Meet P-22, the lone mountain lion that lives in L.A.’s Griffith Park. Originally from the western Santa Monica Mountains, this nimble puma has faced much adversity to travel to and survive in one of North America’s largest urban parks. Though he is by nature a solitary animal, P-22’s continued survival proves that the city is a dynamic place where animals and people can coexist. This makes him an apt ambassador of urban wildlife.
We Heart P-22 pays tribute to this remarkable animal with educational stories and activities that wildlife lovers of all ages can enjoy—from coloring pages and puzzles to cutout puppets and a fold-out board game—by more than 50 contributors, including some of P-22’s closest friends from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Park Service, and Friends of Griffith Park.
This book is made possible by a Creative Economic Development Fund grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, with support from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation; an Awesome Grant from the Los Angeles chapter of the Awesome Foundation; as well as the generosity and support of Friends of Narrated Objects.
A children’s book that introduces kids to L.A.’s awesome wildlife is long overdue.
I didn’t know much about the city’s wildlife as a kid, even though I grew up just across the street from Griffith Park. My family would take me to ride the ponies and the miniature trains and to visit the Observatory. I loved wildlife, but my family had no science background and they were not familiar with local nature, so they would take me to the L.A. Zoo and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to help me get my wildlife fix. Back then, the park did not have an education staff and Friends of Griffith Park did not exist.
P-22 is the hero that Griffith Park and L.A. wildlife need now more than ever. Our local mountain lions are facing a crisis, and he is a powerful ambassador that is bringing awareness to their plight.
Fast forward to 2011: I am an adult biologist, specializing in urban-mammal research, and given the opportunity to work in the L.A. area. As you will read in this book, I would discover the first photo of a mountain lion in Griffith Park as part of the Griffith Park Connectivity Study; it was the puma that would become the famous P-22. His story is an inspiring one about survival that is very relatable to people of all backgrounds. He is the hero that Griffith Park and L.A. wildlife need now more than ever. Our local mountain lions are facing a crisis and he is a powerful ambassador that is bringing awareness to their plight.
I am grateful for his presence and story as both a scientist and an Angeleno who is concerned about the future of L.A. wildlife and nature access. He is teaching scientists a great deal about how adaptable mountain lions can be if they are given sufficient shelter and the opportunity to hunt natural prey species. P-22’s story inspired me to look even deeper into L.A.’s urban core, such as park-poor areas and backyards, to make the next backyard discovery. If we can find a puma—the most space-needy animal around, and one that most people associate with wilderness areas—in a busy park in the middle of L.A., then what else has been living right under our noses?
P-22’s story inspired me to look even deeper into L.A.’s urban core, such as park-poor areas and backyards, to make the next backyard discovery.
His story has enhanced various education programs offered by like-minded organizations such as inner-city outreach programs by Friends of Griffith Park, and innovative urban-wildlife education by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. He also plays an invaluable role in getting young Angelenos interested in local nature. I know I felt alone sometimes as a Latino kid who was a nature lover and aspiring scientist—there aren’t many people of color in this field—so I hope P-22’s story gives others the confidence to pursue their passion and share it with their family and friends. This would result in a more diverse next generation of scientists, environmental educators, and environmental stewards. And, with any luck, this We Heart P-22 book will inspire thousands more by using a familiar and fun medium to introduce children and families to one of L.A.’s most legendary characters, and the unique urban oasis that P-22 and many other special yet vulnerable species call home.
Friends of Griffith Park is a nonprofit organization that strives to preserve and protect Griffith Park’s natural habitat and historic features for our generation and future generations to enjoy. They promote knowledge about the natural and human history of Griffith Park, which was generously donated by Colonel Griffith to the citizens of Los Angeles in 1896. “It must be a place of recreation and rest for the masses, a resort of rank and file, for the plain people,” he said.
The organization continues to share the insightful views of the colonel, and honor his farsighted vision by ensuring that the park remains a special oasis for Los Angelenos and visitors to reconnect with nature. Friends of Griffith Park’s projects and programs include a continuing series of scientific surveys and studies, interpretive outings with schoolchildren, revitalization of historic Fern Dell, a lecture series, and many volunteer activities.
Narrated Objects’ L.A. Coloring + Activity Book Series brings together emerging and established artists and writers to produce books that exemplify what makes Los Angeles a vibrant city. We Heart P-22 would not exist without the wonderful and imaginative contributors who shared their P-22-inspired drawings and stories with us. This talented group includes folks of all ages—5- to 50-plus-year-olds—at all levels of their artistic careers, from up-and-coming artists to veteran character designers, as well as fathers and daughters, teachers and students, wildlife activists and park enthusiasts, friends and colleagues.
Alexie Apeles + Andrea Richards + Anne Blecksmith + Bailee DesRocher + Beth Pratt-Bergstrom + Braelin Skidmore + Cassandra Marquez + Charles Cisneros + Charlie Becker + Chris Ayers + Christiane Shillito + Cody Cameron + Colleen Corcoran + Colleen Hennessey + Cristina Ramirez + Daniel Duffie + David P. Earle + Dela Truthsayer + Dominie Apeles + Gerry Hans + Gray Cheek + Heather Snow + I-Ching Lao + Jason Lockyer + Jeff Sikich + Jennifer Cuellar + Jenny Swartzbaugh + Jessica Hoffmann + Jimmicorey + John Son + Jonathan Daniel Reyes + Karen Lukesh + Kim Hager + Leila Hamidi + Leticia Meza + Liam Kochakji + Lucy Gonzalez + Lucia Sano + Mandi Roberts + Margaret Gallagher + Maureen Meyer + Mayela Villalobos + Melissa Dora + Miguel Ordeñana + Miriam Blier + Nicole Stirbis + Olivia Lester + Oscar Rosales + Patrick Kochakji + Phoebe Cheek + Sienna Kochakji + Sophia Allison + Stephen Silver + Tai Blabac + Teena Apeles + Terryl Whitlatch + Tom Sano + Tracy Park