An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

About Naturally Curious and Mary Holland

Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England is my award-winning, bestselling book from Trafalgar Square Books of North Pomfret, Vermont.

This blog–my first–gives you a glimpse of the topics Naturally Curious covers, and gives me a chance to share the surprises and discoveries I enjoy in my work each day.

I am a Vermont naturalist, photographer, columnist and author, and I have had an abiding passion for natural history all my life.  I was born and raised in Massachusetts on a turkey farm. I attended the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources (Naturalist Curriculum) before working as a naturalist at The Museum of the Hudson Highlands in New York state; directing the state-wide Environmental Learning for the Future (ELF) program for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS); working as a resource naturalist for the Massachusetts Audubon Society; designing and presenting my own hands-on “Knee-High Nature Programs” for libraries and elementary schools throughout Vermont and New Hampshire; and writing and photographing a nature column (also “Naturally Curious”) for several newspapers and magazines. I have been writing bi-weekly or monthly newspaper columns for the past 10 years.  My articles and/or photographs have appeared in The Valley News; Northern Woodlands; “The Outside Story”; Upper Valley Life; Here in Hanover; Woodstock magazine; The Harvard PressThe Vermont Guardian; and The Rutland Herald.

I have written and photographed a children’s book, Milkweed Visitors, which introduces many species of insects that visit a milkweed patch. This book was placed on the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science Books and Films’ (SB&F) list for the best books of 2006 in the category Children’s Books under Zoological Sciences.

I offer natural history slide programs, including Milkweed Visitors (based on my book), Beavers, Foxes (based on my book) and Naturally Curious (based on my book).  I also have a small photographic nature print and greeting card business.

I live in Hartland, Vermont, with my Lab, Emma, and in my spare time I enjoy birding, gardening, snowshoeing, exploring and adding to my natural history collection. I have one child, my daughter, Sadie.

76 responses

  1. Hi Mary

    I love your blog and am so impressed with all your work. Do you remember me? I am your cousin Elizabeth Low’s daughter, Susan. I am passing along your blog address to my youngest brother Edward who works for Audubon in New York City and whose 50 acre farm in PA we love to visit.
    We are doing well and I look forward to visiting your blog from here on.
    Love,
    Susan Whitaker Capparelle

    July 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

  2. Philip Sjogren

    Mary,
    This is an exceptional site. I am looking forward to the release of your new book this Fall along with all the splendour the season brings, which I am sure will only be heightened by your photographs and write-ups.

    PAS

    July 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words, Philip. I’m curious about how you discovered my site, and am very glad if you enjoy it. Mary

      July 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm

  3. Patty Ewing

    Mary – We recently got our copy of your new book. It is fabulous. I love the month-by-month outline and the stunning photography. Bruce can’t put it down. He read the segment about Fishers (a very large weasel) recently and was stunned to learn some of the things they eat. He loved the photo of the scat with porcupine quills in it. We will be reading the section on lady beetles next. That you for this treasure.
    Your friends,
    Patty and Bruce
    Patty Ewing, DVM, MS, DACVP
    Bruce Lessley, PhD

    October 31, 2010 at 12:26 pm

  4. Lisa Grady

    Hello Mary, As the Special Events chair for the Friends of the Stowe Free Library, I would love to extend the invitation to speak and do a book signing as a part of our ongoing garden/nature series titled “In Our Own Backyard”. Please feel free to contact me on availability and interest. Best, Lisa

    November 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

  5. Jan Lambert

    Hi Mary,
    I met you a few years ago. Do you remember photographing an Easter Spotted Newt that I brought to the pond in Windsor where I was working on milfoil? I got wind of your new book when I saw a column of yours in the Valley News. I just today bought two copies, one for me and one for a gift. What an impressive production! I am very impressed.

    I have been writing a weekly nature column for the Compass paper for about a year now, you can find them at http://www.compasspaper.com.

    Yours, Jan Lambert
    Charlestown NH

    November 17, 2010 at 1:37 am

  6. Tiki Pirie

    Mary,

    I just heard you on VPR, and beacame so interested in your conversation I had to look you up, I was especially drawn to your comments about how children are so interested in what you show them… I found your blog and then discovered your “Knee High” program for the very young! I am printing the information now and cannot wait to find a class to bring my 2 very young children to, Thank you for your gift of inspiration, and happy Thanksgiving too !

