By Jason KUROSU
The Friends of the Rosemont Preserve was formed last year when a group of community volunteers sought to prevent the development of 7.75 acres of land and turn the open space into a sanctuary dedicated to nature preservation and education.
Thus, the one-year anniversary of the land’s purchase was a cause for celebration and one was held Saturday morning at the site of the preserve at the top of Rosemont Avenue.
Paul Rabinov of the Friends of the Rosemont Preserve thanked the volunteers who spent the months preceding the anniversary building the trails and removing invasive species of plant life from the area.
Rabinov also thanked the donors who helped the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy purchase the land, citing assistance from Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office as well as Assemblyman Mike Gatto and Assemblyman Anthony Portantino.
Gatto and Portantino also applauded the volunteers’ efforts.
“What this community was able to do, to come together and make this place a reality, is really extraordinary,” said Gatto.
“This really was a community effort, from the announcement at Rosemont Middle School last year to today,” said Portantino, also a board member of the Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy.
The trail was also dedicated to Mountain Avenue Elementary third graders who were the first students to visit the preserve for a field trip. Parents worked with Mountain Avenue to include the preserve into the third grade science curriculum.
Archana Sudamilla, a bioinformatician and parent who developed the curriculum, said she viewed the preserve as a “hands-on science lab, bringing nature closer to the kids.” The curriculum is focused particularly on adaptation, how the current plants came to coexist and adapt to the geography of the land. There is also a project in mind for a Girl Scout troop to plant 60 trees on the property later in the year.
Those present at the anniversary celebration were also privy to the preserve’s first docent-led tours. The docents come with backgrounds in science and knowledge of the area. The information provided in the tour coincides with the curriculum developed at Mountain Avenue, for identifying the native plants and any remaining invasive species, as well as instances of adaptation present within the property.
Rabinov kept his speech short, knowing the ribbon cutting and first tours were imminent, the culmination of a year’s work come to fruition.
“This event means just as much to me as when my wife and I moved into our home in La Crescenta 18 years ago, the excitement and pride that we felt which we wanted to share with people that we care about,” said Rabinov.