News from Gibbs Park

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Artist Lubica Selica added finishing touches on Graham-side pylons adorned with monarchs. The new art complements the Monarch life cycle tiles, also created by the talented Lubica and commissioned by the HB Tree Society. Funds for Gibbs  are needed for complementary butterfly art to grace the back park pylons, and to plant the inner circle with pollinator plants.



Our thanks to Bonnie Coerper who served as Gibbs Park Coordinator from late 2021 to early 2023. She can still be found watering & weeding in the Urban Forest & propagating new plants at the HB Tree Society nursery behind the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center near PCH & Newland.

Artist Lubica Selica came by recently and cleaned up the 8 butterfly life cycle tile circles she created 10 years earlier. The butterfly art was commissioned by the H.B. Tree Society. Find more information about the tiles by clicking here.

They’re back! In early November 2022 – a week or so later than 2021 – the Monarchs returned to Gibbs to overwinter.

Marvelous Monarchs – North side of Gibbs, 75’ south of the wall, halfway into the grove, half way between the circles, on Oct. 29, 2021. On Nov. 8, the butterflies relocated to HB Central Park East, near the wooden amphitheater. Check out more photos and a video from this year’s migration, captured by Dee Dee Gollwitzer, at

Leslie Gilson passes the rake to longtime HB resident and HB Tree Society volunteer Bonnie Coerper and other Gibbs Park volunteers. However – Leslie is continues to help beautify the park is raising funds needed to complete the pylon art.

Click here to check out drone footage (from Dec. 2021)
of the new Gibbs walkway

Leslie Gilson Hands in Her Shovels, Passes the Rake as Gibbs Restoration Coordinator

(L to R) HB Tree Society colleagues and friends Shirley, Cheryl, Jean and Tina at a luncheon in Leslie’s honor. 

Upon hearing of Leslie’s retirement in July 2021, HB Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Delgleize remarked, “The City of Huntington Beach works best when people such as you step up and say this must be done. You and all the volunteers have made Gibbs Park/Butterfly Park the best little gem in town. Thanks for showing so many of us the way.  We love and appreciate all your efforts and passions. God bless you.”

Resident John Runyard adds, “I’ve seen the great changes to our wonderful grove / park, and the last 14 years have been the greatest! This was due to the hard work of thousands of hours of volunteer work by you Leslie …  you’ve turned this park into a beautiful oasis. My family and I say Thank You Leslie Gilson!” 

“After 14 years as coordinator, I am handing in my shovels and passing the torch,” says Leslie. “I met with the city’s Public Works Department and we talked about a walkway in the back to the other park, taking out the bushes in the back and water issues. Lubica will be working on the pylons soon and I will oversee that project. I will help out where I can. I am sure you will see me sitting in the park and just enjoying the fruits of my labor all these years.” 

Above photos courtesy of John Runyard

Alyssa Dinh and Nha Wuan Tran, along with others with Troop 21004, came to Gibbs in June 2021, working with Gibbs Restoration Coordinator Leslie Gilson on their silver award. They planted more than 80 native, Monarch-attracting milkweed plants!

Pride of Madera shrubs in bloom make Gibbs Park look proud in spring 2020.

March 2021 spring cleaning – Many thanks to the Rotary Club members who brightened up Gibbs Park by refinishing the badly tarnished plaque about the park’s namesake, Norma Brandel Gibbs. Check out this before and after!

Gibb’s Volunteer of the Month honors for March 2021 go to Robert Elliot. Thanks for all of your hard work, Robert!

Workers found a salamander while adding soil to the planting areas in December 2020.

Butterflies come in all shapes and forms! (November 2020)

Recording artist and fan of Gibbs Park Laura Angelini

Just a walk in Gibbs Park for Kevin, who chanced upon a fellow park goer’s iguana.

Autumn park life (photo at dusk compliments of John Runyard).

October 2019: While at Gibbs Park cleaning our fence and butterfly tiles, HB Girl Scouts had the pleasure of petting this teacup pig!

