Woodland Park Has a Welcoming Nature

Kay Knight helps clean up the South Pasadena Nature Park on her first day of volunteering in May.

“It’s very peaceful,” said volunteer and South Pasadena resident Monica Kelly. “Just sort of rejuvenating, and you’re part of nature, it kind of pulls you back into that. It’s a peaceful, peaceful place to be. Centering.”
Kelly added that the park is great for kids as well. It allows them to explore plants, shrubs and brush native to the area and offers opportunities to see the insects and small animals that live among them.
Volunteers take care to plant only flora that is native to California, such as coastal sage scrub and bush sunflower. There is no operating irrigation system in the park, but most of the plants can sustain themselves, especially the ones that crop up on their own.
“The things that we plant that come from nursery stock, we water for a year or two,” Eisenstein said. “And the things that naturalize — we’ve planted a lot of buckwheat, baby buckwheats just appear from seed. And those we do not water because that’s the way it is in nature. That’s the way it is here. They make it on their own.”
Stone-lined walking paths meander through the park, splitting off into smaller paths or a labyrinth. At the center of it all is the butterfly garden, planted with hopes to attract and populate monarch butterflies.
Kelly helped start the butterfly waystation in 2016 with the help of a Girl Scout who was working toward her Gold Award. They cleared weeds, spread mulch and added plants like native milkweed on which the caterpillars can feed.
The butterfly habitat, though sometimes disturbed by gophers, is expected to continue thriving thanks to the work by Kelly and other volunteers.

Photos by Haley Sawyer / The Review
In May, 11 local volunteers met at the South Pasadena Nature Park to embark on a clean-up mission to keep the trail beautiful during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It drives you into doing all kinds of other things of interest, like the life cycle and dependence of things on other things,” Kelly said. “You do a little bit at a time and hopefully you see something from your work.”
The volunteers are happy to see the results of their work and are hoping to get some help from the city soon in the form of something small, such as a mulch donation, or something bigger, like help in applying for grant money.
Anyone is welcome to join the volunteer community at the nature park — no gardening experience is necessary. Those interested can visit weedingwildsuburbia.com for more information.
“I always say that all I want to do is come down here by myself and weed,” Eisenstein said. “But that isn’t true. What is true is that I’ve made some really great friendships down here.”