The restoration of the Los Angeles Historic Park provided an incredible opportunity to develop and implement an IPM program for the 32-acre park, which is located close to downtown Los Angeles. The plans for the park were well laid out and the plant palette and planting design allowed Area IPM Advisor Cheryl Wilen and consultant Phil Boise (Urban Ag Ecology) and others to focus on specific areas where they could provide IPM guidance to the park staff. Because this park is one of the few green spaces in a densely populated area, it is well used by the ethnically and age-diverse communities surrounding the park. The park is also adjacent to the Los Angeles River. In fact, it was so important to the community that a local organization, Metabolic Studio, funded this project. Therefore, it was critical that the pest management program was designed to reduce human exposure to pesticides and pesticide runoff into the river.
Working with input from a steering committee for this three-year project, UC ANR and collaborators developed an IPM Policy that the park can follow to make pest management decisions, prioritize management resources, and refer to when the public requires rationale about how the park is managed as related to pest management. Wilen and Boise held workshops for the park's landscaping and science interpretation staff to train them about plant health, soil improvement, and implementation of IPM, often using the resources from the UC IPM Program.
“We found that the landscaping staff became much more aware of the ways they could modify their practices to reduce pest problems after Cheryl and I trained them at the workshops." ––Phil Boise
“We found that the landscaping staff became much more aware of the ways they could modify their practices to reduce pest problems after Cheryl and I trained them at the workshops," says Boise. In addition to the workshops, Wilen and research assistant Monica Dimson used the landscape architectural plan provided by the Park to create a guidebook, Plant and Pest Guide: Los Angeles State Historic Park, which includes common pest issues related to plants. The park staff and others, including visitors, are now using the guidebook to identify pests and report to the IPM Coordinator. Further, a volunteer, inspired by the guidebook, developed a citizen science project in the iNaturalist app. There have been over 550 observations recorded in the iNaturalist project, and over 200 species have been identified including some beneficials and pests. The park’s educational staff distributed informational brochures about IPM in English, Spanish, and Mandarin to the public that visits the park. This collaborative project successfully developed comprehensive resources to reduce exposure to pesticides, while raising awareness and increasing enjoyment in a valued urban green space.
(Modified slightly from Wilen’s UC Delivers article.)