2022 CURes Year-In-Review!

In 2022, CURes reached new heights in our research, partnerships, and community involvement. To celebrate our milestones, we have compiled a list of the 22 most noteworthy achievements from 2022.



Baltimore Based Research 

In 2022, CURes started a partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Baltimore Program to examine the network of environmental stewardship funders in Baltimore, Maryland. Following the recommendations of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network’s recent Baltimore Metro Region Capacity Assessment, the overall goal of this project is to build capacity & improve collaboration among Baltimore’s environmental stewardship organizations. Dr. Michele Romolini, Managing Director of CURes, is currently situated in Baltimore where she has active partnerships with The Nature Conservancy Baltimore Program and University of Maryland Department of Science and Technology.

New CURes Team Members

Gwynn Alexander

Gwynn Alexander has joined CURes’ Restorative Justice Project as the Program Development and Grants Coordinator supporting the Center for Urban Resilience Restorative Justice Project. She is focused in qualitative research and is interested in the intersections of restorative practices and qualitative methods. She has led multiple research projects evaluating restorative justice implementation in diverse contexts. Currently, Gwynn is expanding her research through the interdisciplinary study of restorative justice, cognitive justice, and education for peace-building. Gwynn has led multiple research projects evaluating restorative justice implementation in diverse contexts. In addition, Gwynn is a seasoned trainer in restorative practices who works in both higher education and K-12 contexts. 

Tanynya Hekymara

Tanynya Hekymara has joined CURes’ Restorative Justice Project as a trainer to provide strategies of support through an intentional plan of action that brings the complex composition of a community into the work. Tanynya is dedicated to social justice and wellness. Her unique experience in every element of organizational leadership allows her to be a mindful, bold, and courageous truth-teller. Tanynya delivers necessary truths, reshapes narratives and protocols, and provides strategies of support through an intentional plan of action that brings the complex composition of a community into the work. Tanynya continues to create professional development, systems, and support for this valuable work. 



The RJ Project continued to be a trusted partner of educational institutions in cultivating climate surveys, training and coaching programs, developing curriculum and pedagogies, as well as facilitating conferences to address incidents of harm. The goal of the RJ project is to build and develop relationships among all institutional stakeholders as a means to foster positive learning environments. The team developed customized services for partnering organizations in both beginner and advanced level trainings introducing skillbuilding sessions and structured discussions to engage communities in building community and engaging in responses to harm.

We are proud to partner with the Loyola Marymount University Seaver College of Science and Engineering as well as the University of Southern California Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Department of Athletics. Further, we made innovative strides cultivating the WholeSchool Approach to restorative practices implementation at Pasadena Unified School District and Riverside Unified School District. Click here to learn more about CURes’ Restorative Justice Trainings!

Southern California RJ Consortium

In 2022, The RJ Project research team administered an Empowerment Evaluation that proved to be a robust tool to examine barriers to the implementation of restorative practices throughout Southern California and across multiple professional sectors. As each participating organization presented its own unique needs, the Empowerment Evaluation tool invited practitioners to tailor implementation programs and policies to meet their organizations’ particular goals. In 2022, the team completed the manuscript articulating the process and findings of the Empowerment Evaluation process. The manuscript is currently under review and the publication is forthcoming. Click here to learn more about the Southern California Restorative Justice Consortium!

Outreach / Meetings / Outcomes

The So Cal RJ Consortium continues to be a vibrant hub for collaboration, innovation, and cross-pollination for restorative justice practitioners throughout the region, and across the nation! The So Cal RJ Consortium hosted four online meetups in the during the year occurring in March, June, September, and December. The June meeting took the form of a “Care and Connections: Drop in Virtual Retreat” inclusive of six sessions hosted by members of the consortium covering topics ranging from “Returning to the Community Building Circle as an Ancient and Indigenous Practice” to “Interrogating Whiteness An Essential Practice for White RJ Practitioners.” In addition to virtual meetups, the So Cal RJ Consortium offered a quarterly newsletter as another hub to share about resources, events, features, and achievements of members in the community. Click here to join the So Cal RJ Consortium Distribution Lists!


