An artist has been at work on the "greenbelt," creating pockets of beauty for all to enjoy.
If you haven't seen them, you need only walk the greenbelt from 27th Street to Walnut Avenue to discover a dash of color here, a dash there amid newly planted areas.
Today, local artist Jeanne Jackson marks the first year anniversary of her project, dubbed the Greenbelt Restoration Project.
The Manhattan Beach resident applies her unique vision, determination and foresight to produce results that are indeed beautiful.
As is the case most weekends, on a Saturday morning in July, Jackson was preparing to work with her newest canvass greenbelt, which is officially known as Veterans Parkway.
With the help of eager volunteers, on that day Jackson initiated the fourth phase of what she calls "the Greenbelt Restoration Project." The project, having already mobilized Mira Costa students, local service groups, residents and other volunteers, has been making a big impact on what is Manhattan Beach’s biggest park, Veterans Parkway.
Jackson, who lives near the greenbelt and is an avid gardener, conceived of the project when she noticed that many of the greenbelt’s trees and plants were dying. After a chance meeting on the greenbelt with Juan Price, the maintenance superintendent for the MB Public Works Department, she began fundraising and recruiting volunteers, setting the project in motion. She has never looked back.
“I believe the greenbelt is the heart and soul of the city, and there are so many things we can do to enhance it," Jackson told Manhattan Beach Patch. "Up until this point, individuals have just been planting a tree here and there.
"I want to take it up a notch,” she said. “I will work as long as I can, and as long as I have support from the community. I’ve embraced the project as a new artistic medium, and I work on it every day.”
Jackson's dedication is clear to residents who have already seen the work done by the Greenbelt Restoration Project. Huge patches of ice plant have been replaced by attractive flowers and shrubbery, along with trees that beautify the area and have a positive environmental impact.
With the environment in mind, she chooses plants based on their aesthetic appeal and environmental effects. She selects drought-tolerant, environmentally appropriate plants that strengthen biodiversity on the greenbelt. There are plans to expand the vision to include the entire greenbelt.
Jackson’s enthusiasm for the project has been infectious. Volunteers at the planting that Saturday in July were excited about planting new life on the greenbelt.
Volunteer Ellen Swallow, who learned about the Greenbelt Restoration Project when she saw Jackson working during a walk, quickly got involved.
“The greenbelt provides peacefulness in the city that we all need,” said Swallow. “We need to be closer to nature.”
For residents interested in getting involved with the Greenbelt Restoration Project, Jackson says her biggest need is funding for the plants and regular maintenance. She coordinates her installations with Deep Roots Garden Center, and owner Jon Bell generously sells the specimens at cost for the project. Donations for the project can be made at Deep Roots.
Realizing the impact the project has already had, Jackson expresses gratitude at having the opportunity to beautify her city. “This is a very rewarding experience for me, and I hope that everyone who gets involved finds the same joy in planting for the future.”
To volunteer, contact Jeanne Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for the Facebook page: Manhattan Beach Greenbelt Restoration Project.