By Adrienne Provenzano
When I was growing up, watching the Rose Parade from Pasadena, California on TV was a New Year's Day tradition, and I've continued this tradition as an adult. This year, one float in particular caught my eye, because it represented a marsh. After the parade was over, I did a little online research and thought Friends of the Limberlost, and others, may enjoy my findings.
The float, entitled "Protecting Nature: the Madrona Marsh Preserve," was built by the Fiesta Parade Floats company for the City of Torrance, California (with lots of volunteer help!) and designed by a high school student, Irene Tsay from West High. This vernal freshwater marsh in Los Angeles County is unusual for the area nowadays, but there used to be many such marshes. A vernal marsh does not have a built-in water source, and in this case is created by winter and spring rains. There are many micohabitats, and some of the species located there are depicted on the float - such as monarchs, cattails, and egrets. Hmmm...do any of these sound familiar, Friends of the Limberlost?!? Over 275 native and 50 non-native species of birds have been spotted over the past 40 years. Check out friendsofmadronamarsh.com for lots more information, including photos of flora and fauna!
I wonder if Gene Stratton-Porter may have visited the Madrona Marsh area when she lived in California. According to GSP researcher extraordinaire Terri Gorney, Gene did enjoy picnicking at Laguna Beach, and other biographical information about Gene, as well as her writings set in California, show an appreciation for the flora and fauna of the region. Her home on Catalina Island was certainly part of this area once frequented by the Tongva Native Americans, who had 100 settlements in the area of Los Angeles basin and Southern Channel Islands, including Catalina.
I also wondered if Gene ever attended the Rose Parade. It was started in 1890, and she moved to the area in 1919 and had an article, "Why I Always Wear My Rose-Colored Glasses" published in American Magazine that year. There is no mention of the parade in the article, but certainly, with her love of roses, it would have been a delight to her! So, no research so far has disclosed any mention of the Rose Parade by Gene, but she did include roses in her California landscaping!
The overall theme for this year's Rose Parade was "Making a Difference." Friends of the Limberlost, Limberlost Swamp Remembered and Friends of Madrona Marsh share in this important conservation work. It seems all roads lead to the Limberlost, even Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards in Pasadena where the Rose Parade takes place!
Happy New Year!