CURes 2018 Year-In-Review

2018 was an exciting year for the CURes team, comprised of innovative research, educational outreach, expanded restorative justice programming, and engaging events. As we reflect upon our year, we would first like to thank our donors, funders, partners, and community groups that make our work possible. To learn more about CURes throughout the year, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Research Projects

  • Completed the first year of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Monitoring project – conducted mosquito larvae counts, water quality profiles, and hydrological studies.
  • Continued the Long Beach Coyote Assessment – analyzed game camera pictures and videos, performed genetic analysis of coyote scat samples, and conducted interviews with key stakeholders.

    Dr. Demian Willette (LMU Biology) teaching Long Beach Coyote research students about PCR to analyze coyote scat using genetic techniques.
  • Performed the first of two urban tree surveys for the Los Angeles Beautification Team in Pacoima, CA.
  • Traveled to the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center in Frazier Park, CA to collaborate with researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School at the Broad Institute on a project investigating possible connections between genetic differences amongst wolf hybrids and autism in humans.
  • Conducted the Silver Lake Reservoir Survey – performed in-person and online resident surveys to inform city development.
  • Kicked-off LA River STEW-MAP with key stakeholder groups and began outreach with community members.
  • Partnered with LMU’s Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles to research the presence and distribution of philanthropic groups in two neighborhoods in South LA.
  • Reinstated crow banding efforts in Venice Beach, CA to inform conservation of Least Tern nesting sites.
  • Facilitated the planning process for an Osprey Pole installation at LMU in early 2019.
  • Kicked-off the LA County Tree Canopy Assessment & Prioritization Project with collaborators from the University of Vermont, SavATree Consulting, and TreePeople.
CURes and UMass research team in Frazier Park, CA.
Lisa Fimiani (CURes) at the PetSpace one-year celebration in June 2018.

Education Programs

  • Continued to partner with LMU’s Center for Equity for English Learners on Project QUEST – a program that teachers students about hummingbird ecology and land use evaluations.
  • Developed formal and informal educational materials for the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista, CA.
  • Installed live cameras on hummingbird feeders around the world – the live streams are available on our YouTube channel.
  • Developed materials for Urban EcoLab Modules 9-13, available on our website.
  • Worked with the Leaders through Education, Action, and Hope (LEAH) Program in Boston, MA to develop urban ecology curricula for an after-school program in several Boston communities.
  • Hosted the 2018 Summer Institute for teachers to assist with Urban EcoLab development.
  • Continued to manage the Cities and the Environment (CATE) Journal – had 22,019 downloads in 156 countries through November 2018.




Restorative Practices training at Riverside Unified School District.

Restorative Justice Project

  • Invited to present at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) State Policy and Research for Early Education Working Group in Los Angeles, CA July 2018.
  • Led trainings for LMU Student Affairs, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic Schools, the Catholic Schools Collaborative, Aspire Public Schools, Riverside Unified School District, Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, Culver City Unified School District, and the Intellectual Virtues Academy.
  • Presented at the California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare Conference in Fresno, CA May 2018.
  • Presented with Public Counsel at the Trauma Informed Schools Conference in St. Charles, MO June 2018.
Restorative Practices training at LMU.


Events & Outreach

  • Completed the 2017-18 Environmental Lecture Series and began the 2018-19 Series at LMU. Speakers included: Karina Johnston and Tom Ford (The Bay Foundation), Mona Seymour (LMU Urban & Environmental Studies) and Matthew Drewno (Ecology Action and Stanford Inn by the Sea), Dr. Chelsea Robinson (LMU Urban & Environmental Studies), and Dr. Meng Zhang (LMU History).

    Dr. Zhang presenting her research at the 2018-19 Environmental Lecture Series.
  • CURes was a Cooperating Organization for the 2018 Los Angeles Business Council Sustainability Summit. Two representatives attended.
  • Participated in the 2018 Friends of Ballona Wetlands Migration Celebration with a hummingbird activity station for children of all ages.
  • Organized and participated in events for Earth Month including: guest lectures by Mark Wainwright (Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Costa Rica), a screening of “Beyond the Brink,” tabling for an LMU Third Thursday, and the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase.
  • Led a bird walk for Bird LA Day 2018.
  • Hosted the grand opening of the Swimmer Medicinal Garden in Ballona Discovery Park in Playa Vista, CA.
  • Co-hosted a State of Action event at LMU in September 2018 as part of the lead-up to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS). A CURes delegation also attended the GCAS in San Francisco, CA. While there, the group co-hosted an event via CURes’ Mediterranean Cities Climate Change Consortium initiative.
  • Co-hosted the 2018 GNG Green Earth Environmental Film Festival at LMU’s new Playa Vista campus.
  • Attended the 2018 LMU Alumni BBQ and ran a station for children and their families, center around hummingbird ecology and research.
  • Attended the 2018 LMU Open House to present CURes research and programs to interested potential future LMU students.
LMU delegation at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, CA.
Amy Alverson (LMU ’21) volunteering in Ballona Discovery Park.


  • Eleven CURes undergraduate research students presented at the 2018 LMU Undergraduate Research Symposium.
  • Three students worked with CURes for the Summer Undergraduate Research Program.
  • CURes staff taught a two-week course for high school students over the summer, hosted by LMU Summer Programs, to expose students to urban ecology concepts in a University setting.
  • Over the course of 2018, 31 LMU undergraduates, representing five LMU Colleges, participated with CURes via independent research, work study, or volunteering
Armaan Zare (LMU ’18) and DeLisa Madere (LMU ’20) at the LMU 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium.