A Message From Our President

Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga
NHMLAC President and Director

lori bettison-varga in nature gardens

Dear Members,

We miss you!! I hope you and your family are safe, healthy and well. 

We are so excited to send you this, the first issue of the digital Naturalist, as we look to connect you with the innovative and inspiring work that our scientific and cultural researchers, educators and performing artists have undertaken during this challenging time. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts and suggestions (a survey will follow shortly) about this new digital format as the Naturalist is one of the exclusive benefits available to you through your NHMLAC membership. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close the doors of our indoor museums more than seven months ago, we quickly pivoted to face the severe financial and human challenges brought about by the pandemic, the national response to George Floyd’s death, and the resulting economic fallout. We moved decisively to launch digital programming to serve members, students, teachers, the general public and the scientific community during the shutdown and ongoing health crisis. At the same time, our scientists have continued their important research and successfully secured an unprecedented number of National Science Foundation grants.

With a particular focus on supporting families and teachers, we increased the number of teacher and student learning opportunities by transforming our science and history-based curricula into digital assets and resources that could be used throughout the school year. We are offering additional workshops due to an overwhelming response  and built a pilot program to create a comprehensive suite of “virtual classroom” tools that have the potential to serve all 735,000 students in the L.A. Unified School District.

I have been inspired and delighted to welcome back our members, community partners and the general public to NHM’s outdoor Nature Gardens, Butterfly Pavilion and Spider Pavilion—tickets have sold out with reduced capacity and health and safety protocols in place for our staff and guests. 

As Members, your dedication and continued support allows us to truly be museums of, for, and with Los Angeles. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to NHMLAC through your membership support. 

NHMLAC President and Director Lori Bettison-Varga signature smallest