Preserving and protecting the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills of Southern California

Upcoming Events

SSMPA's next Community Meeting and Presentation will be

Monday October 15, 2018   7:00pm  

SSMPA COMMUNITY MEETINGS 
   
Community Meetings are free to SSMPA Members and the Public

Each month: September-November and January-May

Monday, October 15, 2018     7:00pm - 8:30pm
  at Chatsworth Park South Recreation Center
22360 Devonshire St.  (west end of Devonshire)
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Convenient parking in lighted lot

Click here for map
Save the BUZZ
All about Bees
Presenter: 

Keith Roberts,   Head Beekeeper at The Valley Hive

Keith Roberts fell in love with bees at the L.A County Fair in 2008. After learning all he could from books, he mentored under long time beekeeper Walt McBride. In 2009 he founded Enterprising Bee Company, LLC, and created the Save the Buzz line of products from the hive. He specialized in removing feral colonies live from businesses and residences and relocating them for use in pollination and honey production.

As beekeeping became more popular as a hobby, Keith was receiving more calls from novice beekeepers frustrated at the lack of local support.  In 2014, his dream for a beekeeping supply and service company became realized after partnering with Danny Finkelstein and together they opened The Valley Hive.  

Whether you are a commercial operator, an environmental activist, or a sideline beekeeper, he believes we all want the same thing, to save the buzz and work together to find solutions to the challenges related to this ancient craft.

Today, when Keith isn’t tending to his hundreds of colonies, he is likely to be found alongside his amazing staff at The Valley Hive educating the community about beekeeping and selling gifts from the hive at their boutique store in Chatsworth. 
Keith's presentation will cover the history of beekeeping and the importance of the honeybee for agriculture and as a pollinator.  Keith will discuss beekeeping’s history in the Chatsworth area, and offer a honey tasting featuring locally made honey. 


 Recent SSMPA Events

Monday, Septembern 17, 2018 
  at Chatsworth Park South Recreation Center

Reforesting Our Struggling Oak Trees
What We've Learned after 1 Year
Presenters: 
Sky Valley Volunteers and TreePeople
Sky Valley Volunteers 
 is a group of dedicated individuals that promote healthy and positive stewardship of the local mountains and regional open space through education and habitat restoration in 
our Simi Hills and beyond.

TreePeople is an environmental nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire, engage and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment, making it safe, healthy, fun and sustainable and to share our process as a model for the world. TreePeople is active throughout the Greater Los Angeles area.

About one year ago a group of serious SSMPA defenders of our local environment became highly concerned about the harm that heat, drought, and invasive non-native insects are inflicting on our native trees. The group has since spun off to become the Sky Valley Volunteers, an arm of a bona fide 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Save Chatsworth Inc. 

The Volunteers, consulting with TreePeople, have germinated, planted and are caring for hundreds of oak seedlings in the Simi Hills.
We heard what the Sky Valley Volunteers have done (done right and done wrong), how they have persisted, and how they are working with property owners, agencies and legislators to promote the Rim of the Valley Project for the National Park Service.
Monday, May 21, 2018     7:00pm - 8:30pm
  at Chatsworth Park South Recreation Center

22360 Devonshire St. - West end of Devonshire

Chatsworth, CA 91311

Convenient parking in lighted lot

Click here for map

Backyard Wildlife and Deterrents


Presenter: Dana Stangel

Dana Stangel founded and is the Executive Director of Los Angeles wildlife education organization: Teranga Ranch. She is a former Biology teacher, MOMS Club President, and CERT Volunteer. She volunteered at a local animal sanctuary for almost 20 years, leading their Ambassador Wolf Team and Volunteer Education Program. 

Dana continues to serve her community as Wildlife Representative for Shadow Hills Property Owners Association, Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council Animal Issues Committee Founder and Co-Chair, Founder and Co-Administrator of the Sunland Tujunga Animal Lost and Found, Wildlife Columnist for the local newspaper (The Foothill Record) and as President of the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council. 

Monday, April, 16, 2018     
  at Chatsworth Park South Recreation Center


 Betina's Backyard Butterfly Garden


Presenter: Betina Loudermilk

Betina  Loudermilk has always loved nature and being outside, hiking or exploring nature centers. When she got her own home she insisted that her back yard would be beneficial to the nature around her. She built a pollinator garden with a focus on butterflies.

Betina's love of nature and of teaching led her to educate others about the importance of planting native plants for butterflies and of seeing what else comes to visit.

