The words “wild L.A.” might conjure images of Hollywood celebrities and lavish parties, but this story is about the flora and fauna that exist in our urban sprawl. In the book “Wild LA: Explore The Amazing Nature In And Around Los Angeles” by Lila Higgins and Gregory B. Pauly with Jason G. Goldman and Charles Hood, armchair travelers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will enjoy an engagingly written and beautifully photographed compendium celebrating the nature all around us each and every hour of every day.
Ideal for introducing Angelenos and tourists to the remarkable nature often overlooked when considering our city and region, “Wild LA” was written by experts from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The book is divided into three comprehensive parts. The first, “Wild Los Angeles,” pulled me in with its relaxed writing style that’s never pedantic. More than 70 pages cover a variety of topics with thought-provoking information ranging from the La Brea Tar Pits and L.A.’s past, our water supply and the L.A. River, fire facts and night animals to green space and participating in community science projects. This section will convince you to become a “champion for wildlife.”
Next comes “101 LA Species To Know” featuring facts about more than 100 birds, bugs, slugs, mammals, mushrooms and plants. Numbers that correspond to section three field trips indicate where readers have the best probability of seeing them. While I don’t want to meet a mountain lion or skunk up close and personal, I’d love to know where to see desert bighorn sheep, the Virginia opossum and the great horned owl. Kids can learn about and then make plans to scope out alien-like turkey tail fungus and the dog vomit slime mold that resembles a fungus.
Finally, choose from 25 enticing “Field Trips” for a perfect day’s outing, whether that be leisurely walking, hiking or biking. Hoping to spot red-eared sliders? These turtles thrive in ponds and reservoirs on seven itineraries. Find the Southern California black walnut, growing only “in the coastal mountains of the Ventura and L.A. areas,” on four field trips. Leave the concrete and traffic behind because, from Arlington Garden to Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, the wonder and diversity of wild Los Angeles awaits you.