LA River Walking Tour with STEAM Legacy High School

On Tuesday, July 16th I had the incredible opportunity to lead a group of 20 high school students and their teacher on a walking tour of the Los Angeles River. The students are part of the Water Equity and Technology program at STEAM Legacy High School in South Gate. For one of their projects, the students had to test the water quality of the LA River. After gathering samples from the LA River in South Gate, the class decided to take a trip to a different part of the LA River so that they could compare the water samples.

The students had not been to the middle of the Los Angeles River before, but River LA was more than excited to help them explore it! The walking tour began at Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park. Students first listened to an overview of River LA, the variety of career opportunities that relate to water and conservation, and a brief history of the LA River. Next the students were led on to the LA River bike path to see the river up close.

Not long into the walk, an orphan duckling marched itself up the embankment and straight into our group! I encouraged the students to give the duckling space and let it continue on its journey, but it quickly became clear this duckling had every intention of staying with our group. We searched up and down a stretch of the river for it’s family, but only lone ducks and herons were spotted. Considering the duckling would continue to follow us along the hot bike path all alone, I decided to call the California Wildlife Center. They readily agreed to rescue the orphan duckling and we plan to check in with them soon and see how our new friend is doing!

The rest of the tour went as planned and the students truly had a blast. As we walked toward Sunnynook Park, I chatted with students about wildlife, trash issues, and access issues. Their teacher eventually found a safe spot for the students to collect their samples and the students were amazed to see invertebrates and small fish in the river! On our walk back, the students excitedly talked about what the water quality test would reveal and how they could help improve the river.

It was wonderful to share a summer day on the LA River with this class! We can’t wait to follow up to hear the results and continue the conversation about the LA River!

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