Assemblymember Friedman Honors Descanso Gardens

Assemblymember Laura Friedman, left, named Descanso Gardens as Non-Profit of the Year in Assembly District 43. Next to her are executive director Juliann Rooke and Don Voss.
Photo provided by Office of Assemblymember Friedman

On Thursday, Oct. 13 Assemblymember Laura Friedman honored Descanso Gardens as Non-Profit of the Year in Assembly District 43. The organization was presented with a resolution and all staffers – a total of 68 employees – and 22 Descanso Gardens Guild board of trustees members received a certificate of recognition from the Assemblymember.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, these grounds were such a respite for my family. It was one of the only places that my daughter could just stretch out, run around and feel safe,” said Assemblymember Friedman. “Descanso Gardens has brought so much comfort during trying times. This recognition is very personal to me, and I know the experience has been similar for so many other families in the district. Thank you to the Descanso Gardens Guild, Juliann Rooke, Donald Voss and everyone who helps makes this place great.”   

“Great towns have great parks. Unfortunately, in La Cañada, as a city, we are park-poor. However, because Descanso Gardens is a county park facility, we are park rich,” said La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Keith Eich as he also presented a certificate to Descanso Gardens from the city. “And this place is a fantastic resource for not just our community but all the surrounding communities.”

“This is a county park, a county facility, a public space that is operated on behalf of the county by the Descanso Gardens Guild. I have to say that the breadth and the scope of the county’s parks service is pretty expansive,” said Hugo Maldonado, Regional Operations manager of LA County Parks and Recreation. “I myself manage 30 swimming pool facilities; I oversee the four botanical gardens, eight nature centers and several other large regional parks within the County of Los Angeles. The point I’m trying to make is that the facility that I have to worry the least about is Descanso Gardens. And the reason is the Guild and Juliann have done such an outstanding job of managing this facility throughout the years.”

Descanso Gardens is a first-rate sanctuary where people can experience both the flora that is key to local ecosystems and notable species from all over the world. Partnering with local schools, Descanso honors the land and its history, fosters a love for nature for the next generation. The community has shown that it cherishes the educational and recreational opportunities provided at the Gardens.

“We are so honored to be chosen by Assemblymember Friedman’s office,” said Juliann Rooke, executive director of Descanso Gardens. “We are proud to be part of such an impressive group of organizations working to make a difference in the community.”