The man who loved trees

Scott Wilson in the courtyard of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works headquarters, where he had gone in June 2011 to protest the felling of an Arcadia oak grove by the county Flood Control District. Photo: Emily Green

Scott Wilson, founder of North East Trees, died this morning after collapsing in his Eagle Rock garden over the weekend. He was 89.

The man whose urban greening career started with a massive oak planting at Occidental College in 1989 went on to build a non-profit that combined urban forestry with storm water management, river restoration and town planning. In the last 22 years, his team of landscape architects and horticulturists have been responsible for 35 public gardens and the planting of some 50,000 trees. As he fought to revive the Los Angeles River, former staffer landscape architect Jessica Hall remembers his clarion call being “We’ve just got to

The Dry Garden: Empathy for the underground

To learn more about why poisoning gophers is to kill indiscriminately, click on this graphic by UCLA Environmental Studies student Christine Danner to be taken to the site Urban Carnivores.

Plant ecologist Paula Schiffman came to praise gophers when she packed a lecture last spring hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of the California Native Plant Society. It was awkward for the Cal State Northridge professor, given that most of the audience filling a cold, no-frills Santa Monica meeting room had come to learn how to kill the animals.

The atmosphere only got colder as Schiffman’s live-and-let-live message began to sink in: Gophers were here before us, they are integral to our local ecology, and one of the most common ways that we kill them also can accidentally poison a whole host of other animals.

Click here to keep reading The Dry Garden’s “Detente with the gopher

High good, low bad: Mead in October 2011

While we set out to scare each other last night, Lake Mead was all about reassurance. The largest storage reservoir on the Colorado River continued to rise as a result of last winter’s generous snowpack. Allowing for some tweaking by federal river keepers, Mead closed at midnight on Halloween 2011 at 1,120.00 feet.

This is almost 37 feet higher than the previous October closing.


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