NHM publishes 'Wild L.A.: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles'

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NHM publishes 'Wild L.A.: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles'
Page 225 / Ballona Wetlands / illustration by Martha Rich, courtesy of Timber Press.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Los Angeles is the second most densely populated city in the U.S., and a major biodiversity hotspot. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) wants to show Angelenos that their urban world is teeming with nature—not only in parks, but in backyards, apartment courtyards, and schoolyards. On March 18, NHM publishes Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles, a book equal parts local nature stories, field guide, and trip planner.

Wild L.A. was co-written by an eclectic group of writers: NHM Community Science Senior Manager Lila Higgins, NHM Herpetology Curator and UNRC Co-Director Greg Pauly, along with science journalist Jason Goldman and poet/naturalist Charles Hood.

The book begins with 10 short chapters focused on major themes that structure which species are found in the L.A. area, including more than 100 short species accounts that describe local plants and animals, tell a few of their most compelling stories, and most importantly, contain easy ways to identify them outside. Then, it’s time to explore. Readers will get guides for 25 hikes, meet local animals like the showy super-adapter Allen’s hummingbird, track undiscovered flies in backyard sanctuaries, get comfortable with the Pleistocene Age revealed at La Brea Tar Pits, and much more.

Throughout, Wild L.A. takes on issues of naturalization, migration, climate change, extinction, and human impact all while promoting urban engagement with the natural world. “We live in a place with amazing nature. And with so much change due to the rapid growth of agriculture and then urban development, every species here has an amazing story to tell,” says Pauly.

A mix of illustrations and photography, and a personal, accessible approach to science, Wild L.A. encourages people, even people with no seeming interest in venturing outside, that the exploration of nature is a fun, easy, enlightening endeavor.

“Many of us think that nature is something that is far away, that we have to make a special trip to discover,” says Higgins. “We hope this book changes people’s minds about that and inspires them to protect and nurture nature in our city.”

Advance copies will be available at NHM’s L.A. Nature Fest, March 16 and 17. Members receive a 10% discount. Learn more by visiting NHM.ORG/naturefest. Preorders of the book are also available here.

Wild L.A. is available from Timber Press on March 18; purchase here.

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