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Books & Authors

A Celebration of Spring

Spring is the season of new life and regrowth during which the natural world revives itself and reinvigorates after the cold winter months. It is a harmonious balance between light and dark, and symbolizes a ray of hope. The spring equinox occurs on March 20th this year. In honor of this auspicious time, the library has a wide array of material celebrating the beauty of the world around us.

A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds by Scott Weidensaul
An exhilarating exploration of the science and wonder of global bird migration. In the past two decades, our understanding of bird migration-the navigational and physiological feats that enable birds to cross immense oceans or fly above the highest mountains, to go weeks without sleep, or remain in unbroken flight for months at a stretch-has exploded. Scientists have made astounding discoveries: certain species, such as thrushes, can avoid dehydration over long flights by "drinking" from their own muscles and organs, extending their flight range by almost thirty percent, or more than two thousand miles, and while we've known for decades that birds are somehow able to orient themselves using earth's magnetic field, a new leading theory is that they do so through a form of quantum entanglement. In A World on the Wing, author and researcher Scott Weidensaul shares these and other revelations to convey both the wonder of bird migration and its global sweep, taking the reader from the shores and mudflats of the Yellow Sea in China, to the remote mountains of northeastern India, and to the salt lakes in southern Cyprus in the Mediterranean. Weidensaul also introduces those trying to preserve global migratory patterns in the face of climate change and other rising challenges.

An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong
The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every animal is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of an immense world. This book welcomes us into a previously unfathomable dimension--the world as it is truly perceived by other animals. We encounter beetles that are drawn to fires (and fireworks), songbirds that can see the Earth's magnetic fields, and brainless jellyfish that nonetheless have complex eyes. We discover that a crocodile's scaly face is as sensitive as a lover's fingertips, that the eyes of a giant squid evolved to see sparkling whales, and that even fingernail-sized spiders can make out the craters of the moon. We meet people with unusual senses, from women who can make out extra colors to blind individuals who can navigate using reflected echoes like bats. Yong tells the stories of pivotal discoveries in the field, and also looks ahead at the many mysteries which lie unsolved.

Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction by Michelle Nijhuis
A vibrant history of the modern conservation movement-told through the lives and ideas of the people who built it. In the late nineteenth century, as humans came to realize that our rapidly industrializing and globalizing societies were driving other animal species to extinction, a movement to protect and conserve them was born. In Beloved Beasts, acclaimed science journalist Michelle Nijhuis traces the movement's history: from early battles to save charismatic species such as the American bison and bald eagle to today's global effort to defend life on a larger scale. She describes the vital role of scientists and activists such as Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson as well as lesser-known figures in conservation history; she reveals the origins of vital organizations like the Audubon Society and the World Wildlife Fund; she explores current efforts to protect species such as the whooping crane and the black rhinoceros; and she confronts the darker side of conservation, long shadowed by racism and colonialism. As the destruction of other species continues and the effects of climate change escalate, Beloved Beasts charts the ways conservation is becoming a movement for the protection of all species-including our own.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake
In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake's vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web," to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life's processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms--and our relationships with them--are changing our understanding of how life works.

How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler
Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea, from gelatinous chains that are both individual organisms and colonies of clones to deep-sea crabs that have no need for the sun, nourished instead by the chemicals and heat throbbing from the core of the Earth. Exploring themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, and weaving the wonders of marine biology with stories of their own family, relationships, and coming of age, How Far the Light Reaches is a shimmering, otherworldly debut that attunes us to new visions of our world and its miracles.

Lawns into meadows : Growing a regenerative landscape by Owen Wormser
In Lawns Into Meadows, landscape designer Owen Wormser makes a case for the power and generosity of meadows. In a world where lawns have wreaked havoc on our natural ecosystems, meadows offer a compelling solution. They establish wildlife and pollinator habitats. They're low-maintenance and low-cost. They have a built-in resilience that helps them weather climate extremes, and they can draw down and store far more carbon dioxide than any manicured lawn. They're also beautiful, all year round. Owen describes how to plant an organic meadow that's right for your site, whether it's a yard, community garden, or tired city lot. He shares advice on preparing your plot, coming up with the right design, and planting--all without using synthetic chemicals. He passes along tips on building support in neighborhoods where a tidy lawn is the standard. Owen also profiles twenty-one starter grasses and flowers for beginning meadow-makers, and offers guidance on how to grow each one. To illuminate the many joys of meadow-building, Owen draws on his own stories, including how growing up off the grid in northern Maine, with no electricity or plumbing, prepared him for his work. The book, part how-to guide and part memoir, is for environmentalists and climate activists, gardeners and non-gardeners alike. Lawns Into Meadows is part of Stone Pier Press's Citizen Gardening series, which teaches readers how to grow food and garden in ways that are good for the planet.

