On Saturday, April 28, FilmL.A. staffers and their families participated in the 23rd Annual Los Angeles River Clean Up. La Gran Limpieza, as the event is also known, is hosted by Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) and happens annually the week after Earth Day. This year, the countywide event attracted an estimated 4,000 total participants. The Los Angeles River flows through 15 cities spanning from the San Fernando Valley to the ocean spillout in Long Beach.
FilmL.A. representatives, all dressed in “FilmL.A. Volunteer” t-shirts and work gloves, gathered at the Elysian Valley Gateway Park near Dodger Stadium along with a hundred other volunteers. With buckets and trash bags in hand, the clean up crew worked diligently to make the river more inhabitable for countless birds, fish, frogs and other wildlife that call the L.A. River home. By day’s end, some 20 tons of garbage and debris were pulled from the river and its surrounding areas — trash that would eventually flow into the Pacific Ocean. Among the items collected were many curiosities; FilmL.A. volunteers discovered an intravenous therapy (IV) bag, clothing, rusted cans, food wrappers, car parts, shopping carts, old toys, jewelry, bedding and countless plastic grocery bags.
The event culminated with a raffle at the park for the river clean up participants. Some of the raffle gifts included a $50 gift card for a massage, a vegan dessert cook book, an L.A. Kings key chain and sunglasses, a book telling the history of the L. A. River and FilmL.A. travel mugs! The son of FilmL.A.’s Senior Billing and Collections Specialist Maricela Garcia, won an autographed T-shirt previously worn and donated by Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. In addition to the raffle, clean up volunteers received a reusable shopping bag noting the many uses and benefits of the river. The message at the bottom of the bag inspires all to “Imagine a Los Angeles River revitalized for all to enjoy!” The shopping bags are made of recycled plastic. Participants also received a t-shirt commemorating the event.
The work yielded results that could be seen and felt. “We made a difference today,” said Aniello, son of FilmL.A. VP Susan Angrisano. Daniel III, the nephew of FilmL.A. Communication Specialist Danielle Matthews Walker even discovered a tadpole in one of the river’s side pools. Prior to the clean up event, the only tadpoles Daniel had ever seen were in his school books.
Here’s to hoping we see even more tadpoles next year.