Book Review:: The Urban Bestiary

The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild is the new book from author Lyanda Lynn Haupt who also wrote one of my favorite books, Crow Planet. It’s one of the books I recommend most often in conversation and blog posts. It’s a book that made me a better urban naturalist and opened my eyes to improved observation skills. Needless to say, I had high expectations from Haupt’s new book, to be released on September 17th. I’m happy to report I wasn’t disappointed.

830eaa3251c03fc3142a1562e93c3708One of the first messages of this book is carried over from Crow Planet and that is the idea of nature as something all around us, all the time, instead of something out there, which we have to put on fancy hiking shoes to visit. Haupt has dubbed it the ‘New Nature’ and is quickly becoming an excellent spokeswoman…

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Book Review:: Ladybirds

Ladybirds-jacket-frontThe newly released 2nd edition of Ladybirds is number 10 in Pelagic Publishing’s Naturalist’s Handbook series. If this series sounds familiar it’s because I reviewed the Bumblebees book here and found it a phenomenal resource for learning about the life history of bumblebees. Thus I was very excited to receive a copy of Ladybirds and hoped it would be just as enlightening about a very common insect. I found I wasn’t disappointed and learned a great deal about an insect which we often overlook simply because they’re everywhere. Like Bumblebees it focuses on British species, but the first few chapters are about the general life history of lady beetles and they are full of fascinating information. In addition, there are a couple of species which have been introduced to North America and are covered in detail in…

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Book Review:: Ecosystem Services Come to Town

61qKV133GALThe most important objective in the management of the environment must the the maintenance of biodiversity and the habitats that support it, because without this we cannot survive.

When a book has a quote like this, it’s a must-have for me. Ecosystem Services Come to Town: Greening Cities by Working With Nature is a new book by Gary Grant, published last year by Wiley-Blackwell. It’s an excellent overview of urban design which features a topic near and dear to this blog, urban biodiversity. Too many books on urban design focus on solar power, alternative transportation, energy efficient buildings, zero waste and other buzz words but leave out the rest including habitat and plants. With the subheading of ‘Greening Requires Greenery’ in the conclusion, Grant illustrates perfectly something I’ve been trying to say for a long time:

Remember that a city, neighborhood or building…

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Book Review:: What A Plant Knows

This post was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

9780374288730_custom-s6-c10If you are looking for a good book, one that will completely alter the way you view plants, What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz will fit the bill. You’ll never look at, or touch a plant without thinking about how they sense the world, including you, again. The book is divided into senses, starting with the ones we share, such as sight, smell and feel, including a lengthy discussion on exactly how a plant doesn’t hear, despite common belief. It then goes on to senses which are a little more complex including what a plant remembers and how it knows which way is up.

While we can’t ever get an exact sense of what it’s like to be a plant, Chamovitz paints…

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Book Review:: Principles of Ecological Landscape Design

What if, instead of depicting nature, we allowed nature in? What if, instead of building and maintaining artistic creations, we worked to develop and manage living systems?

Principles of Ecological Landscape Design is a book that will soon be gracing the shelves of Landscape Architects, Landscape Designers, Professors of Landscape Architecture, City Planners, students of Landscape Architecture and more. This is a book that encompasses, in great detail, all of the aspects of designing a landscape with ecology in mind. It is a comprehensive manual, both instructional and case study at once. It offers the designer the opportunity to make ecological design part of their regular practice by giving them the framework of understanding complex systems and how it affects not only design, but the long term life of the designed landscape.

Author Travis Beck

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Book Preview:: Second Nature

I’m excited to bring you a preview of a book from an author intimately acquainted with urban wildlife habitat in Seattle. You may remember the Montlake Fill from the post Marsh Madness (Brackishology):: Marsh & Foster Islands and ‘the Fill’. The Montlake Fill is a world-famous birding site in the middle of northeast Seattle, on the UW campus near the Center for Urban Horticulture. Birders have seen more than 240 species there over the years, including rarities such as Golden Eagle, Brown Thrasher, and Tufted Duck (a mullet-decorated duck from Siberia). You can see something fun there every single day, as master birder Connie Sidles does. Connie has written two books about the Fill: the birds she finds here and the insights they bring about human nature and wild nature. Connie is by turns funny, philosophical, and provocative, a true original.


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