    Sincerely, Tiki

    November 25, 2010 at 1:03 am

  7. Hi Mary – so exciting to hear you on VPR the other week. You were excellent and it brought back lots of memories of times “in the field” at ELF. The book looks beautiful and I hope to be able to scoop up a copy next time I’m in a bookstore.

    December 1, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    • What fun to hear from you, Judy! You and your family have certainly made your mark on the Vermont gourmet market! Congratulations to you! So glad you like Nturally Curious — I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to put a lifetime’s passion between the covers of a book!

      December 11, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  8. Mary,
    We really enjoyed meeting you last night at Montshire Museum. Your book is captivating! I have gleaned so much from it already and I’m just getting started. Now I know that goldenrod galls are not necessarily good things to include in dry indoor arrangements, as they contain a fly larvae inside. Just one thing I’ve found useful so far. Now you’ve really wetted my appetite even more. Thanks! Vicki

    December 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm

  9. Mary:
    We would love to have you do an event at Bear Pond Books, Montpelier in February, if possible. Please contact me about this. Our events are on Tuesdays at 7PM.
    Thank you,
    Pat

    December 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm

  10. Wow, your photographs are incredible. I am drawn in and mesmerized by them. Just want to look and look. I left your site up on my computer and later that day my 7 year old called me over to look at the forget-me-nots. She was also drawn in by your photographs. Thanks, Ann

    January 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    • Thank you so much. Am I correct that you are in Killingworth, CT? I lived there for two years about 16 years ago! A nice part of the country. I visited your website and was most impressed!

      January 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

  11. Mary Jane Grace

    Enjoyed meeting you at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier last night. Was thrilled to find information on the Western Confier Seed Bug as I was flipping through this morning. i found one of those in my apartment about a week ago and was quite taken aback. Good to know what it is and look forward to learning more from your wonderful book.

    February 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  12. Sharon Hodge

    Mary, Hello! What a coincidence that the daughter of one of my fellow Museum of the Hudson Highlander’s workshop members posted a photo of your Barred Owl to show our Facebook friends what kind of owl she saw along her travels! Which led me to your blog! Nice to “see” you again! And you still have a Lab! Thornton was such a cool dog and I now am lucky enough to have one of my own, a black rescue named Lucca. We live in Montana and had been trying to organize another Museum reunion (we did have one in 1986), but now, with Facebook, so many of us are connected again, virtually, at least! Fondly, Sharon Hodge

    March 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    • Great to hear from you, Sharon! Are you still in the e.e. business? I bet you are loving Montana! Mary

      June 22, 2011 at 1:30 am

  13. Guy Lacombe

    Hello Ms Holland,

    I m born in Quebec and all my youth I ve investigated the Maine forest woods with my father observing beaver dam, black bear trails etc.
    Now I m leaving in Montreal for work and I miss so much enjoying the nature. I would like to let you know that I saw your interview on Vermont Public Television today and the passion in your eyes for nature gave me a peacefull moment in the heart of the big city!! Thanks for all these amazing pictures on your site.Every night will take a look with our children and this way , maybe I can left a litlle of my father heritage!!

    Thank for all that!! Guy

    PS. Sorry if I do text mistakes, I use to speak french!!

    May 17, 2011 at 1:48 am

    • I am deeply humbled by your note, Guy, and am thrilled to connect with a kindred spirit such as yourself. Thank you so much for writing me. Mary

      May 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm

  14. Peter Denis

    I watched you last night on Vermont PBS Profile. It was a most wonderful introduction of your Naturalist studies for me. I have a small property in the Eastern Townships of Quebec with a posd. We have frogs, peepers, a large snapper and some goldfish in the pond. It is interesting to see the blackbirds, robins and blue herons at work. We also have a multitude of deer, occasional foxes, racoons & skunks.
    Do you do lectures to Nature Groups. We are members of one and would like to propose you for a future meeting.
    Keep up your good work,

    Peter Denis

    May 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

  15. Mary,
    What fun to see your name and learn of your new book in the most recent issue of “Chip Notes” from The Birds of Vermont Museum! How well I remember our days working together, you at VINS and me in Montpelier at MEEP. I continue my learning of the natural world, now through my grandchildren. I cannot wait to get a copy of your book to share with them this summer! All the best to you. Doug
    P.S. The web site address is for a map I created in 1987 after moving to Asheville, NC. This year is the 25th printing of the map!

