Every year, Angelenos celebrate Urban Wildlife Week, a festival that concludes with a gathering in Griffith Park for P-22 Day. This year, the festival is going fully virtual.
P-22, the mountain lion who made a remarkable solo journey from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park, crossing two of the busiest freeways in America and some of the densest urban development in Los Angeles, is the star of the show.
As part of the first Urban Wildlife Week and P-22 Day Festival, four years ago, a diverse team of environmental advocates, lead by event organizer and National Wildlife Federation California Director Beth Pratt Bergstrom, retraced P-22’s historic 40-mile trek and helped to promote the campaign to build a wildlife crossing over the 101 freeway at Liberty Canyon, to reconnect the Santa Monica Mountains with the Simi Hills and the other mountain ranges that ring the L.A. Basin.
The event has grown every year to become a major festival event attracting families, performers, guest speakers, and exhibitors from all over the area. The 2019 festival attracted 6000 participants.
The coronavirus crisis has required the organizers to rethink the event. While the festival can’t take place in person, the virtual version of the festival has the potential to reach a global audience this year.
“P-22 Day 2020 is going to be a worldwide party,” announced event organizer Beth Pratt Bergstrom, Western director of the National Wildlife Federation. [It’s going to be] a virtual experience celebrating people and wildlife coexisting across the world. And we are still going to take you to Griffith Park, but from the comfort of your home. We’ll have games, prizes, music, virtual walks, and much more.”
The free event will include a performance by the Grammy-nominated Black Pumas and appearances by John “Griff” Griffith of Animal Planet’s Wild Jobs show, actress Julia Butters of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and Representative Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, along with hundreds of exhibits, online games, a kids’ activity area, an online art gallery, virtual walks and wildlife art lessons.
Participants are encouraged to sign up and participate in what is being described as “P-22’s Wildlife Wonderland.”
As always, the goal of the event is to raise awareness about the importance of learning to coexist with wildlife and ensure that all species, including P-22 and the increasingly at risk population of mountain lions in the local area, have a sustainable future.
Visit https://p22wonderland.org/ to learn more, or P-22’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/p22mountainlionofhollywood/