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Waterfowl Do Double Duty at Los Encinos Cleanup

April 25, 1999|ROBERTO J. MANZANO

The ducks and geese were the main draw for many people who spent Saturday sprucing up Los Encinos State Historical Park.

The waterfowl served two purposes: entertainment for the children and a source of fertilizer.

More than 70 children, parents and other volunteers removed leaves and debris and loaded wagons with duck and goose manure to be used as fertilizer for the park's garden.

"I like helping out animals so they have a better place to live," said Melissa Borbon, 14, of Sun Valley. Borbon is a member of Clean and Green, a Los Angeles youth environmental group.

Volunteers also repainted trash cans, benches and tables at the five-acre park on Moorpark Street that was once the center of a 4,460-acre ranch in the 1800s.

A $2,000 Earth Day grant from the California State Parks Foundation paid for the materials, said Laverne Potter, a fifth-grade teacher at Encino Elementary School who wrote the grant proposal.

"Even with all the volunteers, you have to have the tools, soil and plants," Potter said. "Volunteers can only do so much."

Potter said she got the idea to clean the park during a visit there with students last year.

"It's such a beautiful place and nothing was being done, and it was sad," Potter said.

"Here was this wonderful opportunity waiting just for us."

In the garden next to the Garnier building, built in 1873 with limestone, volunteers planted vegetables and herbs commonly used during the late 1800s including asparagus, tomatoes, artichokes and leeks.

"It's a good thing for kids to learn responsibility and caretaking and appreciation of nature," said Kim Eastwood, a gardener and coordinator of the event.

"Kids learn things better when they do them hands-on."

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