Edward H. Burtt Jr. Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress QL31.W7B87 2013 | Dewey Decimal 598.092
On the bicentennial of his death, this beautifully illustrated volume pays tribute to the Scot who became the father of American ornithology. Alexander Wilson made unique contributions to ecology and animal behavior. His drawings of birds in realistic poses in their natural habitat inspired Audubon, Spencer Fullerton Baird, and other naturalists.
There’s nothing quite like a relationship with an aged pet—a dog or cat who has been at our side for years, forming an ineffable bond. Pampered pets, however, are a rarity among animals who have been domesticated. Farm animals, for example, are usually slaughtered before their first birthday. We never stop to think about it, but the typical images we see of cows, chickens, pigs, and the like are of young animals. What would we see if they were allowed to grow old?
Isa Leshko shows us, brilliantly, with this collection of portraits. To create these portraits, she spent hours with her subjects, gaining their trust and putting them at ease. The resulting images reveal the unique personality of each animal. It’s impossible to look away from the animals in these images as they unforgettably meet our gaze, simultaneously calm and challenging. In these photographs we see the cumulative effects of the hardships of industrialized farm life, but also the healing that time can bring, and the dignity that can emerge when farm animals are allowed to age on their own terms.
Each portrait is accompanied by a brief biographical note about its subject, and the book is rounded out with essays that explore the history of animal photography, the place of beauty in activist art, and much more. Open this book to any page. Meet Teresa, a thirteen-year-old Yorkshire Pig, or Melvin, an eleven-year-old Angora Goat, or Tom, a seven-year-old Broad Breasted White Turkey. You’ll never forget them.
Among Giants: A Life with Whales
Charles "Flip" Nicklin with K. M. Kostyal University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress QL737.C4N475 2011 | Dewey Decimal 599.5
It all started in 1965 with a guy riding a whale. The guy was Flip Nicklin’s father, Chuck, and the whale was an unlucky Bryde’s Whale that had gotten caught up in some anchor line. Hoping to free the whale, Chuck and some friends took their boat as near as they could, and, just before they cut it loose, Chuck posed astride it for a photo.
That image, carried on wire services nationwide, became a sensation and ultimately changed the life of Chuck’s young son, Flip. In the decades since that day, Flip Nicklin has made himself into the world’s premier cetacean photographer. It’s no exaggeration to say that his photos, published in such venues as National Geographic and distributed worldwide, have virtually defined these graceful, powerful creatures in the mind of the general public—even as they helped open new ground in the field of marine mammalogy.
Among Giants tells the story of Nicklin’s life and career on the high seas, from his first ill-equipped shoots in the mid-1970s through his long association with the National Geographic Society to the present, when he is one of the founders of Whale Trust, a nonprofit conservation and research group. Nicklin is equal parts photographer, adventurer, self-trained scientist, and raconteur, and Among Giants reflects all those sides, matching breathtaking images to firsthand accounts of their making, and highlighting throughout the importance of conservation and new advances in our understanding of whale behavior. With Nicklin as our guide, we see not just whales but also our slowly growing understanding of their hidden lives, as well as the evolution of underwater photography—and the stunning clarity and drama that can be captured when a determined, daring diver is behind the lens.
Humpbacks, narwhals, sperm whales, orcas—these and countless other giants of the ocean parade through these pages, spouting, breaching, singing, and raising their young. Nicklin’s photographs bring us so completely into the underwater world of whales that we can’t help but feel awe, while winning, personal accounts of his adventures remind us of what it’s like to be a lone diver sharing their sea.
For anyone who has marveled at the majesty of whales in the wild, Among Giants is guaranteed to be inspiring, even moving—its unmatched images of these glorious beings an inescapable reminder of our responsibility as stewards of the ocean.
An Arkansas Florilegium is a late-flowering extension of the work initiated sixty years ago with University of Arkansas botanist Edwin B. Smith’s first entries in his pioneering Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas. Soon after this seminal survey of the state’s flora was published in 1978, Kent Bonar, a Missouri-born Thoreau acolyte employed as a naturalist by the Arkansas Park Service, began lugging the volume along on hikes through the woods surrounding his Newton County home, entering hundreds upon hundreds of meticulous illustrations into Smith’s work.
Thirty-five years later, with Smith retired and Bonar long gone from the park service but still drawing, Bonar’s weathered and battered copy of the atlas was seized by a diverse cadre of amateur admirers motivated by fears of its damage or loss. Their fears were certainly justified; after all, the pages were now jammed to the margins with some 3,500 drawings, and the volume had already survived one accidental dunking in an Ozark stream.
An Arkansas Florilegium brings Smith’s and Bonar’s knowledge and lifelong diligence to the world in this unique mix of art, science, and Arkansas saga.
Tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds weighing less than a nickel fly from the upper Midwest to Costa Rica every fall, crossing the six-hundred-mile Gulf of Mexico without a single stop. One of the many creatures that commute on the Mississippi Flyway as part of an annual migration, they pass along Chicago’s lakefront and through midwestern backyards on a path used by their species for millennia. This magnificent migrational dance takes place every year in Chicagoland, yet it is often missed by the region’s two-legged residents. The Art of Migration uncovers these extraordinary patterns that play out over the seasons. Readers are introduced to over two hundred of the birds and insects that traverse regions from the edge of Lake Superior to Lake Michigan and to the rivers that flow into the Mississippi.
