Leo Politi

Leo Politi Elementary School is situated in the midst of the Pico-Union neighborhood, one of the densest and most devoid of parks and open space in all of Los Angeles. Yet since its construction in 1991, the school has emerged as an urban oasis for its 818 pre K-5 students, their families, the community, and hundreds of birds—some resident, some migratory.

The school’s vision is one which began with its namesake, Leo Politi, a Caldecott Award winning author of children’s books.  When Leo moved to Los Angeles in the late 1920s, he embraced the city’s multiculturalism, children, history, flora and fauna. Leo focused his artistic eye on the urban parks of Los Angeles and the wonders found within them. The school seeks to fulfill Leo’s dream of making this city a peaceful, safe and happy place for its youngest citizens—a place where their imaginations can run wild and where they can explore all the wonders of the natural world.

Recently, Los Angeles Audubon has formed a partnership with Leo Politi Elementary School to expand the scope of science-based nature activities the school offers its students. The following are the education programs we are developing with Leo Politi:

School Yard Habitat - As a first step, we have successfully applied for a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Grant to install a native habitat on 6,000 square feet of underutilized school yard. The School Yard Habitat Project will boast an oak woodland upland, a vernal pool to capture rain, and a coastal sage scrub zone. Students have already conducted a base-line bird study in their school yard, and will monitor species return as the new habitat matures! The habitat will become a living laboratory providing opportunities to explore topics such as: co-evolution; pollinators; the food chain; bio-diversity; conservation; urban wildlife and more! The habitat will continue the school’s tradition of providing an oasis of calm and tranquility in a very dense neighborhood for people and wildlife alike!

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