On the River with Shelly Backlar

This week, we began our first day of production by taking the LALA student producers down to the river to meet Shelly Backlar, Executive Director of FoLAR (Friends of the LA River). FoLAR's mission is to protect and restore the natural and historic heritage of the Los Angeles River and its riparian habitat through inclusive planning, education and wise stewardship.

Our day began with a mile-long walk from the school to the river with a stop at a graffiti-covered bridge where we admired its vibrant grittiness and gathered our thoughts about the river.

The Bridge

Before learning about the river's past and potential future, the students took some time to reflect upon what the river means to them. Most of the students expressed ambivalence towards the river -- just something that was there, something they passed everyday, but to which they gave little thought.

After the exercise, our journey led us to Ms. Backlar at FoLAR who took us to Steelhead Park, a small pocket park in Elysian Valley where the natural bottom of the river meets the concrete.

We set-up the video camera and our students conducted an interview with her, using questions they had prepared. The interview went very well as you can see from the perspective of two students, Elly Hernandez and Marcy Zaragoza, who both blogged about the experience.

Click below to view the production slide show.

Next week, we are scheduled to interview Sabrina Drill and Camm Swift, two biologists who will talk about fish and wildlife in the L.A. River, Elysian Valley section.

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