L.A. Creek Freak wants your feedback

March 29, 2010 § 11 Comments

Los Angeles Creek Freaks get together to plot to take over the world, one drop at a time. Left to right: Joe Linton, Jessica Hall, Jane Tsong.

L.A. Creek Freak is the brainchild of Jessica Hall and Joe Linton. In 2008, we talked about an idea for this blog as a tool for getting our points of view out to a broader audience, to raise awareness about the past, present and future of L.A.’s maligned waterways and to build momentum for healthier waters in L.A.’s future. Thanks to Miguel Luna for playing midwife matchmaker – turned out that both Jessica and I mentioned to Miguel that we were thinking of this – so he brought us together on it (though we already knew eachother and had worked together.)

Jessica contributed our first article about the removal of concrete from Las Virgenes Creek in Calabasas. I followed soon thereafter with a series on the three-day kayak expedition down the L.A. River.

In 2009, Jane Tsong joined us, deepening and extending our coverage to the San Gabriel Valley and Northeast Los Angeles. Since July 2008, we’ve posted 264 articles – about topics from fish to navigability to ukuleles to freshwater shrimp (twice, so far.) We’ve gotten the word out on things the way we see them… and it’s been great to hear from our readers – via comments and emails. Thanks to all the folks who’ve contributed content that we’ve run – including a lot of great materials contributed by Sheila Kuehl, David Kimbrough, [redacted]Peter Bennet,  Carol Armstrong and others. We’ve enjoyed learning about things we didn’t know… and we hope that we’ve played a role in hosting a dialogue that strengthens local environmental movements.

We all do L.A. Creek Freak as amateurs. None of us get paid for blogging here. We’re excited by the history we uncover and the inspiration we draw from local waterways. We hope that Creek Freak will draw more angelenos into the effort to reclaim and restore the waters in our communities.

Yesterday, the three of us met together for the first time to talk about the future of L.A. Creek Freak. We all know each other from various circles… but yesterday, we came together to talk about what improvements or changes we’d like to do for our blog. We’ve learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn’t. At the outset, we started in “quick and dirty” ways that we’re rethinking now.

Here are some of the ideas we have that we plan to work on (note: we’re not going to get to all of these right away):

  • create a new, less “boring” look – with photo/s at the top – probably a 3-column format, including a featured article
  • reorganize to make more important content easier to find
  • rework our categories (the way we set these up turned out to be nearly worthless)
  • create some sort of place-based searching – perhaps allowing our users to zoom in on a map and have that lead to articles about that area – and to find historic creeks in those map areas
  • create other ways for people to find creek freak
  • create a calendar of events, where we can post, and probably where other community folks can post, too

Those are some of our ideas – and you’ll be seeing and hearing about these changes as we move forward with them… but we also want to hear from YOU! What do you like about creek freak? What would you like to see changed? What aren’t we doing that you would like us to? Should we do more: videos? photos? tours? t-shirts? What do you really think? Leave us your comments below.

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§ 11 Responses to L.A. Creek Freak wants your feedback

  • Charlie says:

    Hmm, I don’t have specific feedback but I wanted to say I definitely enjoy this site and am glad you keep doing it. I used to live in southern California and was involved with riparian restoration and native plant landscaping and such, until I left to go to grad school in Vermont. I still follow this site and may be doing similar things on the east coast soon. Thanks for making this blog!

  • bellis says:

    I think it’s great as it is – though an easier way to search for past articles would help. It’s good to see photos of the three of you. Keep up the excellent work! (My favorite thing is learning the history of water in the area).

  • jim anderson says:

    I sincerely appreciate your efforts do my best to stay current. As the member of the Woodland Hills Neighborhood Council elected by all of Woodland Hills I am concerned both about the continued abuse and obliteration of the streams in Woodland Hills flowing into the headwaters. These roughly parallel Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Owensmouth. Flow may still be seen in the Owensmouth stream at the southwest corner of Victory and Owensmouth. I am concerned by the mysterious disappearance of the test and observation wells on the northwest corner of Victory and Topanga. They disappeared under Westfield’s Topanag Plaza garage. What were they for? Why were they there? Who allowed them to be capped and sealed by asphalt and concrete. The same has ahppened to the catch basin on Topanga at Voctory. Where was the Corps when these streams were overpaved? Is it seismically safe to allow such construction on active stream beds without substantial bedrock involvement with building steel, i.e., pilings and not the cement caissons on which the crate and barrel building floats?

    Your comments and involvement in these areas and considerations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and keep up the gooid work!

  • Nancy says:

    I’m a pretty undemanding reader – I’m just grateful for what you do. I’ve tried to blog and found it difficult to keep up (inthewatershed.org). That you have three voices is probably key to your success. I think all of your suggestions sound good and I look forward to the new look and feel.

  • Georgia says:

    Would like to follow creek news via Twitter.

  • Shelley says:

    The Creek Freaks are doing a great service to the environment in our region. Your info is great and your attitudes – rebels with a cause, academics with dirty hands, wise teachers and subversive do-ers – make me feel part of a community who cares. I’m a dedicated follower whatever changes you make! More photos and maps are always welcome and I would wear a Creek Freak t-shirt any day (cafe press seems to be a cheap and easy way to do this). You could also add a “Donate Now” button for those who want to make sure you keep up the good work.

  • Creek freak is my fav blog by far!

    Thanks Joe, Jessica & Jane!

  • tim2kirk says:

    I check in twice a week, and I’m always happy that I have. Keep it up!!!

  • Thea says:

    Love the blog! I know it’ll always keep me updated on what’s going on. I’d love to be able to click on an icon and tweet and FB your updates to the Rock the Boat accounts, so I can help spread the word. Or perhaps do an rss. In other words, automate! Great work, hope you can keep it going.
    Thea

  • alex says:

    hey there –
    i’ll chime in and say i love your blog also, and thx for getting on twitter.
    i think creating columns and having pictures be more central sounds good. a couple other suggestions:
    - run ads. why not?
    - create a Google map that allows readers to feed you with story ideas from around the region. check out this tutorial:

    http://www.danielsato.com/blog/2010/04/07/making-your-first-map/

    thanks again for your work!!

  • Brent says:

    I ran into someone the other day who referred to “the Creek Freak gal” (in a positive way). I knew instantly they were talking about Jessica.

    So you’re already a brand name.

    Of the ideas you set out above, I like the map-based story links the best.

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