Sept 1, 2019: Many, many thanks to the Ocean View High School Key Club volunteers. who worked hard to clean up the park and move a tremendous pile of much needed mulch throughout the park. Many thanks to Scott and Donna (as supervised by Alan) to finish off the mulch. It really is wonderful to have such amazing support.


Aug. 27, 2019: Leslie took a couple pics of the great horned owl born at the Park today. Here is what one looked like back in January. She also reported that someone spotted a Pin-tailed Whydah at the park, similar to this one. Please look around in Gibbs to see if you can spot any of these birds.


Aug. 25, 2019: Norma Gibbs has passed on to that great butterfly park in the heavens. She was 94. Norma was our first woman council member and our first woman mayor. She was instrumental in founding our library and Huntington Beach Senior Center in Central Park, and was a champion for women and children in need. She founded interval house, a program for abused women. She was a professor in educational psychology at Cal State Long Beach.  A celebration of life was held Sept. 21 at at the HB Senior Center. She was an amazing, amazing marvelous person and will be deeply missed. Please remember her motto: “You can fly, but that cocoon needs to go.”

Many, many thanks to Tina Stevenson, Gibbs Park Docent extraordinaire, for updating the kiosk information boards. They look great, Tina! Come to the park and see the new information about our resident owl and cooper’s hawk families, and maybe you can even find them in the trees.

April 25, 2019: Spring at Gibbs Park. Look at the huge red poppies.

March 12, 2019: While this is not in our Gibbs Park, with the rains this year, there is an abundance of Painted Lady Butterflies migrating from Mexico to Oregon. Here is a video that Leslie found/made/? of a Painted Lady swarm in a Mission Viejo parking lot.

Feb. 9, 2019: This butterfly was tagged by Leslie Gilson on 1/12/19 and  he was released at Gibbs Park. He was seen nectaring on 2/6/19 on the east side of meadowlark golf course west of Springdale. He lived 25 days through the rain and bad weather. We are hoping he will be seen again. Amazing lifespan for a monarch. :)

Oct. 3, 2018: Soon we will have a new look! Our old front was a maintenance nightmare. Thanks to Parks and Maintenance for making this happen. There is also a new sidewalk going in on Graham Avenue to alleviate walking in the street.

Sept. 29, 2018: Anise swallowtail visits Gibbs.

July 25, 2018: Jennie Breeze took a pic of Leslie at the Park and it’s being exhibited at Bowers! Congrats, Jennie!

May 27, 2018: Funny thing happened while droning in the park… Caught the rat bastard! Then played with it like a cat does.

April 1, 2018: Happy Easter (and April Fools, lol!)! Spring has sprung at Gibbs Park. Enjoy!


Saving Green – The Story of a City’s Parks // Feature Documentary from Matt Hanlon on Vimeo.

Dec. 3, 2017. We’ve been seeing butterflies in Gibbs Park, but the best monarch clusters so far have been at Central Park. Here are some clusters that Leslie took. Enjoy!


November 1, 2017: Molly Lambert built a tepee in Gibbs Park. :)

October 25, 2017: The monarchs have arrived at Gibbs Park! Due to the hot weather, they are not exhibiting normal clustering behavior. This picture was taken last night about 6 pm.

Sept 3, 2017: John Runyard wrote: Every weekend, Diesel Dog comes to Gibbs Park and goes straight for Doug, our #2 volunteer waterer. Diesel goes nuts around water. Thanks to Peter Anninos for the pic!

August 20, 2017: Thank you to Eagle Scout Vinh Nguyen and Scout Troop 2003 for sanding and painting the benches and tables at Gibbs Park. Looks fantastic!



July 4, 2017: Happy July 4th! Those owl parents are doing a wonderful job!

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June 2017: We have at least 3 baby owls with an adult owl at the Park. Look up in the trees to see if you can spot them.

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March 2017: Great article about our local Monarch butterflies, Leslie, Gibbs Park, and more butterfly rescuers from Orange Coast Magazine here.


