Environmental Incentives and Programs in L.A. County

Photo by Flickr user normanackSustainable Works Green Living Workshops
The city of Santa Monica and Santa Monica College offer Sustainable Works' environmental education programs free to Santa Monica residents and for a $50 fee to everyone else. The Green Living Workshops consist of six one-and-a-half hour sessions, each focusing on a different topic, e.g. recycling, water efficiency, reducing energy usage, making better consumer choices, etc. In addition to educating attendees about how to reduce their environmental impact, the workshops offer money-saving tips and gift bags including eco tools like compact fluorescent bulbs and reusable shopping bags.

Composting Sales and Workshop in Griffith Park
The city of Los Angeles offers free backyard composting workshops at its Griffith Park Composting Education facility. The city also subsidizes the cost of composting bins so they can be purchased at the bargain price of $20 (smaller worm bins are available for $5). Visit the Sanitation Department of Public Works website to find a full schedule of bin sales events and workshops.

Smart Gardening Workshops
LA County's free Smart Gardening Workshops are held at locations all over the greater Los Angeles area. Beginning workshops focus on composting, grasscycling and water-wise garden maintenance, while Advanced Workshops dive deeper into landscape design, native planting, irrigation systems, soil maintenance and organic pest control.

Community Sustainability Workshops at TreePeople
TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit headquartered in Coldwater Canyon, offers free Community Sustainability Workshops on topics like rainwater harvesting and native plant landscaping. Citizen Forestry training is also available for anyone who wants to lead the charge to plant more trees in his/her community. Workshops and training sessions last for several hours and require reservations.

Sustainable Sundays at the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum makes going green a family affair with its monthly Sustainable Sundays series. The events range from biodiversity lectures to hands-on activities like pruning fruit trees and installing a grey water system. Some activities are free with museum admission and to NHM members, while others charge a fee. Visit the Upcoming Events page for details.

Million Trees LA Tree Donation
In an effort to green (and shade) the city, Mayor Villaraigosa introduced the Million Trees LA initiative, a partnership between the city, community groups, businesses and residents. Los Angeles residents and property owners can participate by planting up to seven residential trees -- donated by the city -- on their property. To find out if you're eligible for the residential tree program, submit an inquiry here.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden Classes and Workshops
In addition to fee-based community programs like bird walks, yoga and tai chi classes, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont offers free native plant clinics at its Grow Native Nursery on the first Saturday of every month.

About the Author

Erin Harris is the editor of sustainable living blog SimpleFives.com and author of "Walking LA: 38 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed." She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and tw...
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