Larchmont Charter High School Goes Native

Planting at Larchmont Charter
Mandy Breuer, (left) principal of secondary program at Larchmont Charter, takes a break from planting alongside Felix Garcia, LCS Facilities Manager and Amy Frame of Grown in LA.

Larchmont Charter’s La Fayette Campus started digging into the new school year this past Saturday by planting California natives into four large parkway beds and becoming a part of the “Grown in LA” movement.

“We want to be part of the native plant movement in Los Angeles, it’s in line with our mission and will empower our students and teachers to realize they can do something right now for a more sustainable LA,” Larchmont Charter Lafayette Campus (Grades 7-12) School Leader Mandy Breuer told the Larchmont Buzz in between digging holes and watering the new gardens alongside parent and student volunteers.

After learning about the need to source millions of native plants over the coming decades for the restoration of the LA River project and other green infrastructure projects in the Greater LA Area, Breuer decided Larchmont Charter would be a great place to help re-green Los Angeles by planting natives, and harvesting the seeds they produce, to plant yet more native plants. Over the past decade, Breuer built the academic, environmental and counseling programs for the Environmental Charter High School, so is well versed in environmental projects. Most recently she served as the School Leader for the Selma Campus (5-6th grade) for Larchmont Charter.

Putting in four large-sized plant beds in the parkway along South La Fayette Park Place, on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard,  Larchmont Charter’s plots will become ‘seed banks’ for Grown in LA and other organizations who are always looking for native plants to establish in public and private venues such as parks and empty lots.

GiLA drew up planting plans for the site and supplied plants from the nursery they’re helping to start with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.  Surrounding four Blue Palo Verde trees that were planted last year, the volunteer crew planted ceonothus, coyote brush, deergrass, and yarrow plants. They hope to rope off the plots so the new plantings won’t be trampled down, and provide signage so that passersby can learn from example.

“I’m excited for our students to go through the science part of it,” Breuer told the Buzz. “They will be researching what grows best in this kind of soil and these light conditions, and compare and contrast what parts of LA might have similar types of soil and conditions. We hope to be part of the supply of seeds, and eventually plants, for the greening of LA,” she said. Breuer noted that Larchmont Charter, like many urban campuses across LA, doesn’t have a lot of land, but can learn vertical planting techniques and hopefully one day be a supplier for native plants that go to many public planting projects, such as the LA River Revitalization. 

Larchmont Charter’s High School Program also held a giant yard sale and campus cleanup on Saturday. The facility was buzzing with parents and volunteers getting ready for the school year, and complimenting the bees and pollinators already buzzing around the newly installed native plantings outside.

Larchmont Charter native plantings
Student volunteers Audrey Vega and Penelope Goldin help install the gardens at Larchmont Charter.
Mandy Breuer
Mandy Breuer, Principal of the secondary program at Larchmont Charter, amidst the new landscape.
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About Julie Grist

Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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