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Songs and Restoration at This Year's L.A. River CleanUp

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It's that time of the year once again. Friends of the L.A. River (FoLAR) is hosting the 26th annual Great L.A. River CleanUp on three Saturdays in April, at three different earth-bottom sections of the Los Angeles River.

"The Los Angeles River runs through the heart of L.A., and these earth-bottom sections of the River are a vital green space we share. Every year the CleanUp connects people from across the county by bringing them to the River which ties us together," said Lewis MacAdams, founder and president of FoLAR, in a statement. "The CleanUp is more than stewardship; it's a celebration and a call to creatures like the steelhead trout. The Los Angeles River is getting ready for them to come home."

The event, which has drawn up to 3,000 people from all over Los Angeles in previous years, features gift giveaways, family activities, refreshments, and live bands from around Los Angeles.

Participating musical acts include Tone in Georgia, musicians from the Antelope Valley known for doowop and five-part harmonies; The Getdown Boys, a high-energy bluegrass band; Sista Jean and CB, a Rolling Hills-based blues duo; and Rivoah, a family band from Los Angeles.

"[The bands] bring a good rhythm to our 'work party,'" said MacAdams, "because of FoLAR's strong vein in art and music, which is unusual for most environmental organizations, having musical performers participate in our CleanUp like this seems fitting."

Just like every site on the CleanUp has its own rhythm and character, so do the participating bands. Many of the bands are returning acts who've also played at Frog Spot, FoLAR's short term oasis along the Los Angeles River bikeway last year. "The love of the river is what brings these bands to the river," said MacAdams, "It's kind of like a SXSW with flippers."

Apart from musical acts, CleanUps will also feature the Los Angeles River Rover, the organization's mobile education center. Aside from helping clean up the river, guests can also learn more about the history of the river, as well as educate young minds by viewing aquatic insects through a microscope and observing mosquito fish in a tank.

The Great Los Angeles River CleanUp will take place at the following sites:

April 11, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Upper River/San Fernando Valley: Big Tujunga Wash at Haines Channel Canyon; the Sepulveda Basin; the Bette Davis Picnic Area adjacent to Griffith Park; and the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk. The River Rover will be at the Bette Davis Picnic Area.

April 18, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Middle River/Glendale Narrows: Los Feliz Blvd. in Atwater Village and Griffith Park; the Sunnynook Footbridge in Atwater Village; the Fletcher Drive and Bowtie Parcel, a large open expanse owned by The California State Parks and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Marsh Park in Elysian Valley; Steelhead Park in Elysian Valley; and the Arroyo Seco Confluence. The River Rover will be at the Fletcher Drive and Bowtie Parcel in the Nelson Miller parking lot, where volunteers can enter the site.

April 25, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Lower River: Lower Compton Creek; Willow Street Estuary in Long Beach; and the Golden Shore Marine Reserve, one of the few remaining wetlands left in Los Angeles County. The River Rover will be at Compton Creek.

Volunteers will receive a tote bag along with a custom-designed t-shirt by the artist Christian Kasperkovitz, who also helped design the River Rover; family friendly activities; and refreshments will be provided at each site. Reserve your spot at FoLAr's website

Trash collected from the FoLAR CleanUp, 2013
Trash collected from the FoLAR CleanUp, 2013

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