Conze success stories- Jan 2nd, 2023

January 2, 2023: Conze success stories

In 2009, the South Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society received a bequest of about $400,000 from the Vincent Conze Living Trust. The Trust document states simply that the bequest is for “Native Plant Garden Projects”. Join us to hear from a few of the Conze Grant recipients about their successful projects.

Confirmed presenters (as of 12/20) include:

  • Michael Letteriello to share details on the creek project at the all-California-native garden at William F. Prisk Elementary school in Long Beach.
  • Bill Ailor will be sharing an update on the two phases of the Beautify Lunada Bay Project located across the street from Lunada Bay Elementary School.

For detailed information about the Conze grant program see

For a recording of the meeting see:

Post Meeting Notes:

Mike Letteriello – Prisk Elementary School SoCal native plants
garden was started 28 years
Conze Grant established a creek through a portion of the garden, a recent addition to the garden.
     rubber pond liner – 40 ft long
     solar powered pump
     juniper steps
     giant “potato” rock and lots of rocks for the kids to scramble on and over.
Beautiful project, gorgeous garden.
IMO, the value financially invested by SCCNPS far surpassed with getting kids interested in so cal native plants and getting access to nature..
Mike talked about other projects he’s recommended in schools (the principal at Prisk when Mike started the project moved to Whittier ES, and interested in starting a similar project there)  And how important natural space is for maintaining a sense of calm and for learning.
Next Open House is Sunday March 26 1-4pm and Sunday April 2, also 1-4pm.
Mike’s non-profit organization is
Bill (and Barb) Ailor – Beautify Lunada Bay
garden was started in 2014.
2 acres – Phase 1A was finished Feb 2018.  Phase 1B was finished July 2018.
BLB won a (local) community garden award in June 2019.
Phase 2 recently began with Conze Grant funds assistance.
    450 ft of DG trail
     big piles of mulch
     rocks lining the trail – donated by the city
     the city pays for the water used to irrigate.
     LOTS of planting (and weeding)
Possibly my favorite statement from Mr. Ailor – “Tony has come and helped with/visited BLB”.
An interesting issue is there are a few folks that live in this (affluent) area that are vehemently AGAINST BLB as a project.
       This is amazing.  The space is absolutely gorgeous.
Lunada Elementary School is on the south side of this garden, providing nature access to children.
BLB has regular volunteer days on the First Saturday of each month from 9-11:30am.  
This next Saturday Jan 7 – they plan to do more planting in Phase 2 of the garden.

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