As the only artist in residence at the Field Museum, Peggy Macnamara has a unique vantage point for studying these patterns and capturing their distinctive traits. Her magnificent watercolor illustrations capture flocks, movement, and species-specific details. The illustrations are accompanied by text from museum staff and include details such as natural histories, notable features for identification, behavior, and how species have adapted to environmental changes. The book follows a gentle seasonal sequence and includes chapters on studying migration, artist’s notes on illustrating wildlife, and tips on the best ways to watch for birds and insects in the Chicago area.
A perfect balance of science and art, The Art of Migration will prompt us to marvel anew at the remarkable spectacle going on around us.
The human history of depicting birds dates to as many as 40,000 years ago, when Paleolithic artists took to cave walls to capture winged and other beasts. But the art form has reached its peak in the last four hundred years. In The Art of the Bird, devout birder and ornithologist Roger J. Lederer celebrates this heyday of avian illustration in forty artists’ profiles, beginning with the work of Flemish painter Frans Snyders in the early 1600s and continuing through to contemporary artists like Elizabeth Butterworth, famed for her portraits of macaws. Stretching its wings across time, taxa, geography, and artistic style—from the celebrated realism of American conservation icon John James Audubon, to Elizabeth Gould’s nineteenth-century renderings of museum specimens from the Himalayas, to Swedish artist and ornithologist Lars Jonsson’s ethereal watercolors—this book is feathered with art and artists as diverse and beautiful as their subjects. A soaring exploration of our fascination with the avian form, The Art of the Bird is a testament to the ways in which the intense observation inherent in both art and science reveals the mysteries of the natural world.
In Blaze Orange, photographer Travis Dewitz captures the joy, excitement, and camaraderie of deer hunting in Wisconsin. A lone hunter in a tree stand as dawn arrives. A girl and her grandfather scanning a field in the fresh snow. Tired hunters laughing around the evening fire back at camp. These are snapshots of a culture touchstone. With more than 600,000 hunters taking to the fields and woods of the state each year, the whitetail deer season is by far Wisconsin’s largest sporting event. Dewitz documents the hunt and more as he rides along with hunters and a game warden, visits local mom-and-pop stores where hunters gather, and records the industries that operate alongside the deer season—a taxidermist and knife maker, butchers and sausage makers. The result is a stunning and keen-eyed chronicle of one season of the Wisconsin deer hunt.
From medieval bestiaries to Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings, we’ve long been enchanted by extraordinary animals, be they terrifying three-headed dogs or asps impervious to a snake charmer’s song. But bestiaries are more than just zany zoology—they are artful attempts to convey broader beliefs about human beings and the natural order. Today, we no longer fear sea monsters or banshees. But from the infamous honey badger to the giant squid, animals continue to captivate us with the things they can do and the things they cannot, what we know about them and what we don’t.
With The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, Caspar Henderson offers readers a fascinating, beautifully produced modern-day menagerie. But whereas medieval bestiaries were often based on folklore and myth, the creatures that abound in Henderson’s book—from the axolotl to the zebrafish—are, with one exception, very much with us, albeit sometimes in depleted numbers. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings transports readers to a world of real creatures that seem as if they should be made up—that are somehow more astonishing than anything we might have imagined. The yeti crab, for example, uses its furry claws to farm the bacteria on which it feeds. The waterbear, meanwhile, is among nature’s “extreme survivors,” able to withstand a week unprotected in outer space. These and other strange and surprising species invite readers to reflect on what we value—or fail to value—and what we might change.
A powerful combination of wit, cutting-edge natural history, and philosophical meditation, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is an infectious and inspiring celebration of the sheer ingenuity and variety of life in a time of crisis and change.
Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, wall charts were a familiar classroom component, displaying scientific images at a large scale, in full color. But it's only now that they've been superseded as a teaching tool that we have begun to realize something their ubiquity hid: they are stunning examples of botanical art at its finest.
This beautifully illustrated oversized book gives the humble wall chart its due, reproducing more than two hundred of them in dazzling full color. Each wall chart is accompanied by captions that offer accessible information about the species featured, the scientists and botanical illustrators who created it, and any particularly interesting or innovative features the chart displays. And gardeners will be pleased to discover useful information about plant anatomy and morphology and species differences. We see lilies and tulips, gourds, aquatic plants, legumes, poisonous plants, and carnivorous plants, all presented in exquisite, larger-than-life detail.
A unique fusion of art, science, and education, the wall charts gathered here offer a glimpse into a wonderful scientific heritage and are sure to thrill naturalists, gardeners, and artists alike.
For centuries, an eclectic group of plants have captivated the world and propelled explorers to extraordinary lengths to collect them. Now, The Botanical Treasury brings together centuries of botanical adventures and discoveries in one sumptuous collection.
This treasury features a full-color exploration of our most important and interesting plants; facsimiles of rarely seen letters, maps, and journals from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and forty beautifully reproduced, frameable prints. Together they offer a fascinating look at the world of plant hunting and the cultivation of our knowledge about the plant world.
Every one of the featured plants is extraordinary in some way, be it for its appearance, biology, medicinal properties, or importance to economics, politics, or the arts. Equally extraordinary are the stories associated with the discovery of these plants, revealing the lengths to which collectors and growers would go to find them. The entries build a history of botany and paint a larger picture of the age of exploration.
