Nonprofit

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The mission of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds.

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3 Submitted Ideas

  • LEARN ·2021 Grants Challenge

    Opening New Doors to Nature and Culture

    Every day, the Natural History Museum connects eager learners to one of the most significant natural history collections in the world, sparking meaningful, lifelong relationships with science, nature, and culture. Our free field trips, Adventures in Nature camps, and other hands-on programs--both in person and virtually--resonate deeply because they engage youth directly in the work of real scientists. Access to programs like these plays a huge role in igniting student curiosity about science and the pursuit of future careers in STEM fields.

  • PLAY ·2019 Grants Challenge

    Community Science Connects Angelenos to the Nature In Their Neighborhoods

    NHM works with underserved communities to reimagine their environments as vibrant spaces for play through inspiring programs that encourage everyone to explore the nature right outside their doors. Not only are these experiences empowering to the people participating, but when shared with NHM’s researchers, their observations become data points in studies that inform public policy about sustainable land use and turn everyday Angelenos into advocates for the green spaces in their communities.

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    NHM Urban Safari

    NHM will engage the residents of Los Angeles in an extensive program to discover and document the urban wildlife of the L. A. Basin – our local biodiversity. The environmental challenges facing Los Angeles demand innovative solutions that take into account the complex relationship between us and local plants and wildlife – the relationships that form our rich and diverse urban ecosystem. Los Angeles is actually an extremely biodiverse city. Neither scientists nor the public understand the full breadth of that biodiversity. If we, as a city, can understand the scope of the natural world that surrounds us, we will have an essential part of the toolkit to develop our city thoughtfully. Los Angeles is in the heart of North America’s only biodiversity hotspot (the California Floristic Province). More than 10 million people live here, along with more species of birds than are found in any other county in the U.S. However, our knowledge of the identities and distributions of smaller species that live here is astonishingly poor. While we know that there are many native, non-native and invasive species here, there has never been a comprehensive survey of urban biodiversity in L.A. – or any other major metropolis in the world. Why is urban biodiversity important? Biodiversity is the sum of all biological diversity living, from ecosystems to genes, representing the ultimate “survival manual,” documenting unbroken lines of evolutionary success from the origin of life on our planet through all previous mass extinctions. To understand how to manage these ecosystems, we need to know who is here so that we can decide together which species to encourage, which to discourage, and how to do so. As the world’s population becomes more urbanized, our discoveries in Los Angeles can benefit the entire planet. NHM’s public research projects will empower Angelenos to influence the future of our landscapes, plants and wildlife. We are using the evolving model of do-it-yourself science – generally known as citizen science – to engage the eyes, ears and cameras of Angelenos in the mapping and stewardship of L.A’s wildlife, the kind that lives all around us but we seldom notice. Angelenos of all ages contribute to this scientific inventory through a variety of mechanisms, from submitting photos to hosting sampling sites in their backyards. Together, our scientists and the public will work together to build place-based strategies for biodiversity conservation that are timely, rooted in local culture and cutting-edge. NHM has been leading individual citizen science projects for decades. In 1994 we launched the California Parrot Project which tracked feral parrot populations in Southern California. Since then NHM has initiated the LA spider and butterfly surveys, and a ladybug census for the city. We are greatly expanding our urban biodiversity programs to include a region-wide biodiversity map, a number of specific studies, and a three-year scientific sampling survey of insects and other invertebrates called BioSCAN. NHM is preparing to build on its extensive previous investment in citizen science projects and scale up with a wide-ranging public information and education campaign that will spur Los Angeles residents to even greater involvement with our urban ecosystems. Our newest initiative, ZomBee Watch, calls on volunteers to help NHM scientists monitor how parasitic flies lay their eggs in honeybees, causing them to abandon their hives, like zombies, in aimless night flights before dying. Understanding this phenomenon could help explain Colony Collapse Disorder (a syndrome in which worker bees quit their hives) that is threatening the world’s bee population and the future of our food supply. BioSCAN will create a transect survey of the insect populations of Los Angeles. Insects are the largest animal component of biological diversity. They are critical to our economic system. Sampling sites include sites from the urban core into the wild hills, from backyards, parks and schoolyards to industrial sites. Microclimate stations will measure variables like temperature and moisture, data which will be useful to make comparisons about how everyday things like porch lights impact our local wildlife. We fully expect to discover and describe hundreds of species during the course of this study – right here in Los Angeles. To conduct and facilitate this work we have built a dedicated team of scientists and educators. We are now building an innovative new website called Nature at NHM. Nature at NHM will provide up-to-the-minute results and information about biodiversity in Los Angeles, connect Angelenos with projects they can participate in, and invite submissions to our BioMap that will provide a long-term view of the flora and fauna of this city as experienced by its residents. This science is critical to our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world, and the spaces we have built to study it are unprecedented.