Over the past 3 years Betina's garden has grown and she has made many presentations sharing what she has learned about butterflies and native plants - especially how important insects are for the entire food chain.


See Betina’s Facebook page, Betinas Butterfly Garden.

Ray Vincent
 

Monday, March 19, 2018  

Ancient Peoples of the Channel Islands 

Presenter:

Ray Vincent, Research Director at Chatsworth Historical Society

A program on the Ancient Peoples of the Channel Islands.  

Beginning with the discovery of the oldest human remains ever found in North America - 13,000 year old Arlington Springs Man - to the true story of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas - the inspiration for the best selling children's book: Island of the Blue Dolphins

The evidence that people had arrived on Santa Rosa Island 13,000 years ago demonstrates that watercraft were in use along the California coast at that early date, and lends support to a theory that the earliest peoples to enter the Western Hemisphere may have migrated along the Pacific coast from Siberia and Alaska using boats, along the "Kelp Highway"

Ray Vincent provided a brief introduction to the program, followed by excerpts from the public television program

West of the West, Tales from California's Channel Islands.



Monday, Feb. 26, 2018   

 Acorns, Oaks and the Future of the Simi Hills 

Presenters:
 John (Johnny Acorn) Luker, SSMPA         Wendi Gladstone, SSMPA

 The threat of the drought and the southeast Asian Shothole Borer Beetle to Southern California's trees.

 Local volunteer opportunities.

SSMPA's Oak Rehabilitation Project.

Rim of the Valley legislation and parkland development in the Simi Hills.


Badwater Natural Bridge
Monday January 15, 2018    

Death Valley: Hiking Its Remote Locations

Presenter: Tony Krizan, adventurer, author and photographer

 Tony Krizan shared a segment of his 35 years of hiking our Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Tony featured his personal adventures within the remote canyons of Death Valley.  Even Scotty’s Castle showed how one man’s dream can become a reality.  This colorful slide show introduces you to centuries of Death Valley’s hidden history.  For example; polished canyon walls, petroglyphs, fossils and the interiors of forgotten gold mines are just a few of  Death Valley’s hidden treasures.   Tony will share some of his stories of past journeys into part of our California wilderness. 

Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 


Environmental Action from the Simi Hills to Capitol Hill

Presenter:
Jim Hines, Environmental Advocate and Organizer at Sierra Club

Monday, Oct. 16, 2017  


LA County Trails Master Plan & Chatsworth's Old Mission Trail
 
Presenters:
Zachary Likins, Park Planner for LA County
Dean Wageman, SSMPA & ETI Corral 54

 SSMPA board members, led by Dean Wageman and John Luker, are actively meeting and hiking with planners of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation to provide input on the Santa Susana Trails Master Plan.


Monday, Sep. 18, 2017  

Fighting for the Future of Our Trees in the Simi Hills

Presenters:
 John Luker, SSMPA
Al Knight, Anthropologist
Wendi Gladstone, SSMPA

Shot Hole Borer Threatens SoCal Trees
              
SSMPA Board Members Wendi Gladstone and John Luker have spent the past few months coordinating with Rosi Dagit, Senior Conservation Biologist, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, to monitor the health of oak trees at the Santa Susana Field Lab, and Chatsworth, looking for signs of the shot hole borer. They have set up monitoring stations to determine the existence of this beetle, and the program will run through September.  

Monday, May 15, 2017   

Rockpointe Clubhouse  22300 Devonshire Street  Chatsworth, CA 91311

Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California

Presenter: Susan Suntree

poet, performer, essayist

Susan's preview of her presentation:

"I will tell the story of the prehistory of our region, including the Santa Susana Mountains and the Simi Hills, from the Big Bang/Great Silence to the present from the points of view of Western science and Indigenous myths and songs. Carrying the audience from the Big Bang to the present, I describe the origins of the universe, the shifting of tectonic plates, and an evolving array of plants and animals that give the Southern California landscape its unique features. I will, also, describe the migration of humans into the region and where they settled. Complementing this narrative and reflecting the Native people’s view of their own history and way of life, I will recount the creation myths and songs that tell the story of the First People, of unforgettable shamans and heroes, and of the origins and migrations of human beings."

http:www.susansuntree.com/

Monday, Apr. 17, 2017  
Rockpointe Clubhouse: 22300 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311

Native Wildflowers and Plants of Chatsworth

Presenters: Ann Vincent, Dottie Acker - Santa Susana Volunteers
Photography: Teena Takata, Ann Vincent, John Luker

Ann and Dottie commented on dozens of local plants and flowers, with vibrant photos taken by Teena, Ann, and John in our local hills.