The Botanical Treasury is a rare treat. Looking through its pages and relishing its prints allows us to fully understand why we are so driven to learn all we can about the natural world. It is an exceptional gift that will wow gardeners, and anyone else fascinated by the greenery that sustains and inspires us.
In Champion Trees of Arkansas, Linda Williams Palmer explores the state’s largest trees of their species, registered with the Arkansas Forestry Commission as “champions.” Through her beautiful colored-pencil drawings, each magnificent tree is interpreted through the lens of season, location, history, and human connection.
Readers will get to know the cherrybark oak, rendered in fall colors, an avatar for the passing of seasons. The sugar maple, with its bare limbs and weather-beaten trunk, stands sentry over the headstones in a confederate cemetery. The 350-year-old white oak was once dubbed the Council Oak by Native Americans, and the post oak, cared for by generations of the same family, has its own story to tell.
Palmer travelled from Delta swamps to Ozark and Ouachita mountain ridges over a seven-year period to see and document the champions and to talk with property owners and others willing to share the stories of how these trees are beloved and protected by the community, and often entwined with its history. Champion Trees of Arkansas is sure to inspire art and nature lovers everywhere.
Confucius called them the “king of fragrant plants,” and John Ruskin condemned them as “prurient apparitions.” Across the centuries, orchids have captivated us with their elaborate exoticism, their powerful perfumes, and their sublime seductiveness.
But the disquieting beauty of orchids is an unplanned marvel of evolution, and the story of orchids is as captivating as any novel. As acclaimed writer Michael Pollan and National Geographic photographer Christian Ziegler spin tales of orchid conquest in Deceptive Beauties: The World of Wild Orchids, we learn how these flowers can survive and thrive in the harshest of environments, from tropical cloud forests to the Arctic, from semi-deserts to rocky mountainsides; how their shapes, colors, and scents are, as Darwin put it, “beautiful contrivances” meant to dupe pollinating male insects in the strangest ways. What other flowers, after all, can mimic the pheromones and even appearance of female insects, so much so that some male bees prefer sex with the orchids over sex with their own kind?
And insects aren’t the only ones to fall for the orchids’ charms. Since the “orchidelirium” of the Victorian era, humans have braved the wilds to search them out and devoted copious amounts of time and money propagating and hybridizing, nurturing and simply gazing at them. This astonishing book features over 150 unprecedented color photographs taken by Christian Ziegler himself as he trekked through wilderness on five continents to capture the diversity and magnificence of orchids in their natural habitats. His intimate and astonishing images allow us to appreciate up close nature’s most intoxicating and deceptive beauties.
“Elemental” is the perfect word to describe George Olson’s watercolor drawings of the plants of the tallgrass prairie. Delicately precise yet filled with vigor and color, they present the prairie in its individual elements and—taken as a group that celebrates the hues and textures of tallgrass wildflowers and grasses—in its seasonal abundance. InThe Elemental Prairie, the combination of George Olson’s luminous drawings and John Madson’s eloquent essay “The Running Country” encourages us to look at the prairie world with newly appreciative eyes.
For some years Olson has focused almost exclusively on the grasses and wildflowers of the North American prairie, meticulously reproducing their elemental structures and colors while—proving once again that art can both imitate and enhance nature—emphasizing their magical loveliness. By painting certain species in their winter and summer “plumages,” he reveals the plants’ stark wintry frame-work as well as their more glorious warm-weather beauty.
Enchanted by Prairie
Bill Witt University of Iowa Press, 2009 Library of Congress TR721.W58 2009 | Dewey Decimal 779.36777
June grass at sunset, Indian grass at sunrise, hawk moths and monarch butterflies nectaring on purple fringed orchids and rough blazing star, little bluestem and saw-tooth sunflowers and butterfly milkweed in hill prairies and sand prairies, and blue skies and one bright rainbow arching over them all. Bill Witt has been photographing Iowa’s wild places for more than thirty years, and the result is this collection of splendid images that reveal the glorious beauty and diversity of the state’s prairie remnants.
Witt gives us close-ups of pasque flower shoots covered with ice in spring, coneflowers dancing in a summer breeze, and prairie dropseed in its autumn colors as well as such prairie companions as sandhill cranes, northern harriers, and bison. His panoramic visions of prairie landscapes in all seasons focus on the personal pleasure and spiritual sustenance that connecting with prairies, even small and neglected ones, can bring us. Osha Davidson’s essay compares today’s prairie remnants with yesterday’s expanses and calls for us to restore balance to this damaged landscape. Altogether, Enchanted by Prairie celebrates today’s prairie landscape and encourages us, in Davidson’s words, to restore its “beauty and scents and textures and sounds.”
Frogs are worshipped for bringing nourishing rains, but blamed for devastating floods. Turtles are admired for their wisdom and longevity, but ridiculed for their sluggish and cowardly behavior. Snakes are respected for their ability to heal and restore life, but despised as symbols of evil. Lizards are revered as beneficent guardian spirits, but feared as the Devil himself.
