Natural History Museum Nature Gardens: Connecting Visitors to Urban Nature

Join us on Saturday, March 2, 2024, when we host highly-regarded writer and native plant specialist Carol Bornstein who will talk about the Los Angeles Natural History Museum (NHM) Nature Gardens.  The talk follows our Friday, March 1, visit to the NHM.  Carol will be speaking via Zoom and in person at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes as part of the CNPS Chapter Council meeting. Look for a separate signup process to attend in person.  Zoom information is provided below.

The vibrant Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County opened to the public in 2013 after several years of planning, design, demolition, and planting. Asphalt parking lots and tired, water-thirsty lawns were transformed into 3.5 acres of habitat for urban wildlife, providing a place for visitors to experience nature in an urban setting and to assist museum scientists in documenting the rich biodiversity found in the Los Angeles Basin. Carol Bornstein, the gardens’ former director, will illustrate this impressive renovation, some of the many plants and animals that comprise this dynamic ecosystem, and describe the various education and research programs happening in this dynamic setting.

Carol Bornstein is one of Southern California’s most highly respected native plant specialists. Throughout her career, she has championed the landscape value of California’s native plants and the benefits of designing gardens in harmony with nature. She co-authored two books, the national award-winning California Native Plants for the Garden and Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs. As the former Director of the Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Carol oversaw the long-term care and development of this 3.5-acre habitat for urban wildlife as well as the Pleistocene Garden at the La Brea Tar Pits. For nearly 30 years, she was horticulturist at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, where she managed the living collections, retail nursery, and plant introduction programs.

Carol is responsible for discovering and introducing a number of popular native plant cultivars, including Verbena lilacina ‘De La Mina’, Corethrogyne filaginifolia ‘Silver Carpet’, and Salvia ‘Pacific Blue’. She continues to advocate for sustainable, regionally appropriate landscaping and to share her knowledge of plants native to California and other mediterranean and dry-climate regions through her teaching, consulting, writing, and garden design work.

Join us by Zoom – information to be provided later, since it may differ due to the needs of the Chapter Council meeting.


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