Blog : Los Angeles

Leimert Park: A Place Called Home

Leimert Park: A Place Called Home

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Within the South Los Angeles area, Leimert Park is a 1.19-square-mile neighborhood in Los Angeles, California.  Developed by and named after Walter H. Leimert it was one of the first comprehensively planned communities in Southern California designed for upper and middle-class families and was considered a model of urban planning.  In the 1960 Leimert Park emerged as a center for contemporary African-American culture and remains so today.  Though surrounded by art and culture, on any given day you will also find a population of homeless residing in the park. Los Angeles County’s homeless population rose 15% from 2011 to 2013 according to a Los Angeles Times article.

According to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center, it is estimated that 254,000, men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County and approximately 82,000.00 people are homeless on any given night.

Though the issue of homelessness is widespread throughout the county, the report states that the largest percentage of homelessness is in the South Los Angeles and Metro Los Angeles areas.  Most are from the Los Angeles area and stay in or near the communities from which they came, and African Americans make up approximately half of the Los Angeles County homeless population.


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Two homeless men, Rick Porter and Virgil Estea sit relaxing on a park bench in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, Ca., on January 8, 2014. Estea talks about the history of Leimert Park, as Porter shares his story of working as a sound technician at the Vision Theater formerly owned by actress Marla Gibbs. The theater is currently owned by the City of Los Angeles. (Photo by: Dena LeMmons)

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Virgil Estea stands next to his personal belongings in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, Ca., on January 8, 2014. Estea shares “When it’s cold and raining we use the blue tarp to cover up and stay warm.”  (Photo by Dena LeMmons)

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Virgil Estea smiles at a Leimert Park visitor in Los Angeles, Ca., on January 8, 2014. He proudly calls himself the unofficial park grounds keeper and Leimert Park historian. (Photo by: Dena LeMmons)

Rick Porter shares his story of working as a sound technician at the Vision Theater formerly owned by actress Marla Gibbs.  (Photo by: Dena LeMmons)

Virgil Estea bends over to pet a Labrador that runs through Leimert Park, in Los Angeles, Ca., on January 8, 2014. “Animals make the best company, if you love them, they love you back,” says Estea. (Photo by: Dena LeMmons)

Virgil Estea sits alone on a park bench in Leimert Park, in Los Angeles, Ca., on January 8, 2014.  (Photo by Dena LeMmons)

“I’ve been homeless for 20 years. For the last 14 years on and off, Leimert Park is the place I call home,”  says Estea.

Reposted from January 12, 2014

Kelp Forest Divers

Kelp Forest Divers

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The Kelp Forest Ecosystem is among the richest ocean habitats. If not protected it could result in a negative impact on the lively hood of its inhabitants.

Providing food and shelter for several species of animals, The California Science Centers Ecosystem’s Kelp Forest is a dynamic kelp forest aquarium. At the bottom of the forest 188, 000-gallon tank, visitors walk through the aquarium tunnel and experience plants and animals that call this kelp forest ecosystem home. With two scheduled presentations daily divers engaged with the audience and presented them with educational facts on the forest inhabitants.

The kelp forest program is supported by volunteer divers whose duties  cover feeding the kelp forest animals, cleaning and maintaining the tank, as well as delivering the kelp forest ecosystem educational presentation to school groups and aquarium visitors. Divers who volunteer not only have a passion for the ocean, but are equally passionate about educating the public on the science of the sea.

California Science Centers, Curator of Ecology Marine Biologist, Charles D. Kopczak, Ph.D. says, “Volunteer diver opportunities are open to adults who have driver certifications. Once accepted as a volunteer diver, completion of training under the California Science Center’s scientific diver program is mandatory.

The California Science Center located in Exposition Park, is near downtown Los Angeles. The main educational galleries are free to the public, open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.

Updated from Feb 9, 2014 @ 18:56.