In this ode to toads and snakes, newts and tuatara, crocodiles and tortoises, herpetologist and science writer Marty Crump explores folklore across the world and throughout time. From creation myths to trickster tales; from associations with fertility and rebirth to fire and rain; and from the use of herps in folk medicines and magic, as food, pets, and gods, to their roles in literature, visual art, music, and dance, Crump reveals both our love and hatred of amphibians and reptiles—and their perceived power. In a world where we keep home terrariums at the same time that we battle invasive cane toads, and where public attitudes often dictate that the cute and cuddly receive conservation priority over the slimy and venomous, she shows how our complex and conflicting perceptions threaten the conservation of these ecologically vital animals.
Sumptuously illustrated, Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder’s Fork and Lizard’s Leg is a beautiful and enthralling brew of natural history and folklore, sobering science and humor, that leaves us with one irrefutable lesson: love herps. Warts, scales, and all.
No bird is common, if we use “common” to mean ordinary. But birds that are seen more commonly than others can seem less noteworthy than species that are rarely glimpsed. In this gathering of essays and illustrations celebrating fifty of the most common birds of the Upper Midwest, illustrator Dana Gardner and writer Nancy Overcott encourage us to take a closer look at these familiar birds with renewed appreciation for their not-so-ordinary beauty and lifeways.Beginning with the garishly colored male and the more gently colored female wood duck, whose tree cavity nest serves as a launching pad for ducklings in the summer months, and ending on a bright yellow note with the American goldfinch, whose cheerful presence enlivens the midwestern landscape all year long, Overcott combines field observations drawn from her twenty-plus years of living and birding in Minnesota's Big Woods with anecdotes and data from other ornithologists to portray each species' life cycle, its vocalizations and appearance, and its habitat, food, and foraging methods as well as migration patterns and distribution. Infused with a dedication to conserving natural resources, her succinct yet personable prose forms an ideal complement to Gardner's watercolors as this renowned illustrator of avian life worldwide revisits the birds of his childhood. Together art and text ensure that the wild turkey, great blue heron, sharp-shinned hawk, barred owl, pileated woodpecker, house wren, ovenbird, field sparrow, rose-breasted grosbeak, red-winged blackbird, and forty other species of the Upper Midwest are never seen as common again.
Although the many common birds of the Upper Midwest are lovely to hear and see, there is no doubt that the uncommon birds attract more attention. In this gorgeously illustrated companion to their Fifty Common Birds of the Upper Midwest, which provided a new appreciation of the not-so-ordinary beauty and life ways of familiar birds, illustrator Dana Gardner and writer Nancy Overcott celebrate the rarer birds of the Upper Midwest.
The authors selected species that are uncommon because of dwindling populations, species that may be common elsewhere but not in the Upper Midwest, species that may be abundant one year and absent the next, and species that are usually present but seldom seen. Beginning with the surf scoter with its multicolored bill and ending with the gregarious evening grosbeak, which resembles a giant goldfinch, they pair watercolors of each species with text that portrays its life cycle, its vocalizations and distribution. Throughout, Overcott's personable text is infused with the pleasures of her twenty-plus years of living and birding in Minnesota's Big Woods and her dedication to preserving natural resources, and Gardner's paintings-each a gorgeous reminder of the rare qualities of these uncommon birds from this renowned illustrator of bird life worldwide-emphasize her call for conservation efforts.
The annotated bibliography includes online information about national and international organizations that focus on birds or that affect birds through conservation, as well as information about a variety of books and journals for beginning to experienced birders.
The Great Plains were once among the greatest grasslands on the planet. But as the United States and Canada grew westward, the Plains were plowed up, fenced in, overgrazed, and otherwise degraded. Today, this fragmented landscape is the most endangered and least protected ecosystem in North America. But all is not lost on the prairie. Through lyrical photographs, essays, historical images, and maps, this beautifully illustrated book gets beneath the surface of the Plains, revealing the lingering wild that still survives and whose diverse natural communities, native creatures, migratory traditions, and natural systems together create one vast and extraordinary whole.
Three broad geographic regions in Great Plains are covered in detail, evoked in the unforgettable and often haunting images taken by Michael Forsberg. Between the fall of 2005 and the winter of 2008, Forsberg traveled roughly 100,000 miles across 12 states and three provinces, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, to complete the photographic fieldwork for this project, underwritten by The Nature Conservancy. Complementing Forsberg’s images and firsthand accounts are essays by Great Plains scholar David Wishart and acclaimed writer Dan O’Brien. Each section of the book begins with a thorough overview by Wishart, while O’Brien—a wildlife biologist and rancher as well as a writer—uses his powerful literary voice to put the Great Plains into a human context, connecting their natural history with man’s uses and abuses.
The Great Plains are a dynamic but often forgotten landscape—overlooked, undervalued, misunderstood, and in desperate need of conservation. This book helps lead the way forward, informing and inspiring readers to recognize the wild spirit and splendor of this irreplaceable part of the planet.
An archive of never-before-published illustrations of insects and plants painted by a pioneering naturalist
During his lifetime (1751–ca. 1840), English-born naturalist and artist John Abbot rendered more than 4,000 natural history illustrations and profoundly influenced North American entomology, as he documented many species in the New World long before they were scientifically described. For sixty-five years, Abbot worked in Georgia to advance knowledge of the flora and fauna of the American South by sending superbly mounted specimens and exquisitely detailed illustrations of insects, birds, butterflies, and moths, on commission, to collectors and scientists all over the world.
