This is the real heart of the place – where nature is appreciated for itself. For how wonderful and wholesome it is. For how well it has grown to be itself and nothing else.
A Useful App…
Have you ever come across a plant in the wild that you couldn’t identify? An app called iNaturalist may be the easiest way to put a name to a leaf. Join me in a walkthrough of making an observation as I try to identify a strange plant on the coast.
The wide world is pretty… wide. Nature is full of life, to a degree that we probably don’t even realize. There’s so much out there that’s hard to make heads or tails of anything. I write these guides to try and understand particular parts of the natural world. I hope they can help other curious nature lovers as well!
Only time will tell what the final effects of the COVID shutdowns are on the environment. During the height of the lockdown, air quality improved almost immediately. NO2 and CO2 (from fossil fuels) both decreased. This effect was noticed most heavily in major cities, though arguably the whole world benefitted. Fine particulate matter, PM2.5, similarly dropped.
Plants are natural air purifiers. We put out a heck of a lot of carbon, and all plants will help reduce that to some degree. The only issue is that carbon isn’t the only thing we’re putting into the atmosphere. Our atmosphere indoors, where we’re spending so much time, is incredibly important. We put out a few other notable bad chemicals in the course of daily living – ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. Check here for some plants that can clean your air!
Little moments from when I’ve really appreciated nature in the outside world.
In reality, I appreciate nature constantly. I have plants inside the apartment, and on the balcony. There’s plants I keep track of on the walk to the car, and then a pair of shrubs just outside work. I have a small garden at work, which recently got some new full-spectrum LEDs to help them thrive. I try to keep nature around me as close as I can while living in the city… and I’m known to leave the city frequently to go enjoy the nature out there. What I’m trying to say here is – you can always find some nature to appreciate. Wherever you are, and anywhere along the path. These articles are ones where I’ve focused on appreciating nature for what it’s capable of, or what mystery it recently uncovered.
Say hello to the strange plants that encourage my natural journey.
Vasquez Rocks Park had some rain recently, and nature went wild. From blooms to berries, this is a look at two plants named after the state that responded nicely. (California Juniper, California Cholla)
Cholla cacti have wood skeletons. After they die and the water evaporates, after the skin falls off and the desert critters move in – they leave behind some wood. I never connected the plants as alive to how they were when dead.
The Beavertail Prickly-Pear Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) is a mainstay in Joshua Tree and much of the rest of the Mojave. Learn about it here!
The City Nature Challenge is over! I can’t wait until next year, to check up on how these plants are doing. And to add a few more to my collection. Congratulations to everyone who took part! I’m always so happy when a big number of people turn out for nature.
Adventures in the Wild
The outside world has more life and wonder in it than we could ever recreate indoors. I guess that’s why recreation grew so much once we got stuck inside! Follow along on some of my adventures in the outside world – at least the ones I decide to bring a camera for. Usually you’ll catch me hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, climbing in Vasquez Rocks, or just heading down the cliffs on the southwest of LA. Nature’s delightful everywhere.
One of the most astounding road trips I’ve ever taken. I won’t go much into the personal details, except that my wonderful wife makes the most perfect travel companion. We went together on every leg of the trip, down every path and through every wonderful snack.
Mustard is wonderful condiment, and simple enough to make at home. I tried making some out of mustard flowers, but the entire plant is edible. Read here to find out how easy it is!
If you’ve been watching the San Gabriel Mountains north of LA, you’ve seen the snow. I wanted to see the snow up close, and not just through a few dozen miles of pollution. The environment changes completely at 5000 feet altitude, only a few miles off the 210. Find out about the Icehouse Canyon Trail and plan out a trip while there’s still snow!
I recently headed over to Joshua Tree, hoping to catch some stars or some snow. Neither of my hopes came true. The sky stayed overcast the whole evening, and the ground dry. And it was perfect and still and I loved every minute.
Had a wonderful day at South Coast Botanic Garden in some heavy rain. The leaves looked amazing! And the plants are holding up better than I did in the cold.
I don’t know how long the weather and the traffic will be clear, so now’s the moment. Take a chance to enjoy the desert while everything’s blooming!
Nature Appreciation on Earth
Nowadays, there’s people from all across the earth that have learned to appreciate nature. I’d say it’s about as common to meet someone that has cut down a tree as one that has tried growing one – at least around these parts. Here’s some people that appreciate nature, each in their own way:
Association of Nature and Forest Therapists (ANFT) – This is likely one of the biggest names in Forest Bathing and general Forest Therapy.
Every year, we celebrate Earth Day on April 22. This is a day for the earth: for cleaning, remembering, and planning to ensure a positive future for nature. During past Earth Days, events such as river cleanings and the clearing of invasive species has often taken the mainstage in drawing communities together. This year, the holiday is going digital.
Desertification and Drought Day is an effort to remind people that what we buy and consume comes mostly from the earth.