Brenton Cooper (He/Him) is a budding Naturalist with a background in Photography. While he originally studied and went to school to learn the art of Cinematography, he shortly after realized the world of film production was not very sustainable and did not fit his lifestyle.
During the pandemic, he rediscovered his love for the outdoors and turned back to hiking as a weekly ritual to maintain his sanity. He began using his photography skills to document all the flora and fauna in Los Angeles and gained knowledge of what those organisms were by using iNaturalist, a citizen-science website, and app dedicated to mapping the earth’s biosphere. Using this app, as well as many other books on native plants, and also by joining the Santa Monica Mountains chapter of the California Native Plant Society, he has continued to gain invaluable knowledge of the plants of the California Floristic Province. He is fascinated by the intersection of technology, such as machine learning, and science because it is making plant, bug, and bird identification so much easier for the younger generation, who is already used to these devices. iNaturalist, as well as Merlin/eBird, are invaluable assets to a naturalist’s arsenal of tools to help identify whatever they encounter. Books still come in handy, though, when you’re out of service range!
Brenton is currently taking a certificate course in California Ecology online with UC Santa Cruz to continue his education and hopes to one day be a field botanist, identifying rare plants in the wild.