Little Green Oasis at Madrid Middle School

By Sherri Robbins, Amigos de los Rios
June 3, 2013 • 331 views

El Monte

For years, the roughly 850 students attending Madrid Middle School in

El Monte called the area just past their back steps “the Bones.” It was, literally, a dump – a no-man’s land between the school and an old metal factory littered with abandoned sofas, TVs, mattresses and other household trash. It was not the kind of place that invited nature based exploration or physical fitness training or recreation of any kind.

But that was then.

On May 29th, students, teachers, community leaders, and elected officials will gather to celebrate the now: new nature & exercise trail complete with an outdoor classroom seating area. From blight to bright, the reinvented Madrid Middle School Exercise and Nature Trail is the kind of place we all want our children to experience.   This project is part of a bigger San Gabriel Emerald Necklace Vision for greening East County Los Angeles, and is within the proposed National Recreation Area that the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition is working to bring to life. This effort is for the purpose of enhancing access to recreation, protecting biodiversity and natural resources, and for benefit of current and future generations.

Nonprofit Amigos de los Rios, also known as the Emerald Necklace Group, is a member of the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition. Amigos has spent the last decade converting abandoned lots, and other neglected spots into multi-purpose pocket parks and other green spaces that have dramatically improved the quality of life, and public health, in areas of Los Angeles County that sometimes seem forgotten by planners and policymakers. To date our grassroots group has restored and created over twenty unique enhanced recreation spaces within the San Gabriel Emerald Necklace.

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