With its complex geography and mild climate, California in general and Southern California in particular ranks as one of the 25 most important biodiversity and conservation hotspots on the planet. Nestled against the second largest urban area in the United States, the Santa Monica Mountains constitute a key component of this biological richness.
The Santa Monica Mountains is also a region with one of the highest concentrations of rare, threatened, and endangered species in the United States. It is comprised of 26 distinct natural communities with over 1,000 species of plants, 45 mammals, 400 birds, and 35 species of reptiles and amphibians. At least 50 of those species are threatened or endangered with extinction.
The most important goal of the La Kretz League is to work as a team to help protect, conserve, and preserve the precious biological resources that exist in California, with a local focus on the Santa Monica Mountains.
To achieve this we seek to engage the greater Los Angeles community in organized citizen science projects to enhance public understanding of science in action and to work as a group to achieve important conservation goals. We complement these citizen science efforts by funding undergraduate, graduate student, and postdoctoral research that seeks to conserve California’s biodiversity and that increases outreach and education to the public.
As a League Member, you can collaboratively explore the unique ecosystems of the Santa Monica Mountains, watch and learn how researchers conduct field and laboratory research, and interact with scientists doing on-the-ground research that is relevant to protecting and preserving local habitats and species. Our commitment to building relationships with individuals and local organizations, coupled with scientific research from citizens and local researchers will help to maintain this unique biodiversity hotspot. Through these efforts local residents and the 33 million annual visitors of the Santa Monica Mountains can continue to enjoy its splendor and benefit from its services.
Join La Kretz Center Postdoctoral Fellow Elizabeth Long for a butterfly walk at one of her study sites in the Santa Monica Mountains. Elizabeth's research seeks to understand how these important pollinators of our native plants and backyard gardens are distributed in the Los Angeles area, and how they are thriving locally. We'll spend about an hour walking, talking, looking, and photographing, while we also contribute to her documentation of butterfly species diversity during the height of their spring abundance. Binoculars may be helpful but aren't essential.
No prior butterflying experience necessary!