‘Wild LA’ Reveals Los Angeles’s One True Green Side
In an urban place like Los Angeles, there are plenty of opportunities to experience nature. When people think about experiencing nature, the idea of walking into a park or nature preserve may come to mind. However, there is also plenty of nature throughout the city — even in the more built-up areas. When you see a lizard come out of your garage or a coyote in a neighborhood, those things are extensions of nature. The plants that cover the landscape and people’s properties are nature.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is on a mission to reconnect the public with the nature that exists all around Los Angeles. They first started with the Nature Gardens. Then, they developed the Citizen Science Program, which is now called Community Science Program. The Community Science Program consists of a number of projects that local citizens are involved with. These projects include Southern California Squirrel Survey and Spider Survey. Most recently, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has come out with a book about nature in Los Angeles. The book is titled, “Wild LA: Exploring The Nature In And Around Los Angeles.”
According to the President and Director of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Lori Bettison-Varga, the book that has come out is both a culmination of the work that has been done, as well as another beginning. There is really no end when it comes to expressing appreciation for nature and the connection that we have to it.
“Wild LA: Exploring The Nature In And Around Los Angeles,” has four authors. One of the book’s authors goes by the name of Lila Higgins. She works for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County as a senior manager of community science. Higgins wears many more hats. Charles Hood is another co-author of the book. He teaches English at Antelope Valley Community College. He is also a photographer, writer and poet. Hood agreed to be a co-author when Kristin Friedrich, the managing editor contacted him. At the time, he was already involved in an endeavor involving nature — mist-netting bats.
Greg Pauly is another person who has co-authored the book. He works in the museum as a curator for amphibians and reptiles. Pauly also directs the museum’s Urban Nature Research Center. Jason Goldman is another co-author of the book. He is a science journalist whose works have been seen in Scientific American and on BBC.
Throughout Los Angeles, there is interest in appreciating nature and preserving it. This interest can be symbolized by P-22, a famous mountain lion that lives in Griffith Park. P-22 lives in Hollywood. There are pictures of him on a hill, with the lights of LA in the background and the famous Hollywood sign. The lion has become a symbol of the profound nature that exists in urban areas.
There has been a huge awakening about urban nature. Much of this is a result of smartphones, the internet and social media. It is so easy to share pictures and information that more people than ever are becoming educated about urban nature. People are able to take smartphones everywhere they go and capture pictures of natures. GPS-enabled phones have information relating to time and location stamped on the files. People can upload these pictures to citizen scientist websites, and the pictures can neatly be organized by time and location.
The book consists of three sections. The first section talks about both modern and historic stories. The reader is educated about how the land that makes up Los Angeles has been developed over the years. The second section acts as a field guide for those who want to look at the species of plants and animals that live in Los Angeles. The third section of the book gives 25 suggestions about where to go in Los Angeles.
Some Things To Know When It Comes To The Nature Of Los Angeles
There are many places where you can see the flora and fauna that are mentioned in the book. One great place to go is Griffith Park. Out of all of the municipal parks in the United States that have wilderness areas, Griffith Park is the largest. There are a number of things to do in Griffith Park. You can visit the Bronson Caves, the Griffith Observatory, the Autry Museum of the American West and L.A. Zoo. You can go on a merry-go-round, visit L.A. Equestrian Center, play golf or go see a show at Greek Theater.
When it comes to birds, some of the species that you may see in Los Angeles include Greater Roadrunner, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Shafted Flicker, Hairy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Western Screech Owl, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Dunlin, Vaux’s Swift, Marbled Godwit and Western Gull.
Some of the trees that exist in Los Angeles include Fern Pine, Marina abutus, Mimosa, Purple Orchid Tree, European White Birch, Floss Silk Tree, Gold Medillion Tree, Carob, Western Redbud, Caphor Tree, Lemon-Scented Gum, Carrotwood, South African Coral Tree, Red River Gum, Italian Cypress, Blue Gum Eucalyptus, White Iron Bark, Indian Laurel Fig, Silk Oak, Australian Willow, Pink Trumpet Tree, Jacaranda, Brisbane Box, Tulip Tree, Southern Magnolia, Olive and Cajeput.
The Natural Museum of Los Angeles County has a nature lab where they show you the type of insects, reptiles and amphibians that are found in Los Angeles. Some of these creatures include American Bullfrog, California Newts, Norway Rats, Louisiana Crayfish, San Diego Gopher Snakes, Mediterranean House Geckos, Brown and Black Widows and Harvester Ants.
To get a more well-rounded understanding about the natural history of Los Angeles, one must understand the human history of Los Angeles. Juan Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer, sailed along the coast of California. Upon seeing smoke emanating from the Native American villages in the Bay of San Pedro, he called the area the “Bay of Smokes.” In 1602, missionaries from Spain came to the area where Los Angeles now exists.
At that time, there were 22,000 Chumash. In 1769, Gaspar de Portola founded the first official settlement of Los Angeles. In 1775, Felipe de Neve became the governor of Los Angeles. Two years after that, the first district of Los Angeles, San Jose de Guadalupe, was established. Felipe de Neve set up a plan for how Los Angeles would be built. In the plan, there would be a main plaza surrounded by a number of administrative buildings and a church. The streets were planned in grid pattern, and there was space made for a number of farms and homes. In 1781, the City of Los Angeles was officially founded. In 1821, Los Angeles had developed into Southern California’s largest self-sufficient farming community. As the years went on, roads and transit systems were developed. Los Angeles became populated with enormous amounts of people, and the place was developed. Throughout the development of Los Angeles, there has always been a presence of wildlife — it has never gone away.
It is also important to understand the climate of Los Angeles. The average temperature for the coldest month, January, is 55 degree Fahrenheit. The average temperature for the hottest month, July, is 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It is without a doubt that the relatively warm and mild climate year-round allows certain flora and fauna to exist there — flora and fauna that would not be able to exist in colder climates. The wettest month, January, sees an average of 3 inches of rain. Much of the area’s rain comes in the Winter and Spring, and it usually ends around mid-May. Rain is very important to the area because of the fact that dry conditions lead to higher risks of fires.
In Los Angeles, human life intertwines more with nature more than people think. For example, if the flora is dry, there is a risk of massive fires starting and spreading. Also, the roots of the flora hold the soil together. If fires destroy the natural flora, the soil is more likely to be unstable and form mud flows. Of course, mud flows and fires can lead to losses for human being.
It is of utmost importance to respect the environment and the balance that must be kept. People should engage in being citizen scientists by collecting their own information about local wildlife and submitting it to various websites and organizations. they can also get involved by voicing their opinions and abstaining from activities that can disrupt wildlife.