L.A. Insider: Pasadena Biologist Thomas Juhasz

Raised in Pasadena, biologist Thomas Juhasz tells us his favorite spots in town, plus how to get landscaping you love to help balance the natural ecosystem.

Name, Age, Occupation: Thomas Juhasz, 27, Endangered Species Biologist

2-bedroom duplex

How long have you lived in Pasadena?
I grew up in Pasadena, so about 24 years.
What do you love most about your neighborhood?
It has a natural basis with the Arroyo Secco canyon, and its craftsman-style homes and the Bohemian culture. Old town Pasadena has a melding of natural-oak woods and trees in an urban area. It's an urban forest for people to enjoy – which I think is one of the best in Southern California.

Best kept secret in Pasadena?
One of my favorite places is the character of Mission Hill where they have these old houses right on Fair Oaks Avenue. There is a large hill there and it had one of the first luxury hotels. You can see horse stables still there, but they have been converted to lofts. It's a really interesting place. It feels very European, like you are in Geneva or an Italian lake city.

The Raymond
in Pasadena is one of my favorite spots, it's got that old Pasadena charm. It's a great restaurant with delicious cuisine and there are old friezes and marble sinks in the bathroom, it's absolutely beautiful. It's a great place for Sunday brunch or an early evening meeting with friends.

Favorite way to spend a sat night in your neighborhood?
If I'm looking for a relaxed evening I go to Houston's on Arroyo Secco parkway. It's refined, but it doesn't have the pretension that a lot of trendy bars or clubs would have in L.A. Its interior is a fun 1920's craftsman style.

Why is an endangered species biologist in L.A.?
L.A. is at a crux of several bio hot spots. It's part of the Mediterranean bio-type (dry, hot summers and cool, wet winters) and there is a very high biodiversity in California proper. There is a lot of growth here and that has endangered a lot of species. After Hawaii it's the second state with the largest amount of endangered plants and animals so there is a lot of environmental issues. Since L.A. is centrally located, I can do work in Hawaii as well.

How can people be mindful of not adding to the problems of endangered species with their property?
They can do native plant landscaping for their yards and patios so they can preserve a part of real California within their own abilities. Non-native invasive plants are threatening the balance of eco-system. There is a lot to be done to keep the balance. And people can always help their local parks that do restoration jobs because they rely on the help of local volunteers to do the work.
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