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TAKING A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE — LA’S WILDLIFE AT DESCANSO GARDENS

Southern California’s wildlife is as diverse as the terrain in which it can be found. From native grey squirrels, to the western scrub jay, to a vast network of oak trees, native plants and fungi— California’s mountains, valleys and chaparral provide habitats for many living things. Varied landscapes and the close proximity of green spaces to metropolitan cities have been attracting human residents to California for centuries. As urban development increases, native animal habits continue to shrink and the interaction between humans and wildlife becomes more profuse.

This past weekend, HWF visited the Descanso Garden’s Sturt Haaga Gallery,  to view an exhibition entitled “Growing Habitat: LA’s Wildlife & Descanso— an enchanting exhibit that explores the relationship between Los Angeles wildlife and the human residents that share their space.

The walls of the Sturt Haaga Gallery have been decorated with printed information and blown up images that describe the trees, birds, bugs, and larger mammals that are commonly found in LA’s woodlands. Running from now until August 19th, 2018, this interactive display offers visitors a chance to explore wildlife through photography, video, and a number of engaging activities.  Along a corner wall, visitors of all ages can examine tree bark, leaves, and acorns through the lenses of a microscope. The powerful magnification of the microscope transforms what appears to be a simple piece of bark into bevy of furrows and grey lichen that almost looks other worldly.

Lichen is a complex organism made up of fungi and algae that symbiotically grow together. In the wild, you can find gray, green, orange or yellow patches of lichen on trees and rocky surfaces.

Lichen growing on a rock in Colorado, CA. Photo Credit: Lola West


The exhibit, which is presented in partnership with The Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy (AFC), also features a giant floor map, nature journals and a video screening area where guests can view a short documentary that introduces a new method of capturing animal footage using sensor technology­. Highlights of the film include a candid close-up of a coyote that had no idea it was being photographed and a short clip of a mountain lion rubbing up against a rock to scratch an itch it could not reach.


Photo of Wilderness Journal at the Descanso Gardens

About Descanso Gardens

Founded as a public garden in 1953, Descanso Gardens markets itself as an urban retreat of year-round natural beauty, internationally renowned botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural displays— and we are in agreement!  On a late spring morning, one could catch the end of the camellias, a field full of Matilija poppies, brilliantly-colored cactus flowers, and a bountiful rose garden in full bloom. The garden itself is a buzz with life— from bees and lizards, to bugs and birds—this 400 acres of wild space delivers fun for the whole family.


Dinner Plate Cactus flower at Descanso Gardens


Showy Penstemon flower at Descanso Gardens

Whether you can make it to the exhibit or not, Descanso Gardens allows guests to explore the ways in which humans and nature co-exist, and we strongly recommend a visit!

Learn more about Decanso Gardens here!

Growing Habitat: LA’s Wildlife & Descanso -May 21 – August 19, 2018

Phone: +818-532-7341

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The Havasi Wilderness Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to heightening awareness and appreciation of the natural environment.

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5739 Kanan Rd. #206 Agoura Hills,
California 91301-2241 United States

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