cover image Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles

Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature In and Around Los Angeles

Lila M. Higgins and Gregory B. Pauly, with Jason G. Goldman and Charles Hood. Timber, $24.95 trade paper (332p) ISBN 978-1-60469710-0

In introducing readers to the wild side of Los Angeles, this remarkable field guide from Higgins, who oversees the community science program at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, and Pauly, the museum’s assistant curator of herpetology, reveals a surprisingly biodiverse urban landscape. The book’s first part discusses the natural history of the greater L.A. area and the forces that shaped its geography and fantastic variety of flora and fauna. The second part surveys 101 different species, with intriguing notes about each—for instance, that monarch butterflies, known for migrating to Mexico when temperatures drop, stay in L.A. even during colder months, since “winters are mild and food is available year round.” The book’s third section outlines 25 field trips, ranging from multiday opportunities in the Angeles National Forest to more relaxing bird-watching or kayaking forays along the surprisingly vibrant Los Angeles River or in local public parks. 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 and surrounding area. (Mar.)