Thanks for the garage sale benefiting the park!

IMG_3619 IMG_3617 IMG_3573 IMG_3570 IMG_3558February 2017: Many thanks to our volunteers Alyssa, Autumn, Stella and Taylor for helping clear the trees felled in the recent storm.

January 11, 2017: Great Daily Pilot article about Jean Nagy and the Huntington Beach Tree Society here.

December 23, 2016: Great Daily Pilot article on Leslie Gilson, Gibbs Park, Norma Gibbs and work on monarch restoration here.

Monarch Butterflies at HCP Clumping

November 2016: The monarchs have returned to Huntington Beach Central Park in trees behind the Amphitheater. Thank you to DeeDee Gollwitzer for the great photo.  Monarch Butterfly Clusters in Huntington Beach Central Park. Taken by DeeDee Gollwitzer. :)


October 17, 2016: Scout butterflies are showing up in the tree in the circle garden during the day. However, they seem to move around a lot each night and are hard to find.

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October 16, 2016: A long needed and deserved thank you goes out to the Gibbs Park Watering crew, especially Doug and John (and Gary and Lou along with the supporting cast of dogs: Scout, Bobbie, Nickie, and Leroy). Thank you for keeping the trees and plants alive during the drought.

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Sept 24, 2016: Tina Stevenson (amazing Gibbs Park docent) and Leslie Gilson presented Gibbs Park and the monarchs at the Global Festival in Irvine. See what her presentation looks like here: Thank you so much Tina and Leslie for everything you do.


July 21, 2016: There are two, count ’em, two owls in the park! We were treated to THIS owl moving and trying to get the attention of our resident owl. What a sight. They are by the 2nd gate north side big tree with three trunks.

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July 15, 2016: Thank you to DeGuelle Glass for donating new plexiglass for the kiosks.


We added mulch and weeded along the Summerlane side. It looks great!

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May 20, 2016: Someone stole the donation boxes from the park. PLEASE be our eyes and ears. Call 911 you do not need to leave a name. The police are aware of the problems at the park.


May 20, 2016: Finn especially likes the Butterfly Park!

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May 19, 2016: Someone set fire to one of our old blue gums. Thank heaven it did not set the grove or the neighborhood on fire. They removed Leslie’s trellis and tried to use it as wood. An accelerant was used. Last week a young man was seen trying to get into our donation box during the day. Please, if you see crime happening, report it. You do not have to give your name to the police.


May 13, 2016: Another feathered friend enjoyed the flowers in the park. :)

Great Horned Owl

March 14, 2016: An amazing shot of the owl by DeeDee Gollwitzer. :) It seems to be roosting in the tree nearest the yellow iris on the north wall. Look straight up in a tree fork and you might see it.

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March 11, 2016: A Great Horned Owl has decided to roost in Gibbs Park. Isn’t it amazing?

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February 11, 2016: Leslie tagged and released a female monarch she raised from Gibbs on January 21. She found her again today! Yay, they are sticking around!

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January 23, 2016: The Huntington Beach Central Park monarch cluster seems to be dispersing. What a wonderful sight it was when it was here.

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January 21, 2016: Girl Scout Troup 3113 cleaned the tiles and fence at Gibbs Park. Thank you all. Well Done!!!


January 17, 2016:  120 butterflies from the Huntington Beach Central Park cluster were tagged by Dr. Justin Wright,  Dara Satterfield,  Leslie Gilson, and Priscilla Cruz. Wing measurements were taken and butterflies were tested for OE (the parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, which is a parasite which can pass from the female butterfly to hurt its offspring).  The condition of their wings was noted and the data and tagging will help with the migration information.


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January, 2016: What a wonderful day! Lots of butterflies sunning themselves and mating. Here are a couple of pictures:

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January 1, 2016: The monarchs are flying around in the grove when it’s sunny. It’s magical!


Mourning cloak landed on Ashley’s hand in Central Park by the monarch clusters. She says butterfly’s like her. They landed on her at least five times while we were there.