    June 4, 2011 at 11:34 am

  16. I just love tracking the seasons and no two are alike. Keep posting and keep blogging. Keep doing what you do.

    Kind Regards

    Tony Powell

    December 30, 2011 at 7:14 am

    • Thanks, Tony. We have lots of company out there, thank goodness!

      December 31, 2011 at 5:09 pm

  17. Greg Rozycki

    I grew up in Norwich, VT and was exposed to the fine penmanship of Ted Levin, a previous Valley News columnist who wrote mostly about naturalist topics. Now, as a grown adult living in Berkeley, CA, I get newspaper clips of your work from my father and recently visited your website for the first time. You have done an amazing job filling the shoes of my childhood favorite naturalist, and I now look forward to sharing your blog and articles with my 5 and 3 year old kids (so they have their own childhood naturalist model to emulate!). Keep up the great work!! Greg

    January 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    • Thank you so much, Greg. I admire Ted Levin’s work greatly, and am very flattered by your comments. How lucky your chidlren are to have you as a father, as I’m sure they’ll spend a large part of their childhood outdoors. Many thanks for writing, and for following my blog. If you haven’t seen a copy of my book, Naturally Curious, your children might enjoy looking at the pictures! Mary

      January 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

  18. Susan MacKenzie

    Hi Mary, when were you at SNR(E)? I too am a grad.

    January 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

  19. Sandy Chivers

    Mary, early this morning around 4:00. I was awakened to the very pungent smell of
    a skunk spray, wafting through my open windows. Thought they would still be hibernating but maybe a “winter” such as this one has them confused too. Walking around outside a few minutes ago, the smell still lingersl

    February 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    • Hi Sandy,
      Believe it or not, skunks start mating in February, peaking in March, so they are up and about, especially in the mild winter weather we’re having!

      February 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

  20. Al Stoops

    Found your book at the local library (Nelson, NH), and have been enjoying it. Plan to get my own copy soon. There’s an incredible amount of information in there!
    I enjoyed reading of your morning encounter with a black bear (p 270). I was surprised to find bear tracks in the snow a few weeks ago near here (Jan 16). Backtracked them for over an hour, saw no clear sign of feeding. One spot there was possible evidence of searching for a den site (tracks on and around a slash pile). You commented that “black bears [are] known to be aggressive…when…protecting their cubs”. But Dr. Lynn Rogers (bear expert in Minnesota) says that is true of grizzly bears, but not black bears. (website:) http://bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/bears-a-humans/39-what-if-i-get-between-a-black-bear-mother-and-her-cubs.html

    February 10, 2012 at 3:18 am

    • Yes, you’re totally right, black bears are not that large a threat even when they have cubs. I must have learned this after I wrote the book, if I didn’t mention it in there. Thanks for making me aware of this!

      February 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm

  21. jeanne dowd

    This is a fantastic site! My daughter loves it and we are especially looking forward to reading your book, Milkweed visitors

    February 15, 2012 at 3:51 am

  22. My friend Luanne Johnson recommended your blog. I’m mighty glad she did. Stop by my baby blog, sometime, if you ever have time, for doses of nature, along with a wide range of other “southern” (Martha’s Vineyard) topics.

    http://thetompostpile.wordpress.com/

    March 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    • Thanks, Tom. Your blog is very interesting and a bit more diverse than mine in subject matter. Keep up the good work!

      March 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

  23. Tiffany

    Hello,
    I’m a undergrad student at Metro State College in CO. I’m doing a poster project about Common Yellowthroat and the poster will be displayed at Chatfield Museum. May I have the permission to use the picture of the bird on your site? It’s amazing and it’s real-life body size. I will cite your name and every other details.
    I’d really appreciate your work and your help for my project,
    Thank you,
    Tiffany

    March 28, 2012 at 1:00 am

    • Hi Tiffany,
      Thank you so much for writing and asking permission. By all means, do use the photograph. I hope you do exceedingly well with your poster project! Mary

      March 28, 2012 at 1:19 pm

  24. Jennifer Waite

    Hi Mary! I love your site and it was great walking with you at Lull’s Brook on Earth Day! Here is the information about invasive honeysuckle – how it shades out natives, doesn’t supply good nutrition or safe nesting sites for birds, and even attracts mosquitos… http://williamrwilson.hubpages.com/hub/Junk-Food-for-the-Birds–Bush-Honeysuckle. There’s also good information at vtinvasives.org.
    Thanks, Jennifer

    April 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    • Thank you so much, Jennifer! I learned so much from you yesterday!

