WRECK LIFT REPORT
EYES OF THE KIDS
and Report by Patric Hedlund
2000 Sweet Pea Communications
9, 2000, Topanga Community Center--
epic drama is ever quite complete without a tense air of building
mood of the Topanga families which assembled at 9 a.m.
Saturday morning at the Community house ball field rose to
a keen level of anticipation as reports from the Corona airport
crackled over TCEP walkie-talkies. The helicopter we had all
gathered to see was being detained beneath a dense fog.
the wait, there was no wavering of excitement in the eyes
of the kids. This was, after all, the culmination of a child's
dream that grew to become the big idea which captured the
imagination and cooperation of an entire community.
.....Two years ago, in 1998,
two fourth grade boys set off on a hike up Topanga Creek.
They were helping Rosi Dagit search for fish. Joseph Sloggy
and Sean Denny turned over rocks and lifted fallen branches
to look closely into the pools where baby fish might hide.
Along the way, however, they kept encountering the mangled
bodies of wrecked cars which had crashed into the creek from
Highway 27. The abandoned hulks were bleeding rust, oil, gasoline,
battery fluids and other toxic chemicals into the creek, polluting
the water and the soils of the creek bed.
discovered something else on that hike: a baby Steelhead trout.
.... The head biologist at the
Monterey Marine Aquarium told TopangaOnline that in the 1950's
Topanga Creek was well known as a home to healthy numbers
of the intrepid Steelhead. Topanga's Steelhead
are genus Onchorhynchus Mykiss (OnKorINKus
MikeUs), cousin to the salmon in the Salmonidae family,
sharing the well-known trait of an inborn drive to return
to the place of their birth to reproduce.
descendents of that lush 1950's Steelhead population still
exist, and if the creek were healthy, it is conceivable that
Topanga could once again host a thriving stream ecology, complete
with the king of freshwater fish.
can't we pull these hunks of junk out of here, so the fish
don't have to get sick?" the boys asked.
... "Maybe if the creek
was clean they could come home to have their
babies," their friend Nic Paparella observed.
the other boys took the question to school. They convinced
their teacher, Mr. Ritesh Shah, and their fourth grade classmates
that they needed to do something to help make the creek a
welcome place for fish again.
exploding around the classroom. They tossed
around ideas about fish ladders and a wide array of complicated
solutions. Shah wanted his students to focus on a single idea
that could evolve into a project
which they could help implement.
He asked Dagit to meet with the class.
..... Dagit remembers wild brainstorming
in the fourth grade classroom that day.
..... "We were having an
animated conversation. The kids said: 'The biggest thing is--
we want the cars out!'
said: ' The cars are still there because they are inaccessible.'"
was a cluster of three boys on one side of the room, Dagit
they said. "All
we need is helicopters!"
year old vision in action. They were exactly right. But what
sounded like a simple solution turned out to pose more complications
than they could have anticipated....
Return To The Wreck-Lift
|Dale Robinette of Town Council leans
against a truck in the background, as the children
watch eagerly for signs of the helicopter. (Below)
21 month old Finnian Reed dresses for the occasion
with his propellor beanie (Fin's father is Kevin Reed
of Trout Unlimited, which helped make this event possible).
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