Understanding Nature takes a bit of research and reading…“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” -Frank Lloyd Wright-
This bibliography is compiled with a naturalist’s point of view in mind. Recommendations are always welcome in the comments section. Please share titles of nature-related books that are helpful or meaningful for you. It would be great to have a short description and why you like the book.
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
An education specialist at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, recommended this book.
It is one of the best bird identification books I’ve ever used. The guide is well-organized, comprehensive, and features over 810 species.
This book and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology app-“Merlin Bird Id“ provide great resources for bird identification and background.
Eco-region Specific Guides- Pacific Northwest Coastal
The Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest (revised edition)
The ecology of beaches has fascinated me for many decades. Over the years, I’ve owned a number of guidebooks to assist with the identification of life found along the shoreline in the intertidal pools. This concise guide has been one of the best I’ve found so far.
Scientifically accurate, it assists with a brief reviews for understanding tides, intertidal habitats, harvesting shellfish, protection marine resources, observing intertidal life, and getting the most out of the guidebook itself.
I have an affinity for guidebooks that are well-organized and color-coded. This book is great on both accounts. One can readily locate information about Seshore-
Animals: Sponges,Hydroids, Jellies, Anemonies, Marine Worms, Molluscs and Brachiopods, Arthropods, Moss Animals, Spiny-skinned Animals, Tunicates,Fishes
Plants: Seaweeds (Green, Brown, Red Algae), Flowering Plants
Lichen: Seashore lichens
Inspired by Nature- Thoughtful Reads
A Sand County Almanac“First Published in 1949, Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac is now an established environmental classic. Beginning with a beautifully written description of the seasonal changes in nature and their effect on the delicate ecological balance, the good proceeds to examples of man’s destructive interferon and concludes with a plea for a Wilderness ethic that is even more urgent and timely today than ever before.” (Preface from1966 edition)
This book was recommended by fellow blogger and nature enthusiast from Minnesota, Judy at Crooked Tracks .
Last Child in the Woods
Attention children from Newborn to Ninety-nine (and older)! A copy of this book should be on your library shelf and referred to as needed!
The children and the children-at-heart in the 21st Century face challenges that threaten to remove understanding of, connection with, and need for NATURE.
Out connections with social media, and abilities to be deeply plugged into electronic diversions could spell disaster for healthy physical and emotional development. The fact is: people, and especially children, need healthy doses of real-world experiences that immerse body, soul, and heart into encounters with nature.
Richard Louv coined the phrase,”nature deficit disorder” to describe the effects absence of nature has on children’s development and ability to function successfully in school and later in life. The book is a gold mine for ideas to combat this condition. Included in the text are practical actions that can be taken to “get outside.”
As a parent, grandmother, teacher, and naturalist… I believe this is especially a must-read for parents.
Light-hearted and serious… at the same time. This book is a collection of essays written to spark a passion for nature’s wonders, and, at the same time, provide a delightful application of the science behind whichever nature topic William Dietrich selects.
This anthology is like a natural history version of a fairy-tale book. Best thing is, the characters and settings are real. All from the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy learning about such things as: jellyfish, dirt, stream life, geology, tides, geoducks, killer whales… and much, much more.
This nature book is sure to please.
Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast (revised) Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Alaska
This is a must have book for any one who strives to identify native plants in the Pacific Northwest Coast ecoregion. My copy is not yet showing the extent to which it has already been used. I think the book was purposely made of fairly rugged construction because the authors and publisher knew that owners of this field guide would be referring to it often. I wish I had taken a shot of the copy owned by a member of my Oregon Master Naturalist cadre… his book is a well-loved edition that has seen many a trail, and even more plants.
The format of this book is perfectly organized for ease in locating plant species with color-coded divisions for: Trees, Shrubs, Wildflowers, Aquatics Oddballs, Graminoids (Grasses, Sedges, Rushes), Ferns & Allies, Mosses & Liverworts, Lichens.
The photos, graphics, and maps are very helpful. As are the informative details about the general appearance, leaves, flowers, fruit, and ecology.
But wait… that ‘s not all, the authors also include notes that relate interesting aboriginal and local uses as well as tidbits about the plant’s unique characteristics and origins of names.
Wetland Plants of Oregon & Washington
I live on a wetland in Oregon and find this plant identification book to be very helpful. It is organized for ease in locating plant species with color-coded divisions for plant communities that thrive in wetland ecosystems: Submerged & Floating, Marshy Shore, Wetland Prairie, Shrub Swamp, Wooded Wetland.
The photos are very clear and helpful, as are the informative details about the growth habits, leaves, flowers, fruits, habitat, natural history, and similar species references.
This guide is often used in conjunction with Pojar & MacKinnon- Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast (revised)
Writing about Nature-
Interpretive writing is a new genre to me. The book assisted me in understanding the nuances necessary for writing with an interpretive voice.
Alan Leftridge explains the strategies promoted by the National Association for Interpretation and the National Park Service for written interpretation, with a focus on developing tangibles, intangibles, universals, and interpretive themes in writing, while avoiding trite expressions.
This manual is concise and very easy to follow. As a former writing coach in my school district, I appreciate this book’s condensed attention to: conventions, writing process, and the elements of quality writing.