2018 L.A. Nature Fest: An Educational Outlet for All
Ascending the marbled stairs is a line of people in the sun during the Los Angeles Natural History Museum's Nature Fest on St. Patrick's day. As patrons enter the historical building, they are greeted by dinosaurs and delightful staff. Children run wild throughout the theme park for little thinkers.
Towards the back of the building are the nature gardens, where the LA Nature Fest’s heart beats with the excitement of the families and passersby who took in the experience last Saturday, March 17.
The tents line the pathway where patrons wander through, much like a farmers market; however, this event is anything but. Every vendor has interactive activities, touch pools, and educational aspects that entertain and inspire the kids and adults who attend.
Amongst the tents is the Chaparral Mountain Honey Company, with their box of bees and many jars of honey. The little ones swarm around to see what the life of a bee is like, as the owner answers question after question. Down the way are sustainable artists selling items such as fancy platters, leaf-printed kitchen towels, and small pendants.
One of the hottest attractions is the Nature of Wildworks Organization tent. The volunteers brought a variety of animals ranging from garden snakes, to white ferrets, to a giant rabbit.
“We do educational programs for children and parties, just about anyone who wants to have a show,” says Alexis Kahn, volunteer for the 25 year old non-profit organization.
The organization brings their confiscated animals to events all over the Los Angeles county, allowing youngsters and adults to learn about these rare and illegal animals.
“We have about 60 animals on the property. Birds of prey, big cats, all sorts of things. Most of the animals, excluding him,” Kahn said as she strokes the giant orange rabbit, “most of the animals that we have were previously owned by people and confiscated because a lot of these animals you can't have as pets, it's illegal.”
Events such as the LA Nature Fest are aimed not only towards children, but at adults and seniors too. The interactive tents all share one common theme - environmental education.
“It brings people together in a fun way, and we're trying to reach out to little ones, because they are our future,” says Adrien Duarte, greeter for the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Duarte has been working for the museum for six years. “If we educate the little ones, it will just keep going along. And it's a good vibe in here. We have a lot of art, history, and its good to know history, because it won't repeat itself as we keep improving as people.”
Many residents assume there isn't much wildlife in urban areas like Los Angeles other than those that are easily seen or heard. The nature fest aimed to debunk the myths. The La Troca Truck, run by the National Park Service, discussed the trends of wildlife within the L.A. area. Gavin Todd, an intern for the National Park Service, said there are “coyotes that are living in the heart of Los Angeles.” Over time they have come down from the mountains in search for food and water, as they lived in this area before the land was developed.
“We also have our park biologists who study specifically mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains,” said Todd as he directs to a diagram of mountain lion GPS tracking points, many of which are condensed into the greater Los Angeles area. Once again, this information came along with an interactive game for all ages to understand the mountain lion situation.
This year's L.A. Nature Fest brought together members of the community to a safe place filled with art, history, and the outdoors. Those who attended left the event with knowledge on the creatures that have adapted to living in the city and how to live alongside them.