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Long Beach Native Embarks On L.A. River Trek


Originally published by Gazettes

By Emily Thornton

January 24, 2o16


She’s always had a curiosity for water.

Tamara Lang, a Long Beach native, will embark on a bicycle and foot trek along the Los Angeles River next month.

Her journey will showcase the marine thoroughfare, exploring communities living in an urban watershed.

“The idea is just to show what the river looks like to people,” Lang said. “It will show people about the ecosystem, and about the very affluent (people) to very poor. They’re all tied together through the river.”

The watershed educational campaign isn’t much of a fundraiser, Lang said, as she’s already raised money for the trek. Accompanying her is Glenn Lewis, who will photograph the journey from the Pacific Ocean to the tributaries of the San Gabriel Mountains. Some money they receive will go to the Friends of the Los Angeles River, she said, but most will go toward putting on the events and educational material.

The two leave on Feb. 5, and end their trek with the Rain Day Watershed Fair and Photography Exhibition back in Long Beach on Feb. 27.

Ideally, Lang said she hopes to solidify public awareness of the watershed through their narratives and documentation.

She said the idea came to her while she was working at the Aquarium of the Pacific in 2008.
569fc65ef25da.image“I talked a lot about water there,” Lang said.

She added growing up in Long Beach helped, since she was exposed to water.

“The ocean was where anything wild was,” Lang said. “We went to the ocean all of the time.”

Naturally, she said she became a lifeguard for the city as soon as possible, and stayed in the program for six years.

Lang moved to South Korea — one of her many travels — in 2013 to teach English. While there, she discovered the haenyeo, or “sea women” who dive in the Korean province of Jeju. The women are usually in their 60s, she said, have an independent spirit and dive 10 to 15 meters.

It’s a tradition dating to the 1600s, she added, when there was more of a matriarchal culture.

“I ended up studying with them,” Lang said. “We dove for urchins.”

After that trip, and subsequent diving, Lang said she decided to put her river trek into action, and began planning.

Lang returned to Long Beach in 2015 and now is a part-time deckhand for a whale watching boat. She’s petitioned for funding and publicity of the Feb. 27 event since then.

She said she’s fascinated with the river.

“It’s interesting,” Lang said. “It’s a channel, concrete and land. Not really a space you see as a river.”

The fair will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Marina Vista Park, 5355 E. Eliot St.

The photography show will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the United States Sailing Center, 5489 E. Ocean Blvd.

For more information, visit, where Lang will post her blogs.

To donate, email Lang at She said her goal is to have between $1,000 and $1,500.

“The more funds we raise, the more we will be able to spend on educational materials for a higher-quality education experience,” Lang said.