Gibson Mariposa Park
Location: El Monte, California
The landscape architects at DEA worked with Amigos de Los Rios, a non-profit environmental and community advocacy group, to provide design assistance, project coordination, and construction document preparation for Gibson Mariposa Park. Prior construction of this 3.4-acre park, the only nearby city park was a tiny and heavily used mini park. The theme of Gibson Mariposa Park is butterflies, which offered opportunities to integrate unique design elements into the park. The monument sign resembles a large caterpillar, shade canopies are shaped like large butterflies, and a community stage is modeled after a caterpillar-nibbled leaf. Plantings are drought-tolerant California natives and were selected to provide habitat for a wide variety of native California butterflies. To educate visitors about the butterfly habitat, informational kiosks are positioned at key points along gravel pathways. In addition to specifying the native plant and butterfly habitat, DEA landscape architects assisted in developing "green" strategies. Permeable pavers in parking areas facilitate surface water percolation, onsite leach fields disperse water from the children's water play area into surrounding turf areas, and recycled materials were used for park amenities such as picnic tables, benches, and trash cans.