The National Wildlife Federation’s International Urban Wildlife Week is set to kick off Saturday, with a weeklong series of online events culminating next Saturday with its annual festival honoring the mountain lion P-22 that was photographed walking at night near the famous Hollywood sign.
Earlier this month, the National Wildlife Federation announced that it engaged a team of developers to create a custom virtual platform at www.urbanwildlifeweek.org that will allow people to safely attend the free events from their homes in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year’s P-22 Day Festival in Griffith Park drew more than 8,000 people, according to organizers.
This year’s events will be open to people from throughout the world and will allow participants to create their own wildlife avatar and use it to help a virtual version of the famed mountain lion, whom biologists suspect has crossed the 405 and 101 Freeways — safely across the 101 Freeway and beyond, organizers said.
Saturday’s event, “Wildlife 2 Watts,” begins at 2 p.m. Saturday featuring 3rd Rock Hip Hop’s Warren Dickson in a live virtual broadcast filled with music and a special wildlife guest appearance from members of Teranga Ranch, a wildlife education organization.
Other events include:
— “Wildlife Crossing Open House” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday to provide an update on the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon featuring representatives from Caltrans, the National Wildlife Federation, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains and the National Park Service;
— “Follow the Footsteps of P-22!” at 9 a.m. Tuesday, in which the National Wildlife Federation’s California regional executive director, Beth Pratt, will lead a virtual hike through the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles, taking a similar path to the one that P-22 may have taken;
— Videos and photos will be posted on the P-22 Facebook page throughout the day Wednesday, with a screening of the film “(Re)Connecting Wild: Restoring Safe Passage.” Wildlife experts from Animal Road Crossings will host a “Wildlife Crossings Worldwide Tour” at 5 p.m.;
— Los Angeles-based artist Jonathan Martinez will host a tour of the new P-22 and wildlife mural dedicated to the students at Esperanza Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday; and
— at 6 p.m. Friday, a screening of the film “Return to Wild America,” which features P-22 and other animals “co-existing” in cities;
The “P-22 Day Festival,” which is set to begin at 11 a.m. next Saturday, will feature an appearance at 11:30 a.m. by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will talk about his connection to wildlife and the state’s leadership in wildlife conservation efforts.
The lineup also includes a message from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., along with performances by the Grammy-nominated Black Pumas at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and an appearance by actress Julia Butters of “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.