      April 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

  25. Your book and blog is the best! Thanks for all your continued postings, it’s amazing all the discoveries that you make and the details that you find and share.

    May 26, 2012 at 1:10 am

  26. Rick Wood

    Hi Mary, I would like to share your photos on Pinterest, but only with your permission. Would that be ok with you?

    July 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    • Certainly. I’ll have to see exactly what Pinterest is!

      July 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

  27. Ann

    We really enjoy your site and share stories with the family that hasn’t quite made the leap to regular Internet use. Thank you.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

  28. Michael

    Hello – can i please get a copy of your article that appeared in Monday’s (Oct 15th) Valley News? It’s the first time i have ever seen your column and greatly enjoyed it. Coincidentally, it corresponds directly to several topics discussed this past weekend with friends. I’d like to send them the article. Thanks.

    October 18, 2012 at 12:28 am

  29. “About Naturally Curious and Mary Holland Naturally
    Curious with Mary Holland” was a terrific blog post and therefore I really was indeed extremely happy to read it.
    Thanks for your effort,Lincoln

    January 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

  30. Sandy Chivers

    Mary, I have seen a huge decrease in winter birds around my house in the last 2-3 years. The crows in my area seem to be the only ones around. Every day I see them flying over in huge, huge masses. Would their presence keep even blue jays away? It’s very disheartening. Sandy

    January 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm

  31. Hi Sandy,
    If you look on my January 1, 2013 blog post, you can read about roosting crows — on their way to and from their roosting site, they can literally turn the sky black. Perhaps this is what you’re observing? That would not discourage birds from coming to your feeders. I have heard this from others and advise anyone with this concern to contact the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for the latest information on bird populations in the Northeast.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

  32. Jeanne

    We saw two bobcats at 11:30 today walking on the ice on blow-me-down brook off
    Stage Rd in Plainfield, NH. There were 4 of us and we all agreed they were bobcats and we had just read you column in the Valley News two days before. Very exciting!!

    February 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    • Wow! How thrilling, and how lucky you were to be in the right place at the right time! Thanks so much for letting me know about this sighting!

      February 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      • Jeanne

        Unfortunately done of us had a camera! I guess it is mating season.

        February 8, 2013 at 2:39 am

  33. Marty Green

    Hi, Mary–I love your column in the Harvard Press. I also have a question: Would my old dogloo-style animal shelter be a good thing to leave out for wildlife (and/or our resident feral cat)? Or is it just an invitation to something I don’t want, e.g. skunks?

    February 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    • Hi Marty,
      I can’t promise you what you might attract, but I’ll bet you do attract something, just as a pile of brush or stonewall does. Might be fun to lure creatures just so you can check out their tracks — even skunks!

      February 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm

  34. Kiki Schneider

    Great articles

    March 26, 2013 at 1:45 am

  35. Elaine Fabian

    What a pleasure to have Mary in our class today. The students had lots of stories to tell Mary and she had lots of great advice for students in the wild.Thank you. Elaine Fabian’s

    April 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    • Thank you so much, Elaine! It was a treat for me to spend the day with Moultonborough Central School’s fine teachers and students!

      April 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  36. Wonderful book Naturally Curious. Thank you for your unfailing attention to nature’s unfolding. Look forward to hearing you speak soon. http://www.butterflywomanpublishing.com Mary Ellen Ryall

    May 11, 2013 at 10:49 am

  37. suecahalane

    Hi Mary! Beautiful photographs! Is there a way to follow your blog via Bloglovin? I would love to receive your new posts. I’m your newest follower!

