Wild LA

“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 and surrounding area.”
—Publishers Weekly

Wild L.A. Book Cover

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County publishes Wild L.A.: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles

“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 and surrounding area.” 
—Publishers Weekly

Los Angeles, CA, March 15, 2019—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.

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. 

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

Related Events

Wild L.A. Book Launch
March 26 | 6-9 pm
Free with RSVP

NHM is proud to present the book launch of Wild L.A. Join us for an evening panel discussion with the authors, touching on the research and stories behind the book, followed by a Q&A. Special museum collections highlighting elements of the book will be on display between 6-7 pm. Books will be available for purchase.

The journey to completing Wild L.A. started five years ago. One of NHM’s strategic goals is to “create a new interdisciplinary model for understanding and connecting to urban nature.” In order to meet this goal, NHM opened the 3.5-acre Nature Gardens and Nature Lab in 2013, and followed that with a dedicated Community Science Department and the Urban Nature Research Center (UNRC). Both groups design events and research initiatives where public volunteers strengthen our scientists’ work by collecting and analyzing data (from areas too vast, or private, for scientists to explore themselves). Participants get to know L.A. nature better, collaborate with scientists, and sometimes co-author scientific publications. We’ve shifted from a museum organization that looked into the past, to one that is exploring and engaging in the world around us. 


The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) include the Natural History Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, and the William S. Hart Museum. They operate under the collective vision to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. The museums hold one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history—more than 35 million objects. Using these collections for groundbreaking research, the museums also incorporate them into on- and offsite nature and culture exploration in L.A. neighborhoods, and a slate of community science programs. This creates an indoor-outdoor visitor experience that explores the past, present, and future.  


Facebook: @nhmla | @tarpits | @hartmuseum 

Instagram:@nhmla | @thelabreatarpits | @hartmuseum 

Twitter: @nhmla | @labreatarpits | @hart_museum 

Media Contact: Sally Marquez. 213.763.3580 . smarquez@nhm.org