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FOLAR’S 33rd Annual Great LA River Cleanup Returns This Earth Month on April 15 & 22

March 28, 2023

Friends of the LA River (FoLAR) is proud to host its 33rdAnnual Great LA River CleanUp, inviting everyone to ‘Earth with Us’ through art, education and stewardship, and celebrate the region’s 51-mile winding connective center in honor of Earth Day. The annual event has been updated to offer additional ways for people to activate their passion for the River: in addition to traditional River CleanUps, volunteers will also be able to participate in Habitat Restoration, Nature Walks, and River Education Activities.

The two Saturdays – April 15 and 22 – feature seven site opportunities with locations on the Upper, Middle and Lower River on each date. Registration for volunteers is now open.

“FoLAR’s annual LA River CleanUp brings thousands of people to the River each year, and that’s something we’re really proud of,” states FoLAR CEO Candice Dickens-Russell. “This year, we’re excited to offer people even more ways to feel connected to the River and to nature in LA. CleanUp is an opportunity to not only see and experience the River that’s so vital to our city, but to also help care for it and learn about it first-hand while enjoying a day outside in community.”

With shifts starting  at 8:00am and 10:30am, the CleanUp 2023 dates take place at the following handpicked sites along the 51-mile River that connects members of LA’s many communities:

April 15:
Sepulveda Basin Sports Complex – River CleanUp
Sunnynook River Park – Nature Walks, FoLAR Education Activities
Willow Street Estuary – River CleanUp

April 22:
Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve – Habitat Restoration, River CleanUp
Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park – FoLAR Education Activities, River CleanUp, Nature Walks
Elysian Valley Gateway Park – FoLAR Education Activities, River CleanUp, Nature Walks
Golden Shore Marine Reserve – River CleanUp

Defining the Opportunities:

This year, FoLAR has expanded the opportunities for engagement at their CleanUp sites to ensure more equitable, community-focused volunteerism on the River that runs through so many of the region’s communities. This is in line with their mission to build capacity for communities, students, and future leaders to advocate for nature, climate, and equity on the LA River. There is something for anyone and everyone to do at this year’s Great LA River CleanUp:

River CleanUps: Volunteers will be focused primarily on trash and debris removal in several of the beautiful natural-bottom sections of the River. The verdant riparian vegetation in these sections makes it very easy for trash to get caught up and entangled in the River, polluting the water and habitat that is so important for the wildlife that calls the River home as well as the thousands of Angelenos that live and recreate along the River. 

Habitat Restoration (available at the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife reserve on 4/22): Volunteers have the choice to remove trash and debris from Haskell Creek, OR remove invasive mustard with the California Native Plant Society and San Fernando Valley Audubon Society. Volunteers will have an opportunity to learn about invasive species’ impact on the ecosystem and why both CleanUps and Habitat Restoration are vital to restoring California’s native habitat.

Nature Walks: Walking along the shared bike path at one of the natural bottom areas of the LA River, FoLAR educators will share their knowledge of the LA River’s habitat and history. Community members will see birds and plants specific to the River, talk about how this became a “natural bottom” area, and answer any questions about the LA River. 

FoLAR Education Activities (Child and ADA-friendly): Select sites will feature the LA River Rover – FoLAR’s 38 ft mobile visitor and education center. Education Activities will be available to all CleanUp volunteers. Registration not required.

FoLAR’s annual CleanUp is a popular annual event for Angelenos of all ages and backgrounds, attracting families, students, community members, and elected officials to the River. From the group of 10 people who brought the first CleanUp to life in 1989, today it draws 1000s of volunteers and a vast range of volunteer groups from scout troops, utilities, and entertainment, to Indigenous groups, religious organizations, labor unions, and a bevy of nonprofits—demonstrating how the interest in and passion for the LA River has grown. It is also, for many, a place to learn about and take a hands-on approach to addressing climate change.

The 2023 CleanUp is made possible through major supporters Bank of America, M2O, LA Department of Water and Power, and a host of other sponsors and donors. For more information, please contact [email protected].

To register for the CleanUp and get more information, please visit https://folar.org/cleanup-2023-earth-with-us/.

Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR):
Friends of the Los Angeles River is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to build capacity for communities, students, and future leaders to advocate for nature, climate, and equity on the Los Angeles River. FoLAR is a leading force in educating youth, guiding policy, and connecting communities to the River.