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Natural History Museum Opens Portion of "Living Laboratory" on North Campus

NHM-northcampus.jpg
Aerial view of the Natural History Museum’s master plan. Rendering shows North Campus’ new outdoor exhibit areas, which start at sidewalk of surrounding streets. Rendering by CO Architects. Courtesy of Natural History Museum.
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What better spot than The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) for a space in the city devoted to our interactions with nature? Today the NHM opened up a portion of their 3.5-acre North Campus that will serve as an "urban nature experience" for kids and adults ready to learn a little more about the wonders of the natural world.The North Campus is the NHM's "living laboratory" project, and today people can begin to experience the Home Garden and the 1913 Garden. In the Home Garden, school groups and other visitors will learn how to grow their own gardens, while in the 1913 Garden, guests can interact with flowers and pollinators blooming year-round. The North Campus will be completed and opened in its entirety as part of the NHM’s centennial celebrations in June 2013.

It's going to be hard to skip out on the North Campus and its growing wonders, since it will serve as the main entrance to the NHM for the public. Bonus: The new Expo Line will have stops that provide easy access to the NHM for guests.

“This is a new kind of garden space, an urban ecological laboratory where people can learn and have a better understanding of nature within the city,” [consulting landscape architech Mia] Lehrer said, as detailed in a release issued by the NHM. “Nature is not just in our national parks, it is all around us. A better understanding of urban nature will foster an appreciation and stewardship of our natural world in the areas that we inhabit most."

Here's more about the scope of the North Campus project, courtesy the NHM:

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It is a “performative” landscape on all levels. The plants are carefully selected and planted to enhance and foster biodiversity, a relationship to fauna. The decomposed granite pathways are permeable, along with the seasonal stream—and there bioswales to catch onsite storm water. Reclaimed lumber from a fire-damaged County building was used for the construction of the Home Garden raised beds and benches; left over roof tiles were re-purposed as garden curbing. Outdoor lighting is minimal and when installed dark sky compliant to work with the cadence of night life. What once was an asphalt sea of parking has been transformed into living space extending the exhibit within the Museum to a living laboratory outside.

The North Campus has its own blog, so nature lovers and Museum visitors can keep up with the expanding spot's happenings (and critter sightings!). And check it out when you can!