See their presentation

photo of CNP: J. Luker


Monday, March 20, 2017  
Rockpointe Clubhouse: 22300 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311
 
Progress Report on the Wildlife Corridor Overpass at Liberty Canyon

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017   7:00pm - 8:30pm

Rockpointe Clubhouse: 22300 Devonshire Street , Chatsworth, CA 91311

Burro Flats, Rocketdyne, & Santa Susana Field Laboratory History

Presenter: Ray Vincent, Research Director, Chatsworth Historical Society

Ray presented the history of Burro Flats, Rocketdyne and the Santa Susana Field Lab. Early Chumash life, the Burro Flats Cave Painting, ranching and movie history will also be discussed.

See presentation HERE

Those of us who lived here in the 50s, 60's and 70's recall the sounds and sites of the rocket testing that took America into the Space Race.                       70+

Monday, Jan. 16, 2017
Rockpointe Clubhouse: 22300 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311

HELP SAVE OUR OAK TREES

What Is Happening to Our Oaks?
Is the major problem drought?  Imported pests?

Presenter: Rosi Dagit, Senior Conservation Biologist and Certified Arborist 

Our January 16th meeting featured speaker Rosi Dagit, widely recognized as one of the best resources on our local oak trees.

She spoke about the Shot Hole Borer, an invasive insect that threatens the ecological landscape of our local mountains and the entire Santa Monica Mountain range.

Included in the discussion was information on how YOU can get involved as "Citizen Scientists" to study and measure the spread of this invasive pest, and how YOU can get involved in projects to mitigate its damage.

If you care about oaks, sycamores and other native trees in these hills, please leaqrn how you can help. We cannot understate the damage this pest potentially poses to our mountains' habitats.

photos, top to bottom: J.Luker, T.Nachtrab, J Luker
Monday, Nov. 21, 2016  
Rockpointe Clubhouse: 22300 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311

Of Frogs, Bobcats, and Open Spaces:
Effects of Invasive Species in West San Fernando Valley

Presenter:
Katy Delaney, PhD., Wildlife Ecologist
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (National Park Service)

Katy Semple Delaney currently works as a wildlife ecologist at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Projects include monitoring landbirds, monitoring amphibians and reptiles in streams and on land, as well as re-introducing the federally threatened California red-legged frog to the Santa Monica Mountains.

Katy spoke about how invasive species have affected the breeding populations of local native amphibians. She talked about bobcats, whose home ranges have no water sources. Much of the data can be applied to the open spaces in Chatsworth like the Chatsworth Nature Preserve and Santa Susana Field Laboratory. Katy got a B. S. in Biology from UCSD and a Ph.D in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UCLA and has earned the distinction of being an expert on invasive species.

Monday, Oct. 17, 2016  
Rockpointe Clubhouse: 22300 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311

Local Candidates: Open Forum on Environment and More

SSMPA invited the eight candidates in four local races to come talk informally about their positions on environmental and conservation issues.

Speaking were:
5th District County Supervisor candidate, Kathryn Barger
 25th Congressional District candidate, Bryan Caforio
38th State Assembly District Candidate Christy Smith

Writing responses to questionnaire from SSMPA were:
 25th Congressional District candidate, Bryan Caforio
5th District County Supervisor candidate, Darrell Park
Monday, Sep. 19, 2016  

Rockpointe Clubhouse: 22300 Devonshire Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311

"Off the Beaten Path" in the San Fernando Valley

Presenter:  Bronwyn Ralph, Explorer and Author

"Off The Beaten Path"

is a local travel book about the wonderful treasures in the San Fernando Valley. There are over 40 cultural landmarks, historic monuments and other points of interests highlighted in this guide. 

Bronwyn Ralph

was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and received her master's degree from CSUN. She grew up exploring the cultural landmarks in and around Los Angeles with her grandparents and parents, and developed a great appreciation for SFV's local treasures. One of her role models was Huell Howser and his series, "California Gold" which inspired her to get outdoors. His series prompted Bronwyn to write her book, "Off the Beaten Path", to highlight all the wonderful landmarks in the San Fernando Valley. For the last 13 years Bronwyn has been a docent for the Doheny Mansion in Los Angeles and has also conducted tours for the Museum of the San Fernando Valley, North Hollywood area, and the Oakridge Estate in Northridge.