Between 1816 and 1818, Abbot completed 104 drawings of insects on their native plants for English naturalist and patron William Swainson (1789–1855). Both Abbot and Swainson were artists, naturalists, and collectors during a time when natural history and the sciences flourished. Separated by nearly forty years in age, Abbot and Swainson were members of the same international communities and correspondence networks upon which the study of nature was based during this period.
The relationship between these two men—who never met in person—is explored in John Abbot and William Swainson: Art, Science, and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Natural History Illustration. This volume also showcases, for the first time, the complete set of original, full-color illustrations discovered in 1977 in the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand. Originally intended as a companion to an earlier survey of insects from Georgia, the newly rediscovered Turnbull manuscript presents beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies, moths, and a wasp. Most of the insects are pictured with the flowering plants upon which Abbot thought them to feed. Abbot’s journal annotations about the habits and biology of each species are also included, as are nomenclature updates for the insect taxa.
Today, the Turnbull drawings illuminate the complex array of personal and professional concerns that informed the field of natural history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These illustrations are also treasured artifacts from times past, their far-flung travels revealing a world being reshaped by the forces of global commerce and information exchange even then. The shared project of John Abbot and William Swainson is now brought to completion, signaling the beginning of a new phase of its significance for modern readers and scholars.
The first book-length treatment of one of John James Audubon’s background painters.
Maria Martin (1796–1863) was an evangelical Lutheran from Charleston, South Carolina, who became an accomplished painter within months of meeting John James Audubon. Martin met Audubon through her brother-in-law, Reverend John Bachman, who befriended Audubon while passing through Charleston on route to Florida where he expected to find new avian species. Martin was an amateur artist, but by the time Audubon left, she had familiarized herself with his style of drawing. Six months after their initial meeting, her background botanicals were deemed good enough to embellish Audubon’s exquisite bird paintings.
Martin’s botanicals and insects appeared in volumes two and four of The Birds of America (1830–1838). She painted snakes for John Edwards Holbrook’s North American Herpetology (1842) and assisted in drafting the descriptive taxonomies prepared by John Bachman—who later became her husband in 1848 following the death of her older sister—for The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1846–1854). Until now, her contributions have been unknown to all but the most astute students of natural history and art history and a close circle of family and friends.
Maria Martin’s World is a heavily illustrated volume examining how Maria Martin learned to paint aesthetically beautiful botanicals with exacting accuracy. Drawing on deep research into archival documents and family-held artifacts, Debra Lindsay brings Maria Martin out from behind the curtain of obscurity and disinformation that has previously shrouded her and places her centrally in her own time and milieu. In the telling of Maria Martin’s story, Lindsay also uncovers many nuances of the behavior and actions of the two prominent men in her life that readers interested in Audubon and Bachman will find noteworthy.
Martin was a gifted artist recognized for having contributed beautiful paintings to a natural history. But beyond the natural world this is a biography of an evangelical Lutheran steeped in the faith of her German ancestors and raised to respect the patriarchal norms of her time. Maria Martin pursued her scientific and artistic interests only when they did not conflict with her religious and familial responsibilities.
In Natural Missouri: Working with the Land, Napier Shelton offers a tour of notable natural sites in Missouri through the eyes of the people who work with them. Over a period of three years, he roamed all over the state, visiting such different places as Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Pomme de Terre Lake, Mark Twain National Forest, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Roaring River State Park, Prairie State Park, Ted Shanks Conservation Area, and Mingo National Wildlife Refuge. Along the way he interviewed professional resource managers and naturalists, biologists, interpreters, conservation agents, engineers, farmers, hunters, fishermen, writers, and many others in an effort to gain a perspective that only people who work with the land—for business or for pleasure—can have.
Shelton describes a range of land-management philosophies and techniques, from largely hands-off, as in state parks, to largely hands-on, as in farming. He also addresses the questions that surround some of the more controversial practices, such as the use of fire for land management and the introduction of nonnative species.
With his relaxed writing style, Shelton invites the reader along on his journeys to experience the places and people as he did. Natural Missouri captures the essence of Missouri and gives readers a greater appreciation for the natural resources of the state and the people who work so hard to manage and protect them.
The Oldest Living Things in the World is an epic journey through time and space. Over the past decade, artist Rachel Sussman has researched, worked with biologists, and traveled the world to photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. Spanning from Antarctica to Greenland, the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback, the result is a stunning and unique visual collection of ancient organisms unlike anything that has been created in the arts or sciences before, insightfully and accessibly narrated by Sussman along the way.
Her work is both timeless and timely, and spans disciplines, continents, and millennia. It is underscored by an innate environmentalism and driven by Sussman’s relentless curiosity. She begins at “year zero,” and looks back from there, photographing the past in the present. These ancient individuals live on every continent and range from Greenlandic lichens that grow only one centimeter a century, to unique desert shrubs in Africa and South America, a predatory fungus in Oregon, Caribbean brain coral, to an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah. Sussman journeyed to Antarctica to photograph 5,500-year-old moss; Australia for stromatolites, primeval organisms tied to the oxygenation of the planet and the beginnings of life on Earth; and to Tasmania to capture a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub that’s the last individual of its kind. Her portraits reveal the living history of our planet—and what we stand to lose in the future. These ancient survivors have weathered millennia in some of the world’s most extreme environments, yet climate change and human encroachment have put many of them in danger. Two of her subjects have already met with untimely deaths by human hands.
