Taking a walk in the park

On a recent hike in the trails of Deukmejian Wilderness Park, La Crescenta resident Mareta Kreher and her 8-year-old son Lucas noticed a variety of colorful flowers blooming along the hillsides.

So when Kreher learned that restoration ecologist Melanie Keeley would be leading an educational wildflower walk on Saturday morning, her interest was piqued.

“Not being native to California,” Kreher, who was born in Germany, said, while waiting for the hike to begin, “I'm kind of curious to learn all the names.”

The wildflower walk was one of a variety of activities hosted throughout the day at the wilderness park for the city's Earth Day events, sponsored by the Glendale Community Services & Parks department.

Burbank city officials also hosted Earth Day related activities — including an electric vehicle display and free bicycle tune-ups — in the “green zone” area of the city's weekend arts festival in downtown Burbank.

At Deukmejian, attendants found a variety of booths, including arts and crafts for children and an electronic waste drop-off both hosted by Goodwill of Southern California.

Volunteer Kristy Pittman, who greeted event visitors with California poppy seeds and other gardening offerings, said her boyfriend George Ballterias, a Glendale parks official, had organized the event, and she decided to take part herself.

“We've been going to Earth Day events in different cities and always enjoyed it,” she said.

Many of the day's activities were focused on continued restoration efforts at the park, which saw nearly all of its 709 acres blackened during the Station fire and many of its trails washed out in the ensuing debris flows in the winter of 2011.

Earlier in the morning on Saturday, volunteers tended to 50 big cone spruces— watering and weeding the recently planted trees to help them become firmly established in the soil.

Later in the afternoon, city officials led attendants in a walk to gather seeds from native plants found along the trails.

“All of these events help bring attention to the more than 5,000 acres of open space we have here in Glendale,” Jeff Weinstein, the city's trails and open space specialist, said in a release.

“We have a great recreational venue right here in our own backyard.”

Many in attendance agreed, describing the park as a welcome getaway from the city life.

“It's wonderful,” said Riverside resident Cynthia Balteria, taking in the mountain views.

“You can't even imagine the city being right there.”

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World