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From Above and Below: Man and the Sea by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Brian Skerry. This stunning book is by one of my favorite photographers Yann Arthus-Bertrand, founder of Good Planet Foundation. In this book her teams up with underwater photographer Brian Skerry to observe our relationship to the sea. I'm sure this book will be gorgeous and I can't wait to have my own copy.
The Tree-Meaning and Myth by Frances Carey, is a fascinating book that surveys the meaning and purpose of trees: historic, cultural, scientific, and artistic. It's lavishly illustrated with works of art and artifacts from the extensive collection of the British Museum. I have a copy on my desk that I keep on picking up and looking through. It has so many interesting stories about trees, so I'm looking forward to sitting down with it in a quieter moment. Trees are a passion of mine and I have always felt very grounded when I'm near them.
Peace Salad - (100 tips to Inspire a Peaceful Life) by Sandy Corso Sandy Corso's, "Think Good. Eat Whole. Walk Far," is a mantra that inspires me. Her wonderful daily blog promotes compassion and connectivity. Every page of Peace Salad is inspiring! There are so many wonderful tips and ideas on all easy ways you can make changes in your life to make it healthier and happier. I love it!
It's been 50-years since the first publication of In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World by Eliot Porter, where Porter's stunning photographs of New England woods are paired with passages by writer Henry David Thoreau. Both Porter and Thoreau constantly worked to preserve Nature and protect it from manmade interference. When the book came out in 1962, even though it was at a time when environmental causes were not in the public consciousness, it was an overnight publishing success.
"Photography is a strong tool, a propaganda device, and a weapon for the defense of the environment…and therefore for the fostering of a healthy human race and even very likely for its survival." -Eliot Porter
New York-based photographer James Houston has shot color portraits of some of the world's leading environmentally conscious celebrities, such as Adrian Grenier, Emma Watson, and Christy Turlington--each with nature as the inspiration for the portrait. Houston's project aims to raise awareness about environmental issues, and to raise funds for Global Green USA.
The Gray Whales of Baja-poems by Wendy Wilder Larsen, my favorite nature loving poet, and art by Josie Merck, is a touching collection of poems about the pristine San Ignacio Lagoon and the gray whales, who return there every year to give birth. This precious lagoon was saved from being turned into a huge salt plant, thanks to the efforts of many individuals, companies, school children and non-profit groups like the NRDC.
I can't wait to read this book and I'm taking it with me on my travels this month: Wild Thoughts from Wild Places by David Quammen. I read the introduction and it's fantastic and beautifully written. Wild Thoughts from Wild Places is a collection of twenty-three of Quammen's most intriguing, most exciting, most memorable pieces. With humor and intelligence, Wild Thoughts from Wild Places reminds us that humans are just one of the many species on earth with motivations, goals, quirks, and eccentricities. I expect to be fully entertained and moved on this journey through the wilds of science and nature.
The Garden at Highgrove: H.R.H. The Prince of Wales and Candida Lycett Green is a gorgeous book about H.R.H. The Prince of Wales's Cotswold estate, which he spent 11 years turning into a model of environmentally benign farming and gardening. Prince Charles is renowned for his views on organic gardening and this remarkable, unassuming man has transformed his property into one of the greatest gardens of our time, and an important part of Britain's heritage.
Hotspots Revisited: Earth's Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions by Russell A. Mittermeier and company
In September 2005, I attended the 8th World Wilderness Congress in Anchorage, Alaska, the world's longest running public conservation project and environmental forum. It was an incredible experience. I was enthralled listening to the many governmental wilderness stewards from different countries discussing their environmental challenges, and then I witnessed something wonderful: sister agencies from other countries offering advice and solutions. They understood that all nations and communities must do everything possible to protect our planet's rich biological heritage.
I came home from the Congress with this extraordinary book, Hotspots Revisited: Earth's Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions. I have used it over the years as a reference and an excellent source for my research. This book has been invaluable to me as I haven't traveled yet to most of the regions covered in the chapters, that show so much beauty in all their precious biological diversity and gorgeous flora. Eight photographers contributed stunning images of Brazil and Madagascar, the wet tropics of Queensland Australia, the islands off New Guinea, California and the Himalayas to name a few.
Desert Air by George Steinmetz
Photographer George Steimetz has been photographing remote corners of the world for National Geographic for the past 25 years, and in his book Desert Air, he'll show you places you never even knew existed. Shot from his paraglider or "flying-lawn-chair" as he likes to call it, he has spent the last 15 years shooting these awesome images. It's a great read as well, full of anecdotes of his adventures creating his book.
Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals by Jonathan Balcombe
Animal Lovers! This is book is for you. You will enjoy reading all about your furry, feathered, hoofed and clawed critter friends and their ability to reason, have emotions, be cunning and communicative, intelligent and altruistic. You probably knew that already. Batcombe shows how more people are coming to realize that animals are feeling individuals who deserve our respect.