               How our own Stage Coach Road, "The Devil's Slide"        compares with the incredible and scenic back-country of

The Old Wawona Stage Coach Road of Yosemite
  
Wednesday August 3, 2016                  
    
Adventurer Tony Krizan has hiked the mountains surrounding Yosemite National Park for 30-plus years. He shared his experience and amazing photography with this pictorial tour of the forgotten history associated with The Old Wawona Stagecoach Road  completed in 1876, and what occurred when the 1933 Wawona Tunnel was completed. 
                                                         

 photo: J. Luker, Dayton Canyon

 photo: A. Knight

 Our Chatsworth Region: History and Pre-History

Monday, May 16, 2016 

Presenters:

Albert Knight: Anthropologist, Archaeologist

Ray Vincent: Research Director at Chatsworth Historical Society

 

Albert Knight provided a visual presentation on recent archaeological and historical research in the Chatsworth area. Knight discussed the findings of the archaeological work at Dayton Canyon, the old west-valley lime industry, and what we now know about the 19th and early-20th century west-valley Native American community. Knight was assisted by Ray Vincent, of the Chatsworth Historical Society, who also researches history of the area.

Al has been studying the area for over 30 years..

 Climate: Change, Reality, Action

Monday, April 18, 2016  

 Presenter:
Sharon Markenson
Educator and Advocate, Climate Reality Leadership Corps

 

Sharon Markenson spent the first part of her life teaching students secondary English while incorporating respect for the environment into her lessons whenever possible.  She also taught public speaking and competitive forensics and coached the El Camino Real High School's Academic Decathlon team to three national titles.  In 2013, she trained with the Climate Reality Leadership Corps to present information on climate issues.  Since then, she has been educating business, school, faith and community groups on causes and effects of climate disruption as well as what we need to do about it. 


The most important take-away from this presentation was
what YOU can do about climate change.

 

Monday, March 21, 2016  
 
Proposed Development at South End of Andora Ave.
 
We began with a discussion of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) that outlines plans for 42 homes to be built at the south end of Andora Avenue.  Jim van Gundy, who lives on Andora Avenue and is a member of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, and Dina Fisher of Lake Manor joined Teena Takata as panel members.  Teena has been Secretary of the Land Use Committee of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council for many years, and a long time open space advocate.  After an initial presentation, a discussion with the audience is planned. 
 
Public comment letters on the DEIR are due April 4, 2016.
See HERE

   See the City's Environmental Impact Report Letter HERE

See Comment Letter by State Department of Fish and Wildlife HERE
See Comment Letter by Chatsworth Neighborhood Council (pg. 9) HERE
 
Public comments welcomed by City Planning Department
until April 18, 2016
 

 Land Use Clashes on Oat Mountain

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, February 15, 2016   

Presenter:

Paul Edelman, Chief of Natural Resources and Planning

Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA)


Proposed 188-unit residential development: Hidden Creeks Estates 
Southern California Gas Company Natural Gas Storage Facility at Aliso Canyon
Aliso Canyon Gas Leak
Porter Ranch distress
Dumping in Ybarra Canyon

Expert planning professional Paul Edelman updated us on clashing interactions among land uses in our Santa Susana Mountains. 

See Mr. Edelman's photos and maps at:

Land Uses Clashes on Oat Mountain

Nature Neighbors: Urban Wildlife

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, January 18, 2016   

Presenter:

Cathy Schoonmaker, Urban-Wildland Conservation Specialist

Mountains Restoration Trust & National Park Service

As neighbors that live near or adjacent to natural open space habitat, we may enjoy many benefits such as; spectacular views, easy access to outdoor recreation, and wildlife viewing. Along with these benefits, we may also encounter a few challenges like visits from wild creatures and the threat of wildfires.

Cathy provided tips and tools to help neighbors protect their property, pets, and family. She provided information on how to take action and reduce urban impacts on wildlife and habitat, so that we all can fully enjoy the natural ecosystem woven into our communities.

You Can Change the World

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, November 16, 2015   

Presenters: Wendi Gladstone & John Luker


Part education, part community update, part history lesson, part sermon.

Wendi and John's presentation showed us ways we can make a difference In our world. 

Celebrating 45 years of community activism at SSMPA.

We invited our past Presidents to join us for this evening that included commentary on significant achievements in SSMPA’s past. SSMPA was formed as a corporation November 30, 1971, so we have a long history and many volunteers who have helped with our achievements !

