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Now Reading: Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles
Wild LA Wednesdays Book Club is open to all, join us anytime! We’re meeting every 2 weeks through Fall 2020, 7:30-8:45 pm on Zoom for Wild LA group discussions, guest speakers and fun activities. And if you’re in the LA area, we have a limited supply of free books! (details below) Our volunteer book committee (Dorothy, Machiko, Leslie, Melissa, Lupita, Xana & Bryan) plan easy reading assignments for each session, and we have more surprises planned for the coming weeks.
*** To receive password, sign up on our Eventbrite! See details below.
Reading & Book Club Schedule
Session 1: Wednesday, May 6, 7:30-8:30 pm
Wild LA: We’re full of nature!
- In advance, read Intro and Los Angeles is Full of Nature, pages 7-9 and 12-18. (30-45 mins). For Show & Tell, bring one photo of a favorite living organism (plant, animal, whatever!) – you can make it your Zoom background or share your screen. Agenda: We’ll introduce ourselves and the Wild LA Wednesdays Book Club, discuss the first reading section, have Show & Tell, explain book distribution and give you the next reading assignment. Call to action: Sign the petition!
Session 2: Wednesday, May 20, 7:30-8:30 pm.
Prehistoric LA & the Ice Age
- In advance, read La Brea Tar Pits Tell the LA Story, pages 19-28.
Videos: Check out the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum YouTube channel!
- Special guests: Lila Higgins, Wild LA author & Natural History Museum Community Science Senior Manager and Dr. Donald R. Prothero, Mammalian Paleontologist, Geologist and Author will be joining us! We’ll have group discussion of the reading, and our guests will chat with us about their work. Bring your questions!
Session 3: Wednesday, July 15, 7:30-8:45 pm
Community Science: Inclusive & Anti-racist
+ Get Started with iNaturalist!
- After a lengthy pause, we are back and “re-zooming” the Book Club, with an important discussion on making Community Science inclusive & anti-racist. All are welcome.
- Special guests Michelle Race — Natural History Museum Community Science Manager and Co-Founder of Black Girls Trekkin’, and Lila Higgins — Wild LA author, entomology geek & Natural History Museum Community Science Senior Manager — will join us!
- We’ll chat about how Community Science democratizes science & advocacy, what NHM staff are doing to make their Community Science program anti-racist, and how each of us can contribute to “Wild LA” research here in our own city!
- 1) In advance, read Science by the People, pages 72-79.
- 2) Get started with iNaturalist! Download the app, create your account, and start documenting LA’s biodiversity by snapping photos & contributing to community science!
- 3) For Show & Tell, bring one favorite iNaturalist photo that you’ve uploaded. Make it your Zoom background or share your screen. Remember to document wild organisms (whether native or non-native plants, wildlife, insects, molds, lichen, etc., — no pets or cultivated/planted species even if native)
- Sign up on our Eventbrite to receive password.
SESSION 4: WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 7:30-8:45 PM
insects & Spiders
- Bugs are bodacious. And LA has lots of ’em! We’ll discuss the species in the book, share bug stories, and bug out on any insecty-spidery-things y’all want to talk about. Monarch butterfly and honeybee extinction? Murder hornets? Global insect crisis? We’re here for all of it.
- Special guest: Lila Higgins — Wild LA author, entomology geek & Natural History Museum Community Science Senior Manager — will join us to share why people should care about bugs, and tell us about Lisa Gonzalez’s photography work on the NHM’s BioSCAN (Biodiversity Science: City and Nature project and the cool online exhibition Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects in L.A.
- 1) In advance, read Insects & Spiders, pages 106-121. Can you observe any of the 21 species before we meet?
- 2) For Show & Tell, bring one favorite insect or spider photo that you’ve taken. Make it your Zoom background or share your screen.
- 3) Get started with iNaturalist! Download the app, create your account, and start documenting LA’s biodiversity by snapping photos & contributing to community science!
- Sign up on our Eventbrite to receive password.
Session 5: Wednesday, August 5, 7:30-8:45 pm
Reptiles & Amphibians
- Special guest: Greg Pauly, Natural History Museum Curator of Herpetology, Co-director, Urban Nature Research Center, and Wild LA Co-author. Read his fun stories of LA lizard & amphibian discoveries with community scientists! Love in the Time of Coronavirus: The Alligator Lizard Version | Lizard Fieldwork is Just a Metro Ride Away in Los Angeles | Studying Lizard Love Through Citizen Science: “Because this region is so big and so much of it is private property, we enlist people (aka community scientists) all across the region to help us study the local biodiversity.”
