I propose to move well beyond my training in literary scholarship to explore different ways of understanding nature. The focus of the project will be the Los Angeles River, which provides a stunning example of the tension between nature and culture. Work to be undertaken will emphasize 1) learning firsthand about the unique nature of the Los Angeles River, 2) developing skills of observation, including photographic techniques and field notes, and 3) pursuing the most effective ways of communicating with general readers about nature and our place in it. Having developed a background on the history and literature of the Los Angeles River, I propose to study the river itself in its different forms. By studying with experts and observing the river in January, during the storm season, when the channel is often full of water, and in August, when flow is at its lowest, I hope to gather information on and images of its diverse nature as well as the assorted areas surrounding the river. In addition, I envision consulting with successful writers and photographers about the efforts to represent the river and the many issues surrounding it. Exploring the L.A. River and its tributaries on foot, by bike, by kayak, and by car, I aim to build a catalogue of materials to be shaped into a pictorial essay on the nature of the Los Angeles River designed for a general audience.