(Cake!)

Water, Water,  Water, Water

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, October 19, 2015    

Presenter: Tom Nachtrab, SSMPA Board member 

Tom spouted about water:

salt and fresh; flood and drought; rising and falling;
solid, liquid and gas; freezing and melting; evaporating and condensing;
sublimating and precipitating; as a greenhouse gas; potable and not;
bottled and piped; polluted and clean; dammed and flowing;
expensive and cheap; springs and seeps; aquifers and wells;
 treated wastewater and the yuck factor;
purple pipes; reclamation and de-reclamation;
agricultural, industrial, urban, and environmental;
Owens Valley and Chatsworth Reservoir;
channels and spreading grounds;
peripheral canals and under-bay tunnels;
and more... 

Followed by free-flowing open discussion.

Paddling the Chumash Way

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, September 21, 2015   

Presenter: Alan Salazar


Alan Salazar, (spirit hawk), Native American consultant/monitor and Chumash-Tataviam traditional storyteller, shared his personal experience of reviving the Chumash craftsmanship of the tomol (plank canoe). Alan described Chumash journeys between Malibu and the Channel Islands, and recounted a harrowing paddling journey in a storm. https://youtu.be/6y1Rzy5WMM8 

 Valley Relics Museum Night

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, May 18, 2015 

VALLEY RELICS Museum

21630 Marilla Street, Chatsworth (map)

www.valleyrelics.org

Owner, Tommy Gelinas, began collecting artifacts in the San Fernando Valley, saving many from being tossed into the landfill.   A recent save is the HENRY’S TACO sign.  

The museum showcases Nudie’s famous Elvis Presley’s jacket, Roy Rogers memorabilia, signs from SFV restaurants that long ago closed their doors, ashtrays, matches, and menus.

Many, many other items on display.

 Santa Susana Field Lab: A National Monument?

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, April 20, 2015  

Presenters: Sam Cohen & Christina Walsh

The former Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) is a significant cultural-historic Native American site, a birthplace of modern rocketry-space exploration, and a sensitive-crucial link in the Simi Hills segment of the Rim of the Valley wildlife corridor. The site needs protection from urban sprawl.

Mr. Cohen, spokesperson for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and Ms. Walsh presented a case for designating the SSFL as a National Monument. President Obama can designate the SSFL a National Monument without congressional approval, based on the Antiquities Act of 1906. Petitions, paper and online, supporting National Monument status are circulating.

The federally recognized Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Tribal Council recently designated the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site as a California Sacred Site.

SSMPA members and guests learned how the SSFL cultural-historic site and wildlife habitat can be saved for future generations.   

www.facebook.com/ssflnationalmonument      http://chn.ge/1EIB4l7

Climate Change: What Does It Mean for Us?

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday, March 16, 2015  

Presenter: Kathryn "Katie" Goldman

Sr. Fellow Greenhouse Gas Management Institute 

Climate change: It's in the news but what does it mean? What is the large universal picture and the meaningfulness to our local area and to individuals?

Katie discussed the ways climate is changing / will change our region and what actions individuals can take to help solve the problem and plan for the future.

The Endangered Santa Clara River

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday February 16, 2015    

Presenter: Lynne Plambeck, President, ‘SCOPE’

Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment.

Lynne reported on SCOPE’s efforts to save the Santa Clara River (the last wild river in LA County and one of America’s ten most endangered rivers), oak trees, and open space from urban developments such as Newhall Ranch, Vista Canyon Ranch, Disney-Placerita Canyon, “Gates King Industrial Park” and others that destroy natural areas.

  Rescuing Our Wildlife from Rat Poisons

SSMPA Community Meeting

Monday January 19, 2015     

Presenter: Joel Schulman, Poison-Free Malibu

Joel Schulman discussed how anticoagulant rodent (AR) poisons have spread throughout the eco-system threatening wildlife and pets.   He described the sources of the poisons, what we can do about eliminating them, and alternatives for rodent control. 

 SANTA SUSANA MOUNTAIN PARK ASSOCIATION

Dedicated to the Preservation of the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills
A Non-Profit 501(c)(4) Incorporated Nov. 30,1971                Founded Nov. 20,1970
 
  Email: mail@ssmpa.com                    Website: ssmpa.com

SSMPA | P.O. Box 4831 | Chatsworth | CA | 91313

© 2013-16 Santa Susana Mountain Park Association