LA Conservation Corps Helps Build a Biofiltration System at Local Field Laboratory


Unveiling of the Santa Susana biofilter

Los Angeles Conservation Corps recently attended the opening of a new biofiltration system at Santa Susana Field Laboratory. LACC Corpsmembers helped construct the system. Read below for more information.

Taken from At the Corps, the LACC Newsletter, Vol. 3 Issue 3

The Boeing Company, a panel of internationally recognized surface water experts, representatives from the LA Conservation Corps, Pollinator Partnership and members of the public were on-hand last week during the unveiling of Boeing's new biofiltration system which harnesses natural processes to treat storm water runoff while promoting pollinator habitats at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a former rocket engine test and energy research site.

"Our new biofiltration system supports Boeing's overall strategy to use natural processes to treat storm water and is one component of the company's comprehensive surface water treatment programs," said Paul Costa, Boeing's environmental operations and compliance manager. 

The new $600,000 biofilter uses natural settling, plant uptake, soil processes and specially designed filter media to capture sediment and pollutants before releasing cleaner water back into the watershed.


Boeing partnered with the LA Conservation Corps to plant over 2000 California native plants and collaborated with the Pollinator Partnership to ensure the landscape would support diverse pollinators. The result is a biofilter that acts like a natural ecosystem.

Corpsmembers worked on the project for eight weeks, beginning with a day of safety training and a tour of the facilities. In addition to the planting, corpsmembers created a "learning walk," including 350 feet of walking path, 2 benches and interpretive signage that educates visitors about biofiltration.

Since acquiring its portion of the site in 1996, Boeing has made significant progress toward cleanup and restoration and is moving toward the company's goal of preserving the site as open space parkland. For more information, visit To see more photos of the project, please visit the LACC Facebook page.

A KUPU Intern Shares his Passion for Nature and Photography


From KUPU - Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps 

Chris Wong is one of Kupu’s current 2012-2013 EIP interns (the EIP Program falls under the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps). He is based on Hawaii Island, working with the USDA Forest Service. Chris has played an active role in keeping EIP interns connected 

throughout their term of service, and is currently organizing the second-ever AmeriCorps EIP gathering on the Big Island, at Hakalau Forest and Kanakaleonui Bird Corridor atop Mauna Kea. Chris is an avid wildlife and nature photographer as well -- check out

 a few of his photos from the field (scrolling photos at the top of the page - all photos owned by Chris Wong). 

Throughout his EIP internship Chris has spent a lot of time in the field doing conservation-related management activities, however the most rewarding part of his experience to date has been the opportunity to educate local youth about conserving Hawaii’s natural resources and native species. Kupu asked Chris to describe his internship thus far, and here is what he had to say:

“Since beginning my internship at the US Forest Service, I’ve worked with many projects. I’ve floundered head high in an uluhe/clidemia forest, measured native trees in Kona, tracked rats in the Saddle Road Kipuka and even helped restore the forest at Hakalau. Being in the field is definitely enjoyable and so has applying my horticulture degree in the greenhouse, but the most enjoyable and rewarding experience has been the educational experience. I currently help out with a project called Teaching Change and have taken on my own project called Ulu Lehulehu- the Million Ohia Initiative. Both projects involve working with students in local schools and there, I get to see them excited about the forest. This is especially true with Ulu Lehulehu; I’ve been doing summer internships for four summers now, but being able to pass on knowledge to the next generation is what sets this internship apart from the previous ones. A recent presentation (on March 5th 2013) was no exception. The 6th graders seemed so excited to be planting their own ʻŌhiʻa seeds The fact that they were answering all of my questions correctly and throwing a couple at me told me that the students were excited about ʻŌhiʻa too. To top it off, after the presentation, the teacher telling me that reviewing the scientific method actually covered what he would be doing in a couple of weeks brought it all together and told me that at least today, I did something right.”

Chris is a great example of someone who has found an interest in the environment, and took advantage of the stepping stone-like pathway Kupu has created. He joined HYCC in 2008 as a Gateway team member, returned in 2009 as a Frontiers intern, and is now halfway to finishing his 2012 EIP internship. Chris graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo with a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture, and has just been accepted to the University of Washington’s Master of Environmental Horticulture program. Congratulations Chris, Kupu’s March Spotlight!




2013 Project of the Year, Real Food Farm of Civic Works

Before Civic Works broke ground on their Real Food Farm in October 2009, Baltimore, MD had no significant urban farms. Because of its history with youth development and community outreach, Civic Works was selected by the Baltimore Urban Agriculture Taskforce as the perfect organization to operate a “demonstration farm.” Now, just a few years after they planted their first seeds, the Real Food Farm has inspired the creation of numerous urban farms and reached thousands of Baltimore residents through educational programs and efforts to increase access to fresh food.

Real Food Farm continues to grow, but for now it covers about six acres of land in Baltimore’s Clifton Park. The farm is comprised of high-tunnel hoop houses made from steel pipes and plastic sheeting, as well as open fields with trees and rows of vegetables. In 2012, Real Food Farm harvested nearly 15,800 lbs. of food, established 6 beehives, planted 60 fruit trees, installed 2 rain gardens & 1 berry patch, began the process of producing mushrooms, and expanded a composting project.

The mission of Real Food Farm is fourfold: make fresh fruits and vegetables more available to low-income Baltimore families; help grow Baltimore’s urban agricultural sector; provide experience-based education and leverage the farm as a learning tool; and promote sustainable land use. Civic Works uses various methods to achieve the Farm’s first goal of improving food access. The Mobile Farmer’s Market, a converted Washington Post delivery truck, makes home deliveries and pre-arranged stops in and around the Clifton Park Neighborhood. The Mobile Market accepts EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) payments made with Independence Cards, with additional incentives for those using SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funds. Real Food Farm also runs a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program with adjustments that allow low-income families to join.

The main way the farm achieves its second goal of inspiring more urban farm development is by getting the community involved. This past year, 457 volunteers spent 1,292 hours working on various farm projects. Additionally, Real Food Farm held events and training sessions that attracted nearly 600 people. A number of former Corpsmembers have gone on to work at or start urban farms, with one former Real Food Farm AmeriCorps VISTA starting the Farm Alliance of Baltimore; a collective of small urban farms that share tools and hold joint community markets.

Internships for high school students, demonstrations, field trips for school groups, and after-school programs are ways Real Food Farm achieves its third goal of educating people about sustainable farming and where food comes from.  In 2012, 883 students from 13 local schools visited the Farm during field trips and 43 students regularly attended educational programming. Through the Farm Lab program, the farm has developed curricula for math classes, to art classes, to English classes. Kids in grades K-12 have all enjoyed field trips at the farm.

Real Food Farm’s fourth goal is realized through the farm’s use of sustainable practices. The farm is built on what were once underutilized sports fields next to two schools. They use rain gardens and are constructing a bioswale to reduce runoff and improve groundwater quality. The property now has a large composting project underway, and the farm recently acquired an industrial-sized freezer for preserving food.

Before 2009, Civic Works – and Baltimore itself – had little experience with urban agriculture. Corpsmembers and staff attended workshops, conferences, and training sessions to learn how to make the farm successful. Now, through plenty of hard work from Corpsmembers, Civic Works staff, and Baltimore volunteers, Real Food Farm is giving back to the community in big ways.