The Nat is turning 150—though we don’t feel a day over 149. We’ve spent all those years protecting the wildlife and wild places that make this corner of the world so special, from the rocky cliffs of Torrey Pines in the 1800s to flat-tailed horned lizard habitat in the 2000s. But we haven’t done it alone: teamwork has always been the thing that makes the dream work. A new exhibit opening May 24 on the Museum’s fourth floor will bring these stories of collaboration to life and offer hope for the conservation challenges of today and tomorrow.
Hiking in dress coats. Crossing canyons in bell bottoms. Studying insects in skinny jeans. Historic photos and artifacts from our archives will bring you back—in some cases, way back. You’ll see how people throughout history have created positive change for nature, whether erecting signs to protect shorebirds, writing letters, or using science to drive decision making—because there’s more than one way to make a difference.
Our birthday wish? That you join us in taking action to protect wildlife and wild places, all for the love of nature. Visitors can add the actions they take to the interactive wall in our new exhibit, demonstrating how each one of us is an important piece of the puzzle. If you’re looking to get involved yourself, learn how you can join us here. It’s going to take all of us together to protect nature for the next 150 years and beyond.
Here are just a few of the stories that will be featured in Action from the Archives: The Nat at 150.
Sometimes preserving nature together means forming a human tripod. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, 1920s.
Naturalist and museum member Guy Fleming collects a barrel cactus. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, 1922.
Scientists reach for a plant that only grows on Guadalupe Island. (Our safety measures have since improved.)
Museum volunteer Samantha Barlin leads a nature walk. Florida Canyon, 2023.