Ocean Friendly Gardens, Basic Class
April 03 2012

Fire Station’s Ocean Friendly Garden: Indoor & Outdoor Classroom

by Paul Herzog

After creating a new public demonstration Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) at Fire Station 171, Surfrider's South Bay and West LA/Malibu Chapter OFG Sub-Committee returned there to hold an OFG Watershed Basics Class with West Basin Municipal Water District. Surfrider and West Basin received a grant from the State of California to hold classes and build demonstration gardens.

The Fire Battalion Chief, Kelly Seyarto (pictured at right), told attendees how the OFG used to be a typical lawn, requiring a bunch of time for mowing and weeding. It now provides a beautiful space, less maintenance, and a space through which neighbors walk everyday. The garden is also a good example of firescaping: utilizing native plants and avoiding invasive plants, which can act like a bridge to transfer fire.


South Bay volunteer Beth Kuklicki was joined by new volunteer, Jamie Watson, at the Surfrider table. Beth created a simple educational poster with common questions on the front side, and the answers listed on the back. G3's Pamela Berstler, who taught the class, helped to engage a local landscape contractor (pictured in red shirt) who plans to volunteer with the South Bay Chapter's OFG program.

After a break to feed on food and drink, we headed outside to see, touch and smell the recently completed OFG. Pamela lead us through how the garden "applies CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention" (the principles embodied in OFG). The dry streambed (pictured at right) was filled with rocks that the Fire Department had access to. Surfrider Chapters typically utilize local mulch (tree trimmings) to fill in streambed, then use some rocks or stones to help reinforce the banks of the streambed - particularly where it bends or curves.

We noted that the garden meets the OFG sign criteria. For many of the attendees, it was the first time they had experienced a garden that integrated re-development of healthy soil, use of native plants, preventing of runoff and conservation of drinking water. This OFG has been added to our online OFG map.