The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

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Larry Wilson: Getting it together with the Arroyo Seco Foundation





Larry Wilson


Pasadena Star-News


Running my dog on the western trail in Pasadena's central Arroyo Seco Saturday morning, I heard someone call my name. I peered down-canyon and saw it was Christopher Nyerges, the wonderfully knowledgeable naturalist who leads wild-food tours of the Arroyo nearly every weekend.

"I'll see you at the Arroyo conference next Wednesday," I called back. "I think you'll be the star! "

"They're only giving me five minutes!" Christopher responded.

"Time enough to say it all," I said. "Well, most of it. "

You've never had a fresher salad than the bowl full of weeds, dressed with good oils that weren't found on your trek, that you'll have after a nice Arroyo walk with Christopher. Indigenous, native, introduced? It makes no difference to the palate. A dozen years ago at our daughter's 10th birthday he even got a large bunch of elementary school girls to eat the wild mustard and lamb's quarters and whatnot that we'd picked up at Hahamongna. Maybe that was because he'd also shown them how to make fire with just a couple of sticks.

Hearing Christopher is one of the several excellent reasons to come to tonight's Arroyo Seco Foundation celebration at Caltech's Beckman Institute. It's the annual meeting for the local group that advocates for the Big Ditch. Managing Director Tim Brick will "highlight the great work being done throughout the watershed, identify challenges for upcoming years, and provide an overview of our region's most spectacular natural resource," according to the ASF.

But it's much more than a meeting. There's beer, for instance, from the very aptly named Dry River Brewing. There's music by Tim Sellers from Artichoke, a band whose website gives "thanks to the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis," perfect for the Caltech setting. There's the Hahamongna-saving activist Diane Patrizzi, 2012 Doo Dah Parade queen of the garlic donut asteroids, for goodness' sake. There's seriously green South Pas Councilman Michael Cacciotti, and Omar Delgado of the excellent Johnny Appleseed organization North East Trees.

And I'll talk about the confluence of the Arroyo and the L.A. River, one of the most neglected and yet promising river junctions in the whole wide world.

Refreshments and entertainment at 6 p.m. Program at 7. Beckman Institute, just west of Beckman Auditorium, Caltech. RSVP

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Twitter: @PublicEditor.

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