Meetings with Remarkable Trees is a superb book. Through his portraits of majestic trees, Thomas Pakenham teaches us their history and which countries they were originally from. Ancient trees are inspirational in nature and this book teaches us how valuable they are.
Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History allows readers the privilege to glimpse at seldom-seen, fully illustrated tomes from the American Museum of Natural History's Rare Book Collection. You'll enjoy reading the informative essays from the museum's top experts in a variety of natural science disciplines, from anthropology to zoology, and have fun choosing which of the 40 wonderful prints included you would like to frame.
Bird Bingo is a great game to play with the whole family or friends and learn bird facts while you have fun. Features 64 species of birds from around the world.
This is such a special book and one of my favorites. Children and adults alike will love the story poem about cold and snowy New England woods, where we follow the journey of the narrator as he stops his sleigh in the woods during a snowstorm, which reminds me of the magical times I spent growing up in Maine in the winter and my adventures exploring the woods after a snowstorm. It was always so quiet and wholesome with all the animal tracks dotting the fresh fallen snow. Absolutely glorious.
This is such a delightful fantasy story that my daughters loved having read to them when they were little. It's all about the winter activities of the mice of Brambly Hedge and their Snow Ball event. The pictures are marvelous and fascinating and the story is precious. The mice are so cute and the world they inhabit is so delicious. If anything can be learned from reading this sort of story is that animals have a life of their own even if it doesn't include balls and picnics.
This is such an inspiring book about how to take a different approach to Christmas, and spare you the stress of excess consumerism. Learn how Christmastime is a perfect time to change old habits and make a positive contribution to the environment. Great images showing how to make your own Christmas tree decorations, gift labels and Christmas cards, using recycled materials or ones found in your garden.
I love reading the restaurant profiles Todd Selby has been doing for The New York Sunday Times Magazine. He is very good at "capturing the food we love to eat and the people who passionately grow, cook, pour, and serve these incredible edibles."
I read the explosive article in the New Yorker years ago which exposed the scary business of fake olive oil in the marketplace and it horrified me. Read this book and learn which kind of olive oil is a fraud and which brands are the best, and how olive oil is made.
Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia Inc., writes about his alternative vision of business, detailing eco-and people-conscious philosophies when dealing with the supply chain from product design and production to human resources and management. Chouinard has backed up his rhetoric with action: Patagonia pursues sustainability, and gives 1% of annual net sales to environmental groups and has set benchmarks with its employee-friendly policies, such as going surfing during lunch breaks. Another wonderful and inspiring book I read years ago that I believe may be out of print is Body and Soul by Anita Roddick, the founder and owner of The Body Shop, who shared similar values to Chouinard's, both of them seeing their businesses as forces for social and environmental change.
Amazing Rare Things by David Attenborough, and The Art of Natural History in The Age of Discovery is a book that anyone who has an interest in natural history would love. Read about the artists such as the exquisite Maria Sibylla Merian (I am in awe of her) who artfully recorded specimens that were brought back by explorers during the fifteenth century onwards from their voyages of discovery.
A particular quote from the book by Attenborough I found especially interesting in reference to cave paintings:
"Animals were the first things that human beings drew. Not plants. Not landscapes. Not even themselves. But animals. Why?" To learn why, you'll have to get the book!
Saving Seeds by Robert E. Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough is a fantastic book for all of us who love to harvest seeds and would like to learn how to.
Learn how to collect, save, and cultivate the seeds from more than 300 vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, trees, and shrubs. Read about how to select plants for the best seeds; and advice on harvesting and cleaning, proper storage and care, and propagating and caring for new seedlings are all presented with clear, easy-to-follow instructions. Gardeners of any experience level will find all the information they need to extend the life of their favorite plants to the next generation and beyond.
Harvesting seeds is something I have loved doing since I was little and still do.
By Miyoko Chu, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Julia Hargreaves
This is a spectacular book for all ages. You'll be amazed by the seven different elaborately designed full-color pop-ups portraying dozens of bird species in diverse North American habitats from the Alaskan Tundra to a Southeast swamp. Your ears will be delighted by the recordings of the birds' calls and songs in stereo from the collection of the Cornell Lab or Ornithology. This book is a beautiful introduction to the wonderful world of birds.
By Bill Thompson III
Covering 300 of the most common birds in all of the United States and Canada, The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America is loaded with color photographs, drawings showing typical behaviors, range maps, an easy-to-use checklist, fun facts, and authoritative information about each bird, its vocalizations, and its habitat.
While other field guides might overwhelm kids who are new to birding, The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America was created with help from kids. Bill Thompson’s own son and daughter and their elementary school classes helped select the content. Kid tested, kid approved!