There are innumerable resources for anyone interested in identifying any part of the natural world — field guides to feathers, fungi, tracks, butterflies, mosses, bird nests — the list goes on and on. What has been lacking, in my opinion, is an introduction to the art of discovering what it is that you may then wish to identify.
If you are very lucky in your lifetime, you may cross paths with someone who heightens your awareness of the natural world that surrounds you and teaches you how to look at it and ask the questions that will provide you with insight into it. These are skills that one rarely finds in a book. To the good fortune of all who open the pages of The Naturalist’s Notebook – An Observation Guide and 5-year Calendar Journal for Tracking Changes in the Natural World Around You, this book does this and more. Not only does it present the reader with the keys to observing the natural world around them, it provides the means to record these observations so that the daily details one observes are preserved for posterity and for comparison in years to come.
I can’t think of a better way for a budding or experienced naturalist to start a new year than to open the pages of this book and delve into the words that will allow them to connect themselves more intimately to the world that is right outside their door. Not only would they reap the benefit of the morsels within this book, but all royalties from the sale of The Naturalist’s Notebook are donated to conservation and environmental education. Nathaniel T. Wheelwright and Bernd Heinrich have given the world a true gift – one that could ultimately affect the future of this fragile planet we live on.
NB: In addition to this publication, Nathaniel Wheelwright has produced an exceptionally informative and entertaining series of short videos about the natural history of eastern North American plants and animals: https://research.bowdoin.edu/nature-moments/.
Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.