    ✿Sue✿
    Science for Kids Blog

    June 26, 2013 at 8:51 am

    • Hi Sue,
      So glad you found my blog! I am not exactly technologically gifted — all I know is that one clicks on “sign up” and the blog is automatically mailed to you. Don’t know if it’s possible to have it sent to another blog…am looking forward to seeing your blog, as well. Mary

      June 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm

  38. Llyn Ellison

    Hi Mary,
    I don’t know how else to reach you in order for you to change my email address. I have entered it below. I don’t want to miss any of your amazing postings.
    Thank You
    Llyn

    September 10, 2013 at 2:46 am

    • WordPress is the only place you can make any changes to your subscription. I hope you can find a way to contact them personally — I haven’t managed to do that, so am not much help to you. Good luck! Mary

      September 10, 2013 at 2:36 pm

  39. Richard Morse

    Hi; I got your book to help add little facts to my teachings. This summer brought me to Pillsbury state park to enlighten. When I meet the large amount of mother turtles laying their eggs I new I wanted to see the babies hatch. I referred to your book and observed and waited, coincidentally the day your article in the valley news on The Courage of Baby Turtles came out, so did the turtles. I love baby Turtles and have Pictures if you would like! Richard

    September 27, 2013 at 12:27 am

  40. Congratulations, Mary!

    I have nominated your blog for the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award.

    More about this nomination is at

    http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/blog-of-the-year-2013-award-thanks-again-horty/

    November 24, 2013 at 11:39 am

    • How very, very kind of you. Thank you so much! I’m always glad to hear that people value what I do! Mary

      November 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      • Well deserved :) All the best for you, your blog and wildlife!

        November 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm

  41. Hi Mary!

    It was wonderful hearing you speak in Putney today. I was the girl who liked your white pen. I kind of got nervous and felt a little silly after! What I meant to say is that your passion for animals and the natural world really moved me. I’m always so caught up in my “modern life” that I sometimes forget that there is a big, vast world of amazing things just waiting to be discovered and explored. Thank you so much for the reminder!

    All the best,
    – Megan

    January 20, 2014 at 2:52 am

    • Thank you so much, Megan. I felt exactly as you do about that particular pen, and my sister, who introduced me to them and gave me several, will be thrilled! I’m glad you came to the program yesterday, and hope you enjoy my blog! Many thanks. Mary

      January 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm

  42. Pete Bouman

    Hi Mary -I am shipping a copy of Naturally Curious to all four “huts” in the Maine Huts and Trails system. Each backcountry hut has a small library/lounge and your book will hopefully form the core of a new naturalist collection. I am adding a few other titles as well. Love your book! My young children (2 girls, ages 4 and 7) also enjoyed the milkweed and fox books- thanks for a wonderful gift to our family-
    Pete Bouman

    March 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    • Hi Pete,
      What an extraordinarily generous person you are. I know that the Dartmouth Outing Club has shelters/huts that also have copies, and the feedback has been wonderful. Many thanks for your generosity. Mary

      March 28, 2014 at 7:01 pm

  43. Pingback: Jeepers Peepers! How to make an Amphibian Happy | The L.A.N.D. Line

  44. Nancy Goodman

    Hi Mary,

    I used to get the daily blog emailed to me. Then it stopped. I have tried to sign back up for it and still have not gotten it again. Any ideas on why it is not working or why it stopped. Thanks.

    Nancy

    October 1, 2014 at 12:57 am

    • Hi Nancy,
      I’m so sorry. WordPress handles all of that end of things. I will try to get in touch with them about this. If you do, as well, then maybe between us we can fix it! Mary

      October 1, 2014 at 1:33 am

      • Nancy Goodman

        How would I contact WorldPress. I have a hard time finding any contact info on the website.

        Nancy

        October 6, 2014 at 2:06 am

  45. Nancy, the only way I know is to go to their support website…a sometimes frustrating experience. There may be a better way, but I don’t know it! http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

    October 7, 2014 at 12:11 am

    • Nancy Goodman

      I cannot seem to get anything from the website. It has been 20 days and nothing. Oh well I guess I will just give up and not bother getting this anymore.

      Nancy

      October 28, 2014 at 2:34 am

      • Hi Nancy,
        I am so sorry. I think WordPress has the worst customer service known to man, and I am not even sure they HAVE customer service for anyone who does not have a blog. I have no way of contacting them for you, either. Have you tried unsubscribing and subscribing again? Again, I am so sorry. Mary

        October 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

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