21 Sep Thanks to all who supported FoLAR’s Noche del Rio Gala on Sept 13, 2018
Last week FoLAR hosted its annual Noche del Rio Gala at the LA River Center and Gardens. All who attended were treated to a stellar evening celebrating the River Movement. FoLAR prides itself in mobilizing community members behind a restored Los Angeles River; to do so we seek to convene communities along the riverbanks and in our neighborhoods.
This year FoLAR chose three exceptional members of our community as River Champions. Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo and Laura Friedman were recognized for their steadfast support for the River and for introducing critical pieces of legislation that will ensure more people of all walks of life enjoy our River. Additionally, FoLAR honored MRCA Ranger Edgar del Campo, a veteran of FoLAR’s docent program and the FrogSpot who continues to steward the River and lead nature tours for the community as a ranger. You can read more about them, and our longest standing board member Alex Ward below.
Following our recognition of these leaders, FoLAR showcased art from the community in letters and song. Author Tim DeRoche read a touching selection from his retelling of the Mark Twain classic, set on the LA River, The Ballad of Huck and Miguel. Poet Astrid debuted a poem dedicated to the River and commissioned for the event. Finally, local student and River steward Briar Kirk shared with the audience her original River song, “The Story of Los Angeles“.
The Noches del Rio event is made possible by the generous support of M2O Incorporated, Metabolic Studio, and Toyota Financial Services. Attendees were treated to an exceptional meal prepared by Chef Michelle and LA Kitchen. Additional support for our event from in-kind sponsors included beer from Fort Point and wine from Silver Lake Wines. Sparkling water from Topo Chico and still water from Agua Vida also refreshed our guests, who kept it sustainable by enjoying their beverages in Repurposable’s sustainable reuseable cupware.
There’s no better way to be a Friend of the LA River than to have your mark engraved next to our founder Lewis MacAdams at the banks of the River. By inscribing your own message for permanent placement at Lewis’s sculpture at MacAdams Riverfront Park, your part in reviving the LA River will be memorialized forever. Personalize your own commemorative brick by making a tax-deductible donation of $1,000, which you can pay upfront or in installments. This is your chance to honor Lewis’s work as the River’s most influential activist! Speak to a FoLAR staff member or visit our website to purchase your commemorative brick today!
Read more about our 2018 River Champions
Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (51st District) is an important voice in support of human rights, environmental justice, and education. She brings a valuable mix of personal experience as a formerly undocumented immigrant, and professional experience in broadcast journalism and labor organizing, to proudly represent the 51st District. After being elected in December 2017, Wendy got to work in her first term, introducing bills to increase access to outdoor experiences for disadvantaged youth and another to increase multi-modal access to our parks – critical needs in park-poor Los Angeles. Wendy immigrated to the United States as a young child during El Salvador’s Civil War and is a first generation American with Salvadoran and Mexican heritage.
Assemblymember Laura Friedman (43rd District) has long been recognized as a steadfast advocate for the environment, equality, and the arts. After serving seven years on the Glendale City Council, including a term as the Mayor of Glendale, Laura was elected to the California State Assembly in 2016. During her first term, Laura secured $20 million in funding for the completion of the Glendale Riverwalk Project, and authored a package of bills to establish landmark water efficiency standards, strengthen environmental sustainability, improve access to transportation alternatives, and create new avenues for communities to tackle the affordable housing crisis. Laura lives in Glendale with her husband, a landscape designer, and their daughter.
Edgar del Campo, MRCA Ranger, grew up crossing the Los Angeles River daily on his walk to school, cementing an early and deep appreciation. He joined the LA Conservation Corps in 2012, actively maintaining and observing the conditions on the River. In the summer of 2014, Edgar supported the Frog Spot’s weekend programming and events. As the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority formed its Bridge to Park career program later that year, FoLAR proudly recommended Edgar, citing his extensive knowledge of the River’s flora and fauna. Edgar continues his work with the MRCA and continues to bring the people to the River by conducting nature walks at our Second Saturday events in Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park.
FoLAR also recognized Alex Ward, it’s longest standing board member. With an affinity for the River and its urban landscape, Alex Ward joined the Board in 2006 and served as Chairman of the Board from 2010 – 2013. When it was apparent that the Sixth Street Viaduct must be replaced, due to a rare chemical reaction that caused the concrete to crumble, Alex advocated for a forward-looking plan. Under his leadership, FoLAR called for an innovative approach – an international competition. The winning design, Ribbon of Light, integrates the iconic arches and creates a 12-acre public park. There is no doubt that the viaduct is a catalyst for River revitalization and will also become a world-class bridge and travel destination.
Thanks to the supporters and sponsors who make our work possible.
Friends of the Los Angeles River is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission since 1986 has been to ensure a publicly accessible and ecologically sustainable Los Angeles River by inspiring River stewardship through community engagement, education, advocacy, and thought leadership. FOLAR is a leading powerful force guiding policy and connecting communities to the River, nationally respected as a leader in urban river revitalization with a membership of 35,000.