Hermosa Valley School Conze Grant

Hermosa Valley School is the site of two Conze grants.  Suzanne Evans (through Friends of the Park) applied for the first Conze Grant which was presented May 7, 2015 for $1,500.00.  A second Conze Grant was presented May 16, 2018 for $1,000.00.  Suzanne notes that additional financial help was received from the Hermosa Beach Garden Club.

Here is a description of the project in Suzanne’s own words, edited somewhat for length and clarity.  Suzanne’s complete write up is available here.  As she notes below, her plant list was generated by Tony Baker.

The purpose, the goal, the horizon of the restoration is that the Valley School students (3-8th grades) can have a Sand Dune included in their school curriculum, having then an Indoors-class study and Outdoors-observation and hands-on participation.

As a child I remember sandy lots in Hermosa and plants growing in them. The yellow flowers were the Beach Evening Primrose and the pink and purple were the Sand Verbena.

Sand Verbena (Abronia_umbellata)

I remember seeing little blue butterflies at our Valley home while north of our home grew patches of Sea Cliff Buckwheat. This native vegetation disappeared drastically over the years. This was always a concern of our mother. After our father passed away in 2010 I was frequently in Hermosa Beach, while our home was unfortunately sold. Upon walking about Hermosa I happened to find various newspaper articles concerning native plants, which i found lying on benches. For example: The Beach Reporter and the article VALLEY STUDENTS CREATE THE STRAND’S FIRST NATIVE PLANTS GARDEN (Eric Stitt, March 25, 2010) and the Peninsula People CONSERVATION (David Rosenfeld July 2012) and their article was about the PVPLC and their 25 years of preserving +restoring native habitat in Palos Verdes.

Using the Valley School ramp for walks [to the beach between 2005 and 2012] I had eyed the growth of ice plant, weeds, and acacia trees on this back sand dune school property. The non-natives had taken over, areas were unkempt, wild and there were very few open areas of sand to be seen. I remembered the articles I had found, and thought if these people are doing such amazing efforts for conserving native habitat then I can try to to restore the Sand Hill, as I called it, and make it a project for the Hermosa Valley School students.

October 2014 was the official beginning with the Hermosa Valley School Sand Dune Restoration. A key teacher from Hermosa Valley School, the 8th grade History Teacher, Mrs. Heath said she would participate with her students with the Restoration. She has now accompanied the Restoration for six years. Each year her new classes participate two days in October: one day of clearing an area and the second day planting selected native plants.

Our two Conze Grants were for the purchasing of plants.  Our funds are placed and looked after by the Friends of the Parks. The Conze Grant income for the purchasing of native plants for the Hermosa Valley School Sand Dune Restoration has been a great support, since financially we hold a simple tight budget. From the purchased Bladder Pods planted we have seeds and new plants which have come up from these seeds. From the Sea Cliff Buckwheats we have 5 plants which have come by seed. A success for the Valley School Sand Dune Restoration is that the purchased native plants are casting their seeds. It is important we continue to open up the areas of covered areas of Ice plant and rid areas of the Acacia and their troublesome leaves, which cover the sandy surfaces.

The Restoration has natives coming up from seed which is a big success. I have also collected native seed from the MB fenced-off Sand Dune area* and from the remaining sandy lots in Hermosa Beach since 2012. The two local native seeds of Hermosa Beach are the Beach Evening Primrose and the Sand Verbena, which are coming up by themselves now from seed. We have
the open areas of sand for them to grow in where they can establish their own sandy community.

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