Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Exploring the Madrona Marsh

The Madrona Marsh during the Dry Season of early Autumn on a dismal gray day.

The urban sprawl of Los Angeles hides many strange and hidden features. One of the most peculiar is the suburban wetlands of the South Bay, the Madrona Marsh. Yeah, just a couple miles from the stereotypical SoCal beaches is this primordial marshland, hidden between a shopping center and residential neighborhoods.

I'm a flower and plant enthusiast. So, I love heading over to take photos or botanical sketches. But I don't often head into the marsh proper. It isn't very big, but, when your inside of it, it feels as though you've entered a "transitional" space, a liminal area that doesn't quite synch up with the typical vibe of suburban LA life. But I'm not an "outdoors" type of person. I normally stay close to the Nature Center.

Nevertheless, it is a wonderful place to visit. The plant life is gorgeous in its wild state, certain to please the flora fanatics. Likewise, birdwatchers can spot many a fine avian subject throughout the year. Bug hunters can also find a myriad selection of diverse species. In short, if you have an interest in ecology, then you ought to visit the Madrona Marsh.

The Madrona Marsh on a sunny day.

If you're interested in experiencing the wetlands but have no knowledge of what to expect or appreciate, then check out the Nature Center adjacent to the marsh.

It's right next to the parking lot and filled with information to help you get the most out of your visit. It has information displays containing pictures and essays, live specimen, carved or preserved models, a small research library, and even a gift shop. Additionally, the Nature Center offers lectures, events, and tours. It's a really cool place.

Here are some photos.

Madrona Marsh Nature Center

An information kiosk with a preserved specimen display behind it

Live specimen: Scooby, the Gopher Snake

Carved wood model of a Peregrine Falcon by Vern Hesketh

The Nature Center has a small botanic garden that surrounds it.

These photos have been taken recently, well into the Dry Season. Here's a vid showing how the Madrona Marsh looks during the Wet Season.


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