Alongside the photographs, Sussman relays fascinating – and sometimes harrowing – tales of her global adventures tracking down her subjects and shares insights from the scientists who research them. The oldest living things in the world are a record and celebration of the past, a call to action in the present, and a barometer of our future.
Out of the Woods: A Bird Watcher’s Year is a journey through the seasons and a joyous celebration of growing old. In fifty-nine essays and poems, Ora E. Anderson, birder, bird carver, naturalist, and nature writer, reveals the insights and recollections of a keen-eyed observer of nature, both human and avian. The essays follow the rivers and creeks, the highways and little-known byways of Appalachia, and along the way we become nearly as familiar with its numerous bird, plant, and animal species as with the author himself.
These are not the memories of a single year, however, but of a long lifetime spent immersed in the natural world. Out of the Woods, presented with humor and passion, is an account of a well-lived, productive, and satisfying life. The essays offer an intimate portrait of a half century of Anderson's life on his beloved old farm (more nearly a nature preserve), where he lived in harmony with birds and nature and followed the rhythm of the seasons. We are invited to share the joys—and the disappointments and sorrows—inherent in such a life.
Generously illustrated with Julie Zickefoose’s detailed and evocative drawings, this book will delight bird watchers, artists, naturalists, backyard gardeners, and anyone who is ever tempted to take a rutted, overgrown path just to see where it leads.
As children, our first encounters with the world’s animals do not arise during expeditions through faraway jungles or on perilous mountain treks. Instead, we meet these creatures between the pages of a book, on the floor of an obliging library. Down through the centuries, illustrated books have served as our paper zoos, both documenting the world’s extraordinary wildlife in exquisite detail and revealing, in hindsight, how our relationship to and understanding of these animals have evolved over time.
In this stunning book, historian of science Charlotte Sleigh draws on the ultimate bibliophile’s menagerie—the collections of the British Library—to present a lavishly illustrated homage to this historical collaboration between art and science. Gathering together a breathtaking range of nature illustrations from manuscripts, prints, drawings, and rare printed books from across the world, Sleigh brings us face to face (or face to tentacle) with images of butterflies, beetles, and spiders, of shells, fish, and coral polyps. Organized into four themed sections—exotic, native, domestic, and paradoxical—the images introduce us to some of the world’s most renowned natural history illustrators, from John James Audubon to Mark Catesby and Ernst Haeckel, as well as to lesser-known artists. In her accompanying text, Sleigh traces the story of the art of natural history from the Renaissance through the great age of exploration and into the nineteenth century, offering insight into the changing connections between the natural and human worlds.
But the story does not end there. From caterpillars to crabs, langurs to dugongs, stick insects to Old English pigs; from the sinuous tail feathers of birds of paradise to the lime-green wings of New Zealand’s enormous flightless parrot, the kakapo; from the crenellated plates of a tortoise’s shell to imagined likenesses of unicorns, mermaids, and dinosaurs, the story continues in this book. It is a Paper Zoo for all time.
Though at first glance the natural world may appear overwhelming in its diversity and complexity, there are regularities running through it, from the hexagons of a honeycomb to the spirals of a seashell and the branching veins of a leaf. Revealing the order at the foundation of the seemingly chaotic natural world, Patterns in Nature explores not only the math and science but also the beauty and artistry behind nature’s awe-inspiring designs.
Unlike the patterns we create in technology, architecture, and art, natural patterns are formed spontaneously from the forces that act in the physical world. Very often the same types of pattern and form – spirals, stripes, branches, and fractals, say—recur in places that seem to have nothing in common, as when the markings of a zebra mimic the ripples in windblown sand. That’s because, as Patterns in Nature shows, at the most basic level these patterns can often be described using the same mathematical and physical principles: there is a surprising underlying unity in the kaleidoscope of the natural world. Richly illustrated with 250 color photographs and anchored by accessible and insightful chapters by esteemed science writer Philip Ball, Patterns in Nature reveals the organization at work in vast and ancient forests, powerful rivers, massing clouds, and coastlines carved out by the sea.
By exploring similarities such as those between a snail shell and the swirling stars of a galaxy, or the branches of a tree and those of a river network, this spectacular visual tour conveys the wonder, beauty, and richness of natural pattern formation.
Heather Angel University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress QK926.A54 2016 | Dewey Decimal 571.8642
From the wings of moths to the feet of hoverflies and the head feathers of nectar-seeking birds, the process of pollination is a natural marvel. How do the many annuals and perennials and shrubs and trees that populate the globe manage to lure the aid of bees and butterflies and other creatures at exactly the appropriate time? Pollination Power offers a unique, truly bird’s-eye view of the wonders of pollination at work.
In stunning full-color images, employing the latest photographic techniques, esteemed photographer Heather Angel has captures the intimate interactions of plants with their floral pollinators. The plants come not only from Angel’s Surrey backyard and the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, but from twenty countries where Angel has travelled—from the rich floral kingdoms of the Cape of South Africa to the diversity of China and the Americas. The photos illustrate the varied techniques that flowers use to communicate with their pollinators. Some, for example, change color when the flower no longer has rewards to offer. Others control precisely when pollinators enter or leave by timing when they open and close their petals or when they emit a scent. This fascinating array of pollination repertoires crossfertilizes Angel’s photos with a descriptive text.
