative intersection of North America, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim. One of the cores of California's economy, the eighth largest in the world, Los Angeles contains a multitude of diverse communities, integrated within a dynamic economy and a globally rare Mediterranean environment.

After long being “lost in plain sight,” the Los Angeles River is beginning to emerge from its near century of concrete-urban-entombment, with an unprecedented effort now underway to physically revitalize the LA River itself, along with its immediate environment. In this context people from all walks of life—throughout the Los Angeles area are becoming newly aware of the River. As future community leaders and stewards of the River, our students are crucial to the process of reimagining both the River and life in the communities that surround it. 

Exploring the Past of the Los Angeles River Basin
—Tongva the first people nation of Los Angeles County, by Linda Gonzales

The Land of Forests: Mark Acuna describes the LA River when it was once a great willow forest.

California's Education and the Environmental Initiative (EEI) curriculum. If you are not familiar, it is a free K-12 standards-based curriculum that teaches standards through an environmental lens.


FoLAR: Friends of the Los Angeles River is a non-profit group protecting the natural and historic heritage of the waterway. Started in 1986, FoLAR single handedly brought the LA River back into the consciousness of Angelinos through their tireless education and advocacy. Their website is a treasure trove of resources.

Los Angeles ROOTED: Cultivating urban youth as community leaders rooted in ancestral wisdom and environmental stewardship. L.A. Rooted  is a grassroots summer youth program which aims to cultivate youth leadership in the areas of environmental stewardship, community empowerment, food sovereignty and self-care. 

LARiver Watershed Wonders, Resource Guide: An excellent primer and overview of LA River, this document provides rich information about the history, flora, fauna, and present day problems of LA River and its riparian environment.  It includes a thorough historical timeline, tales of a present-day kayaker who traversed the entire length, lesson plan ideas, etc.

Northeast Los Angeles: Myriad Unnamed Streams, a history of streams and water

Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan

Video: The LA River Story: 7 minutes, from Mayor's Office, brief overview of history, Army Corp project, and the riparian environment of LA River.


FOLAR LA River PSA Challenge: To spark ideas, here is a curriculum where High Schoolers write and produce PSAs about different issues concerning the LA River. It is full of resources about enviromental issues, public planning, art, education, gentrification, all about the river!

Where's my creek? Find a former waterway or wetland near you! Fantastic maps of the watersheds of LA showing historical creeks, wetlands, lakes, etc. "Find a historical stream or wetland in your neighborhood!  If it’s in a pipe, and surrounded by parkland, you may be able to daylight it (dig it up) and make it a stream again.  Knowing where the creek was might help you understand your neighborhood better – why some areas tend to be wetter, why some houses are designed the way they are, etc.  Old-timers in your neighborhood may delight in telling you what the area was like way-back."

LA Creek Freak: a blog "Towards healthy Southern California streams, creeks, rivers and neighborhoods".

Article: "Century-Old Hobo Graffiti Found Under L.A. River Bridge" An anthropologist follows trail of century-old hobo graffiti in LA. Project connections:  history, homelessness and housing crisis, anthropology, enthnography, history of urban graffiti. Another article: "100 Year Old Hobo Graffiti"

Article: "The Olmsted Brothers plan and what might have been": Project connections: history, city planning for public spaces, envisioning and creating the future Los Angeles

Article: "The Law That Killed the LA River

Article: Gentrification Comes to the LA River


KCET: Confluence: News and stories related to the revitalization of the Los Angeles River and surrounding communities from KCET public media. Wide range of salient and inspiring stories and news related to all aspects of LARiver!


LA River Access and Points of Interest: A google map showing every single access point, park, bike, trail, and point of interest on the entire stretch of river. Excellent for planning field trips!

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The following two maps show bike paths, access points, parks, and Metro stops along the River. The first one covers Griffith Park, Atwater Village and Elysian Valley. The second map, Lower River,  covers Downtown LA, Boyle Heights, Gateway Cities, and Long Beach.




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