The Start of Something New: Black Girls Nature Journal by Michelle

There is nature in LA. Don’t let the closely-spaced buildings and concrete sidewalks fool you. And I’m not just talking Runyon Canyon and beaches in Malibu. I’m talking about everyday, on your block and down the street, kinda nature. Squirrels, and birds, and bugs, and trees, and all of the other things you might have gone blind to because they’re everywhere. The raccoons, bees, and pigeons that also call Los Angeles home don’t exactly seem like top contenders in nature’s beauty pageant but, with a closer look, you might find that they could win points in the talent category. What I’m saying is, the nature that lives in LA is more interesting than you think.

We don’t always take the time to stop and talk about the plants and animals that live in our city. Probably because we’ve learned to somewhat peacefully share a living space with our non-human roommates, despite it being a situation akin to sharing an overcrowded apartment. (Just in case you’re wondering, in this analogy we’re the annoying roommate who won’t ever clean up after themselves and nature is the roommate who’s generally cool but sometimes does things that annoy you and you’re not sure if it’s an accident or they’re being super passive aggressive).

One day, in an attempt to start the conversation about nature at my job, we asked people from all over LA to write down their nature stories and put them on a map. We heard hundreds of stories:

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It was awesome to see the map slowly fill up and see shared experiences all over the city. Which probably shouldn’t have been surprising to me. But honestly, when it takes over an hour to get somewhere because of traffic, that place might as well be on the other side of the world. Anyway, I was excited by the diversity of locations on the map. Except, at the end of the day there were still some huge gaps. Like this one:

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I’m convinced that these places have just as much nature as everywhere else–we just didn’t hear their stories. So, I hope you’re ready to talk, because I’m ready to listen.

Here’s the plan: I’ll share stories about nature that I hope will inspire you to see the world a little differently and take a closer look. Then, if you happen to see something new to you, something you’re kinda curious about, or just something you didn’t care about before but now you’re taking a second look, let me know! No observation is too mundane or simple. I’ll do my best to figure out what it is, what makes it interesting and I’ll share it with everyone.

Together we’re gonna fill in that map by finally knocking on our roommate’s door and saying, “So I know it’s been a minute since we talked, but what’s new with you?”.

Want to know what I’m finding in LA between posts? Follow me on Instagram @blackgirlstrekkin or @michelledoubleelle and let me know what you’re finding with #bgtnaturejournal

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