The Urban Nature Research Center at Natural History Museum LA

Today is International Museum Day – a day I didn’t know existed until I logged onto Twitter this morning. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time I’m sure you know I’m a museum nut. I love them and visit them as frequently as I can. My goal is to visit all the museum in the LA/Orange County area and I’m pretty sure I’m almost there. So on this day celebrating these wondrous institutions I thought I’d share a bit of info about one of my favorites – Natural History Museum LA.


Last month I was lucky enough to visit for the debut of their latest initiative – the Urban Nature Research Center.


To many Los Angeles is nothing but concrete, cars and buildings. What they don’t realize is that it is actually incredibly bio-diverse – filled with a vast array of plants and animals. Wildlife is out there; it’s just a bit more camouflaged than other places.


With the Urban Nature Research Center the museum is going beyond their campus at Exposition Park into all corners of the area with the aid of Citizen Scientists. Who are citizen scientists? Just take a look in the mirror. Yes, any Angeleno can be a citizen scientist and help the UNRC with their SuperProject – the world’s largest urban biodiversity inventory. Just head to the website to learn more about joining this ambitious undertaking.


A group of Citizen Scientists have already been working with the museum on various projects and have discovered a whole lot about our diverse area. In fact, through the BioSCAN initiative 12 new species of flies were discovered in Los Angeles! Now, I know flies aren’t exactly the most glamorous examples of wildlife but they are an important part of our ecosystem and the more we know about them the more we can improve this fascinating landscape we live in.


In fact, while I was at the museum celebrating the launch of the UNRC I discovered the Nature Lab in the lower level of the museum. Somehow, in all my previous visits I had never been to this space.  Devoted to presenting the biodiversity of the LA area it’s filled with interactive elements, specimens both live and not and endless facts about our incredible flora and fauna.

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I absolutely loved wandering around looking at all the unique displays. Well, except for the lives rats. Try as I might I just can’t enjoy them.

The Natural History Museum is not only a wonderful place to visit but is also an important participant in the study of our diverse landscape. Through the museum and the new Urban Nature Research Center we will be able to learn more about the wondrous area we live in and gain the proper knowledge to ensure that it remains for generations to come.

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