The Book of Vanishing Species: Illustrated Lives by Beatrice Forshall
Our Earth is more beautiful and more diverse than we can possibly conceive of. The Book of Vanishing Species is a stunning homage to the planet's most mysterious, bizarre and wondrous creatures and plants. Their stories are captivating, from the eyeless and tiny dragonlike olm to the hawksbill turtle, whose gender will be determined by the temperature of the sand it is born in. These species may have survived for hundreds of thousands of years by cleverly adapting to their environments, but their future remains far from certain. The book brings to life red cranes as they dance and bow for the sheer joy of movement, trees that breathe out a haze of misty atmosphere for insects that only feast on one kind of flower, a deep-ocean snail quietly building its shell from iron... and each one of them is illuminated with an exquisite illustration. As you turn the pages, there emerges a network of life that stretches across and around the planet in a dazzling web of existence. This is both a love letter to life on Earth, and an urgent summons to protect what is precious and lovely in this world.

The Hidden Life of Trees: The Illustrated Edition by Peter Wohlleben
In his international bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben opened readers' eyes to the amazing processes at work in forests every day. Now this new, breathtakingly illustrated edition brings those wonders to life like never before. With compelling, abridged selections from the original book and stunning, large-format photographs of trees from around the world, this gorgeous volume distills the essence of Wohlleben's message to show trees in all their glory and diversity. Through rich language highlighting the interconnectedness of forest ecosystems, the book offers fascinating insights about the fungal communication highway known as the "wood wide web," the difficult life lessons learned in tree school, the hard-working natural cleanup crews that recycle dying trees, and much more. Beautiful images provide the perfect complement to Wohlleben's words, with striking close-ups of bark and seeds, panoramas of vast expanses of green, and a unique look at what is believed to be the oldest tree on the planet.

The World's Best National Parks in 500 Walks: Hiking Routes and Rambles Through Nature's Most Enticing Environments by Mary Caperton Morton
Ever since Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 as the world's first national park, the movement to preserve natural landscapes and habitats has spread to every continent. The World's Best National Parks in 500 Walks is the perfect inspiration for every explorer, from the armchair traveler to the veteran hiker, with full-color photos and vivid descriptions of some of the world's most spectacular hiking trails. Helpful tips on navigating the routes, planning your trips, and preparing for encounters with wildlife will have you lacing up your boots and strapping on your backpack, whether it's for a short weekday stroll or a multiday expedition on the world's most breathtaking trails.

What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories, and Personalities of Bees by Stephen L. Buchmann
The next time you hear the low buzzing sound of an approaching bee, look closer: the bee has navigated to this particular spot for a reason using a fascinating set of tools. She might be responding to scents on the breeze as her olfactory organs provide a 3D map of an object's location. She might be tracing the route based on her memories of a particular flower or the electrostatic traces left by other bees. What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories, and Personalities of Bees invites us to follow bees' mysterious pathways and experience their complex and alien world. Although their brains are incredibly small--just one million neurons compared to humans' 100 billion--bees have remarkable abilities to navigate, learn, communicate, and remember. In What a Bee Knows, entomologist Stephen Buchmann explores a bee's way of seeing the world and introduces the scientists who make the journey possible. What a Bee Knows will challenge your idea of a bee's place in the world--and perhaps our own.

Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm by Isabella Tree
For many years Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell struggled to make a go as farmers, doing everything they could to make the heavy clay soils of their farm at Knepp in West Sussex as productive as possible, while rarely succeeding in making a profit. By 2000, facing bankruptcy, the couple decided they would try something new. They would restore their 3,500 acres, farmed for centuries, even millennia, to the form that they had had before human intervention. They would bring back the wild. This was no simple matter. What form did the land have before it took on the form that human beings have given it? The answer to that question was controversial and required real, and fascinating, research. And then the land had once been open to whole hosts of animals that had since been prevented from running wild, if not killed off or made extinct. These had been a crucial actor in the landscape and its ecology, and how were they, or their likes, to be reintroduced into it? And finally there were the neighbors, often appalled at the sight of once tidy fields now running riot with what they considered dangerous weeds. The experiment however, was a success. With minimal human intervention, and with herds of free-roaming animals stimulating new habitats, Knepp is now full of new life. Rare species such as turtle doves, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies breed there. The fabled English nightingale, heard less and less in modern times, sings again.

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharsk, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us. "What the peacock can do," she tells us, "is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life." The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world's gifts. Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy.

 

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