Community-Based Tree Prioritization

In 2022, the CURes team finished our two-year community-based tree canopy prioritization project with four cities in Southeast Los Angeles, which utilized our high resolution tree canopy assessment data to assist communities in mapping their priorities for tree planting.

Los Angeles River Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project

Leveraging national expertise and previous regional investment in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles River STEW-MAP provides detailed information on the geographical footprint and collaborative relationships of stewardship organizations working in the LA River watershed. LA River STEW-MAP products include a story map describing the methods and preliminary results of the project, a networking tool visualizing the relationships among stewardship organizations, a stewardship turf map displaying the geographic footprint and characteristics of stewardship organizations working in the LA River watershed, and a research report detailing the project in its entirety.

California State Parks

In August 2022, CURes launched a two-year project with California State Parks and Parks California to conduct a survey of visitors to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area and Pismo State Beach to better understand the park users’ activities, perceptions, and knowledge related to the recreational areas.

Coyote Management

In 2022, CURes completed a three year study on Coyotes in Long Beach. The project was designed to incorporate local data, regional information and national examples to be applied to the challenges of coyote management in Long Beach. The project was initiated in response to increase concern about the safety of coyotes living within the city and their impact on domestic animals, especially cats. Results found an increasing risk for domesticated animals lay cats in the Southern California area at the paws of Coyotes. 

Edison Project

In 2022, CURes celebrated the 6th year of Edison International’s support that has helped to fund programs aimed at creating equitable access to nature for Los Angeles area schools and neighborhoods. Specific projects have included the Los Angeles County Tree Canopy Assessment and Data Viewer; community-based tree canopy prioritization in 5 Southeast LA cities; and experiential urban ecology programming in underserved K-12 schools, which has included development and support of school gardens, garden ecology curricula, and sponsored field trips to the Ballona Discovery Park. The current funding will support enhancement of the LA County Tree Canopy Viewer and continued work with local schools. 


Migration Celebration 2022 

After a 2 year hiatus from having inperson events in Ballona Discovery Park, Friends of Ballona Wetlands held their 6th annual Migration Celebration in the Park and Freshwater Marsh on May 21, 2022. CURes staff members helped by tabling the event and a few LMU students even showcased their research in the Ballona Wetlands at the event. Click here to view the Migration Celebration 2022 Blog Post! 

Jesuit Schools Network Tour of Ballona Discovery Park 

The Center for Urban Resilience was asked to host a tour of Ballona Discovery Park for 70 of 800 visiting members of the Jesuit Schools Network (JSN) Colloquium retreat at Loyola Marymount University on June 20, 2022. Lisa Fimiani and Roya Shahnazari were joined by Patrick Tyrrell from Friends of Ballona Wetlands to lead over 70 people in 3 separate groups through the Park. The groups walked the watershed, learned about the history of Ballona and the indigenous people, and saw native plants and birds of the area. Click here to view the Jesuit Schools Network Tour of Ballona Discovery Park Blog Post! 

Natures Balance Gardening Workshop in Ballona Discovery Park

On Saturday, October 29, 2022, the Friends of Ballona Wetlands (FBW) hosted a Nature’s Balance Gardening Workshop in partnership with Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Urban Resilience in Ballona Discovery Park. Attendees could buy native plants as a donation to FBW and participate in a Tai Chi session led by ill Robinson, owner of Holistic Health: Yoga, Tai Chi, and QiGong. Click here to view the Nature’s Balance Gardening Workshop in Ballona Discovery Park Blog Post! 