- 1) In advance, read Reptiles & Amphibians, pages 148-161. Can you observe any of the 11 species before we meet?
- 2) For Show & Tell, bring one favorite reptile or amphibian photo that you’ve taken. Make it your Zoom background or share your screen.
- 3) On iNaturalist, join our new Wild LA Wednesdays Book Club iNaturalist project! All your iNat captures from May 6, 2020 til the end of our book club will load into the group project. What amazing finds will we have as a group, and who can observe the most?! We’ll discuss our finds each week.
Session 6: WEDNESDAY, August 19, 7:30-8:45 PM
WATER WRITES THE HISTORY OF LA x “the aqueduct between us”
For this next session, please pre-watch the powerful short film “The Aqueduct Between Us” beforehand, and read the short Water history section in Wild LA. The film documents oral histories about water in Los Angeles from the indigenous peoples of Tovaangar (Los Angeles) and Payahuunadu (Owens Valley), decolonizing the Los Angeles Water narrative. It reveals how LA’s history of development and water engineering are intertwined with impacts to Indigenous communities, giving voice and visibility to living Native people’s stories, relationship with these sacred waters and tribal sovereignty. We screened this 39-minute film directed by AnMarie Mendoza during our Nature for All Stewards Virtual Friday Night Film Series and are now glad to continue this critical discussion with special guest: Isaiah Mendoza, cinematographer and editor of the film.
Mr. Mendoza is a Tongva filmmaker born and raised the San Gabriel Valley. During his time studying film and photography at Pasadena City College, Isaiah developed a passion for documentary storytelling; as well as environmental and social justice. Through his work with his sister AnMarie and the Sacred Places Institute, Isaiah seeks to record and unearth Indigenous perspectives in the hopes of protecting and preserving native homelands.
- In advance, watch “The Aqueduct Between Us” (39 minutes, 2019) – available on YouTube.
- In advance, read “Water Writes the History of LA” in Wild LA.
We are still PLANNING the next sessions & schedule. Check back to confirm! …
Session 7: Wednesday, —, 7:30-8:45 pm
Fire, Past and Future + Plants
- In advance, read Fire, Past and Future and the first 11 species in Plants.
Session 8: Wednesday, —, 7:30-8:45 pm
Native Species + Plants
- In advance, read Native Species and the second 11 species in Plants.
Session 10: Wednesday, —, 7:30-8:45 pm
- In advance, read Exotic Species
— Schedule and reading assignments will continue to be updated here —
Search for our iNaturalist project!
- On iNaturalist, join our new Wild LA Wednesdays Book Club iNaturalist project! All your iNat captures from May 6, 2020 til the end of our book club will load into the group project. What amazing finds will we have as a group, and who can observe the most?! We’ll discuss our finds each week.
About the Book
If you’ve been wanting to learn about nature in LA, now’s the time! Wild LA is a fun new book published by community science and biology experts from our very own Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. It is easy to read, accessible, and helps us learn that LA is full of nature — we live in a global biodiversity hotspot! — all we have to do is look. It shares relatable stories, has an identification guide and field trips across the County.
Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Lila Higgins & Gregory B. Pauly with Jason G. Goldman & Charles Hood
“Los Angeles may have a reputation as a concrete jungle, but in reality, it’s full of amazing wildlife. You just need to know where to find it! Equal parts natural history, field guide, and trip planner, Wild LA has something for everyone. It looks at the factors that shape local nature—including fire, floods, and climate—and profiles over 100 local species” – Timber Press
“No matter how much one thinks one knows about L.A., this travel companion will shed new light on all that flourishes and flowers, or creeps and crawls in the vast urban-yet-still-wild sprawl of the city …” – Publishers Weekly
Get Started with the Book
- The first reading section is viewable on Google Books preview.
- Free books available: We still have some books available for participants who commit to the book club, courtesy of Altadena Library. After the book club, share the book with a new owner. Attend one of our sessions to get details.
- Wild LA is available digitally for checkout on hoopla (use your library card to log in; if you don’t have an Altadena library card, you can sign up for one!)
- Buy the book & support a local independent bookstore! – Vroman’s | Skylight Books | The Last Bookstore | Bookshop
Thank You Altadena Library
Many thanks to our community partner Altadena Library for the origin of this Wild LA book club idea, and for supplying the amazing free books for our participants! They’ve created activity and discussion packets which we are incorporating with our own ideas as well!