Featuring both common and exotic plants and temperate and tropical floral, Pollination Power will entice anyone with a passion for botanicals, from gardeners to botanists alike.
On any night in early June, if you stand on the right beaches of America’s East Coast, you can travel back in time all the way to the Jurassic. For as you watch, thousands of horseshoe crabs will emerge from the foam and scuttle up the beach to their spawning grounds, as they’ve done, nearly unchanged, for more than 440 million years.
Horseshoe crabs are far from the only contemporary manifestation of Earth’s distant past, and in Relics, world-renowned zoologist and photographer Piotr Naskrecki leads readers on an unbelievable journey through those lingering traces of a lost world. With camera in hand, he travels the globe to create a words-and-pictures portrait of our planet like no other, a time-lapse tour that renders Earth’s colossal age comprehensible, visible in creatures and habitats that have persisted, nearly untouched, for hundreds of millions of years.
Naskrecki begins by defining the concept of a relic—a creature or habitat that, while acted upon by evolution, remains remarkably similar to its earliest manifestations in the fossil record. Then he pulls back the Cambrian curtain to reveal relic after eye-popping relic: katydids, ancient reptiles, horsetail ferns, majestic magnolias, and more, all depicted through stunning photographs and first-person accounts of Naskrecki’s time studying them and watching their interactions in their natural habitats. Then he turns to the habitats themselves, traveling to such remote locations as the Atewa Plateau of Africa, the highlands of Papua New Guinea, and the lush forests of the Guyana Shield of South America—a group of relatively untrammeled ecosystems that are the current end point of staggeringly long, uninterrupted histories that have made them our best entryway to understanding what the prehuman world looked, felt, sounded, and even smelled like.
The stories and images of Earth’s past assembled in Relics are beautiful, breathtaking, and unmooring, plunging the reader into the hitherto incomprehensible reaches of deep time. We emerge changed, astonished by the unbroken skein of life on Earth and attentive to the hidden heritage of our planet’s past that surrounds us.
Could a book by any other name smell as sweet? Absolutely not. The rose is the world’s favorite flower—and always has been. It is our greatest floral symbol of love and romance, and it is a bloom that touches our hearts as the flower most often chosen to celebrate significant milestones—weddings, anniversaries, births, and indeed, deaths. In this book, Catherine Horwood traces the botanical, religious, literary, and artistic journeys of the rose across the centuries, from battles to bridal bouquets.
From Cleopatra’s rose petal–filled bed to Nijinsky’s Spectre de la Rose, from the highly prized Attar of Rose oil so beloved by the ancient Persians to the rosy scents of top perfume labels today, from Shakespearean myths about the War of the Roses to the significance of roses in Queen Elizabeth I’s embroidered dresses, and even to blockade-running during the Napoleonic Wars to satisfy Empress Josephine’s passion for collecting her favorite flower, Rose blossoms with the many stories of our ardor for this botanical family. Featuring a bower of illustrations and drawing on an array of sources as rich and many-hued as roses themselves, Horwood’s tale opens our eyes and noses to the world’s major rose-growing nations. With operatic tales of medieval bestsellers, nurserymen’s rivalries, and changing tastes in our personal flower beds, Rose is certain to woo both gardeners and non-gardeners alike.
The sardine is a paradoxical fish. Seemingly insignificant, it has made fortunes for some, and, when stocks have collapsed, caused hardship for many, its status shifting from utilitarian food to gourmand’s delight. And in this book, Trevor Day—diver, fish-watcher, and marine conservationist—travels across four continents to meet the sardine in both its natural and cultural environment. Tracing the fish’s journey from minuscule egg to dinner plate, Day interweaves the story of the sardine with the rise and fall of entire fisheries.
A wide-ranging look at the cluster of fish species called sardines, Day’s book explores their relationship both with other marine creatures and with us. Elite predators feast on sardines, yet these silvery slivers are fast-breeding and opportunistic enough to likely survive their hunters for many millennia to come. Whether swimming free as a shoaling fish at the mercy of predators, packed in tins (and as a metaphor for overcrowding), or grilled on the streets of Lisbon as part of the Feast of St. Anthony, sardines have come to represent conformity, vulnerability, and tradition. And as Day’s biography of this familiar but under-appreciated fish reveals, the sardine is a barometer for the health of our oceans, a fish with lessons for us all about our stewardship of the seas.
At once feared and revered, sharks have captivated people since our earliest human encounters. Children and adults alike stand awed before aquarium shark tanks, fascinated by the giant teeth and unnerving eyes. And no swim in the ocean is undertaken without a slight shiver of anxiety about the very real—and very cinematic—dangers of shark bites. But our interactions with sharks are not entirely one-sided: the threats we pose to sharks through fisheries, organized hunts, and gill nets on coastlines are more deadly and far-reaching than any bite. In Sharks and People acclaimed wildlife photographer Thomas Peschak presents stunning photographs that capture the relationship between people and sharks around the globe.