CBA California’s Watershed Healing Documentary and Panel

In November 2022, Dr. Eric Strauss participated in a lively panel discussion about California’s water situation with Doug Walters, Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of LA, and James Thebaut, President and Founder of The Chronicles Group, during LMU’s College of Business Administration Ethics and Sustainability Series Night at the Movies on November 16, 2022. The audience of LMU business, biology and environmental professors and many of their students viewed Thebaut’s latest documentary, California’s Watershed Healing (Trailer) on the water situation in the state of California. Experts in the field, along with local and state government officials, were interviewed and articulated their concern while offering advice. Click here to view the CBA California’s Watershed Healing Documentary and Panel Blog Post! 

CURes In The News


Restorative Justice Publications

Pedagogy of Transcendence: A Framework for Positive Peace and Restorative Justice in Education

CURes is proud to share the recent publication of the book chapter, Pedagogy of Transcendence: A Framework for Positive Peace and Restorative Justice in Education, coauthored by University of San Diego’s Dr. David Karp and Dr. Antonio JimenezLuque and LMU’s Gwynn Alexander, Project Development and Grants Coordinator. Gwynn shared, “What I love so much about this framework is that the pursuit of transcendence can be crafted in any classroom with positive peace and through theoretical constellations of cognitive justice, restorative justice, and the pursuit of critical consciousness. This book chapter is not offered as an end point, but rather as a launch point toward broader visions of transcendent spaces for learning in primary and secondary education as well as far beyond.”

Restorative Pedagogies in Primary and Secondary Education: A Review of Selected Literature

Restorative pedagogies are a set of practices aimed toward centering student wellbeing and offer an approach to teaching/learning that seeks to remedy persistent patterns of punitive and exclusionary schoolbased practices. In Restorative Pedagogies in Primary and Secondary Education: A Review of Selected Literature, author Gwynn Alexander employs a constructivist grounded theory approach to first define restorative pedagogies, then offers key themes that emerged across the body of literature.

Innovation Grant Summary

LMU Restore in the Division of Student Affairs at Loyola Marymount University aims to help students grow in their development of skills for managing conflict when it naturally occurs through providing education and resolution options. It also fosters relationship building and harm prevention efforts for the campus community focused on transformative, equitybased policy, practice and systems change. LMU Restore was awarded an Innovation Grant from the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA) that was executed between 20202022. The Innovation Grant Summary Report was authored by Julia Wade, and the grant funded the Restorative Justice Conference Facilitators Apprenticeship.

Peer-Reviewed Publications Featuring LMU Students 

Free-Living Allen’s Hummingbirds (Selasphorus sasin) Rarely Use Torpor While Nesting

For reproducing animals, maintaining energy balance despite thermoregulatory challenges is important for surviving and successfully raising offspring. This is especially apparent in small endotherms that exhibit high mass-specific metabolic rates and live in unpredictable environments. Many of these animals use torpor, substantially reducing their metabolic rate and often body temperature to cope with high energetic demands during non-foraging periods. Free-Living Allen’s Hummingbirds (Selasphorus sasin) Rarely Use Torpor While Nesting was published in the Journal of Thermal Biology and isco-authored by Glenn Tattersall, Peter Auger, Maria Curley, Eric Strauss, Donald Powers, Noemi Soveral, Bret Tobalske, and Anusha Shankar, as well as LMU undergraduate students Erich Eberts and Melissa Morado.

Spatiotemporal Relationships of Coyotes and Free-Ranging Domestic Cats as Indicators of Conflict in Culver City, California

Within southern California, domestic cats (Felis catus) comprise a higher proportion of coyote diets than in other studied urban areas throughout the United States. However, it is unclear which ecological factors contribute to higher rates of cat depredation by coyotes in this region. Research was conducted by placing 20 remote wildlife cameras across a range of green spaces and residential sites in Culver City, California to assess the influence of green space and prey species on coyote habitat use and activity. Spatiotemporal Relationships of Coyotes and Free-Ranging Domestic Cats as Indicators of Conflict in Culver City, California was published by PeerJ Life & Environment and is co-authored by Melinda Weaver, Katherine Weiss, Eric Strauss, as well as LMU undergraduate student Rebecca Davenport. This paper was awarded the top prize for wildlife stories by The Wildlife Society.