Locals often characterize Santa Cruz by the beaches and artistic vibes that adorn the city, but few ever refer to the river than runs through its heart. The San Lorenzo River provided a space for birders and fishermen, but landscape was not inviting to the general public. Then open space began to change though, when one of the many organizations who’s efforts seek to improve the quality and accessibility of the river gathered together all of the working groups to redefine the river’s role within the community. This video introduces the San Lorenzo River Alliance who is making significant changes to the levee environment with a diverse team of people. Check out the video, then see how you can get involved, and what the SLRA has already accomplished, at the website: http://coastal-watershed.org/sanlorenzoriver/
A group of women known as the Leveelie Ladies clean up the San Lorenzo river mouth twice a week. They tally every piece of trash and use this data to excite citizens and politicians to support the restoration of a levy that is both a rich ecosystem and beautiful public space.
The most important journalistic aspect of this video for me was to ensure I did not portray the relationship between the homless population and Leveelies as a battle. No single group is responsible for the river debris, nor its cleanup. The Ladies encourage everyone to join regardless of class or level of commitment. Every little conversation they have with the myriad of people who use the Levy slowly changes the atmosphere. Restoring the river takes more than cleaning up debris; it takes getting the entire community’s respect and appreciation. Their attitude of humility towards service has proven to me that only together can we create a space for the entire community to use.