A contributing photographer to National Geographic, Peschak is best known for his unusual photographs of sharks—his iconic image of a great white shark following a researcher in a small yellow kayak is one of the most recognizable shark photographs in the world. The other images gathered here are no less riveting, bringing us as close as possible to sharks in the wild. Alongside the photographs, Sharks and People tells the compelling story of the natural history of sharks. Sharks have roamed the oceans for more than four hundred million years, and in this time they have never stopped adapting to the ever-changing world—their unique cartilage skeletons and array of super-senses mark them as one of the most evolved groups of animals. Scientists have recently discovered that sharks play an important role in balancing the ocean, including maintaining the health of coral reefs. Yet, tens of millions of sharks are killed every year just to fill the demand for shark fin soup alone. Today more than sixty species of sharks, including hammerhead, mako, and oceanic white-tip sharks, are listed as vulnerable or in danger of extinction.
The need to understand the significant part sharks play in the oceanic ecosystem has never been so urgent, and Peschak’s photographs bear witness to the thrilling strength and unique attraction of sharks. They are certain to enthrall and inspire.
Essentially a phenomenon of the twentieth century, America’s pioneering state park movement has grown rapidly and innovatively to become one of the most important forces in the preservation of open spaces and the provision of public outdoor recreation in the country. During this time, the movement has been influenced and shaped by many factors—social, cultural, and economic—resulting in a wide variety of expressions. While everyone agrees that the state park movement has been a positive and beneficial force on the whole, there seems to be an increasing divergence of thought as to exactly what direction the movement should take in the future.
In The State Park Movement in America, Ney Landrum, recipient of almost two dozen honors and awards for his service to state and national parks, places the movement for state parks in the context of the movements for urban and local parks on one side and for national parks on the other. He traces the evolution of the state park movement from its imprecise and largely unconnected origins to its present status as an essential and firmly established state government responsibility, nationwide in scope. Because the movement has taken a number of separate, but roughly parallel, paths and produced differing schools of thought concerning its purpose and direction, Landrum also analyzes the circumstances and events that have contributed to these disparate results and offers critical commentary based on his long tenure in the system.
As the first study of its kind, The State Park Movement in America will fill a tremendous void in the literature on parks. Given that there are more than five thousand state parks in the United States, compared with fewer than five hundred national parks and historic sites, this history is long overdue. It will be of great interest to anyone concerned with federal, state, or local parks, as well as to land resource managers generally.
Twelve inches by twelve inches by twelve inches, the cubic foot is a relatively tiny unit of measure compared to the whole world. With every step, we disturb and move through cubic foot after cubic foot. But behold the cubic foot in nature—from coral reefs to cloud forests to tidal pools—even in that finite space you can see the multitude of creatures that make up a vibrant ecosystem.
For A World in One Cubic Foot, esteemed nature photographer David Liittschwager took a bright green metal cube—measuring precisely one cubic foot—and set it in various ecosystems around the world, from Costa Rica to Central Park. Working with local scientists, he measured what moved through that small space in a period of twenty-four hours. He then photographed the cube’s setting and the plant, animal, and insect life inside it—anything visible to the naked eye. The result is a stunning portrait of the amazing diversity that can be found in ecosystems around the globe. Many organisms captured in Liittschwager’s photographs have rarely, if ever, been presented in their full splendor to the general reader, and the singular beauty of these images evocatively conveys the richness of life around us and the essential need for its conservation. The breathtaking images are accompanied by equally engaging essays that speak to both the landscapes and the worlds contained within them, from distinguished contributors such as Elizabeth Kolbert and Alan Huffman, in addition to an introduction by E. O. Wilson. After encountering this book, you will never look at the tiniest sliver of your own backyard or neighborhood park the same way; instead, you will be stunned by the unexpected variety of species found in an area so small.
A World in One Cubic Foot puts the world accessibly in our hands and allows us to behold the magic of an ecosystem in miniature. Liittschwager’s awe-inspiring photographs take us to places both familiar and exotic and instill new awareness of the life that abounds all around.
Every Sunday evening for almost ten years, Iowa photographer and naturalist Carl Kurtz has e-mailed a photo and an extended caption to hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts. Engaging and informative, the photos focus on the world around and away from his tallgrass prairie homeplace: snow buntings in a blizzard, maple leaves in fall, migrating snow geese and red-winged blackbirds and monarchs, prairie spiderworts in spring bloom, leopard frogs loafing on waterlily leaves, northern flickers feeding young, and all the inhabitants and moods of the passing seasons. Now, in A Year of Iowa Nature, he presents fifty-five of his favorite photos along with an evocative introduction that urges us to go forth and discover the beauty in our own backyards.
Concentrating on Iowa’s tallgrass prairie, Kurtz also points his viewfinder toward the great variety of natural habitats in the eastern United States. Arranged chronologically throughout the year, the fifty-five color photos and their accompanying narratives rotate through the seasons like a nature film. The winter months showcase a frost-covered white-tailed deer, cedar waxwings feeding on winter apples, a muskrat on the surface of an icy pond, and dune-like snowdrifts. Kurtz’s palette warms up in springtime with stunning photos of Virginia bluebells, fox cubs, juvenile chipmunks, and ruddy ducks. Summer brings a host of butterflies, frogs, and goldfinches as well as blooming prairie plants. The colors become more subdued in fall with the change in light, revealing the rich hues of Indian grass and big bluestem and the subtle plumage of migrating warblers.
Just as Kurtz’s Practical Guide to Prairie Reconstruction offers an indispensable manual for individuals and land managers working to create a diverse prairie community, so does A Year of Iowa Nature point the way toward a sincere, month-by-month appreciation of the natural world around us.