The Joys of Nature

Spring has returned! With spring comes budding trees, mating birds and bees, blooming wildflowers, and a reason to get outside to enjoy nature. This reading list is a companion for your forays outdoors, where you're guaranteed to lower your anxiety level, as well as an assortment of books about the natural world. Now, go get outside!

Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of the Midwest (Kaufman Field Guides) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780618456949
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 5th, 2015

Bring this complete field guide with you on your nature visits to identify the birds, mammals, trees, wildflowers, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, spiders, mushrooms, ferns, rocks, and sky of the Midwest. Detailed descriptions and photographs will help you along the way.

Michigan's Best Nature Centers and Wilderness Preserves Cover Image
ISBN: 9781591936800
Availability: In Stock at Publisher - Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Adventure Publications - April 11th, 2017

This book by Michigan native Matt Forster is an introduction to 54 wilderness preserves and nature centers throughout Michigan. Be sure to have your Kaufman Field Guide to Nature with you.

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50 Hikes in Michigan (Explorer's 50 Hikes) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781682683293
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Published: Countryman Press - May 28th, 2019

Michigan’s Lower Peninsula offers extremely diverse terrain, from beaches that are home to shipwrecks and lighthouses, streams populated with trout, and wildflower and orchid fields to spaces with unusual geological formations, sand dunes, and steep climbs, and beech forests perfect for birding. Each chapter begins with an overview of each hike: the type of hike, total distance, time, difficulty, highlights, maps, and trailhead GPS coordinates. Whether setting out in the Sleeping Bear region to observe shipwrecks, open dunes, and beach walking on the South Manitou Island trail, this guide (with 10 bonus hikes!) is the perfect companion.

Best Hikes Detroit and Ann Arbor: The Greatest Views, Wildlife, and Forest Strolls (Best Hikes Near) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781493038404
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Published: Falcon Press Publishing - February 1st, 2019

Each featured trail is perfect for the urban and suburbanite hard-pressed to find outdoor activities close to home. Every chapter includes up-to-date hike specs, a brief hike description, directional cues, and a detailed map.

Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard Cover Image
ISBN: 9781604699005
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Published: Timber Press - February 4th, 2020

If you’re motivated to do something good for the environment, this book is the blueprint you need. It shows how to turn your yard into a conservation corridor that provide for native wildlife. 

The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781426221019
Published: National Geographic - August 25th, 2020

Ecologist Enric Sala makes a clear case for why protecting nature is our best health insurance, and why it makes economic sense. He wants to change the world. In this compelling book, he shows us how.

The Natural Navigator: The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide (Natural Navigation) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781615190461
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Published: The Experiment - June 5th, 2012

This guide helps us rediscover what our ancestors long understood―that a windswept tree, the depth of a puddle, or a trill of birdsong can help us find our way, if we know what to look and listen for. Adventurer and navigation expert Tristan Gooley unlocks the directional clues hidden in the sun, moon, stars, clouds, weather patterns, lengthening shadows, changing tides, plant growth, and the habits of wildlife. 

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313652
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Published: Milkweed Editions - September 8th, 2020

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things --- Stories from Science and Observation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781771643887
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Published: Greystone Books - March 5th, 2019

Master storyteller Peter Wohlleben takes readers on a thought-provoking exploration of the vast natural systems that make life on Earth possible. In this tour of an almost unfathomable world, he describes the fascinating interplay between animals and plants.

The Wonders of Nature Cover Image
ISBN: 9781465485366
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Published: DK Children - September 3rd, 2019

Storybook descriptions and surprising facts about their natural history will capture your child’s attention. From opals to orchids and tapirs to toadstools, this beautiful collection brings more than 100 incredible items from the natural world to life. Throughout the pages of this guide to the natural world, you’ll discover the myths and legends of living creatures and minerals.

Do You Know Where the Animals Live?: Discovering the Incredible Creatures All Around Us Cover Image
By Peter Wohlleben, Shelley Tanaka (Translator)
ISBN: 9781771646598
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Published: Greystone Kids - May 3rd, 2021

From the New York Times-bestselling author of "The Hidden Life of Trees" and "The Inner Life of Animals" comes a book for kids ages 8-12 about animals at home and around the world. This wonderful introduction to the animal kingdom features playful questions, fun quizzes, and activities that will help kids study animals in their own backyards—and make the world a better place for them.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate--Discoveries from a Secret World Cover Image
By Peter Wohlleben, Tim Flannery (Foreword by), Jane Billinghurst (Translator)
ISBN: 9781771642484
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Published: Greystone Books - September 13th, 2016

Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.

Trees of Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780691212739
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Published: Princeton University Press - March 2nd, 2021

An informative illustrated book about eighty of the world’s most important and remarkable trees. Adams investigates those trees that human cultures have found most useful across the world and ages: trees that yield timber and other materials of immense practical value, trees that bear edible fruits and nuts, trees that deliver special culinary ingredients and traditions, and trees that give us dyes, essences, and medicines.

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Around the World in 80 Trees Cover Image
ISBN: 9781786276063
Availability: Backordered
Published: Laurence King Publishing - August 11th, 2020

Environmentalist Jonathan Drori uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable. From the trees of Britain, to India's sacred banyan tree, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration - not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup.

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The Oak Papers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063037946
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Published: HarperOne - February 16th, 2021

Professor James Canton spent two years meditating beneath the welcoming shelter of the massive 800-year-old Honywood Oak tree in North Essex, England. While considering the direction of his own life, he began to contemplate the existence of this colossus tree. Standing in England for centuries, the oak would have been a sapling when the Magna Carta was signed in 1215.

The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643260440
Availability: Backordered
Published: Timber Press - March 30th, 2021

Learn what is going on in oak trees month by month, highlighting the seasonal cycles of life, death, and renewal. From woodpeckers who collect and store hundreds of acorns for sustenance to the beauty of jewel caterpillars, this book illuminates and celebrates the wonders that occur right in our own backyards.

What Is a Bird?: An Exploration of Anatomy, Physiology, Behavior, and Ecology Cover Image
By Tony D. Williams (Editor), Scott McWilliams (Contribution by), Julia A. Clarke (Contribution by)
ISBN: 9780691200163
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Published: Princeton University Press - December 8th, 2020

A large-format, beautifully illustrated look at the natural history of birds. "What Is a Bird?" explores all aspects of these remarkable creatures, providing an up-close look at their morphology, unique internal anatomy and physiology, fascinating and varied behavior, and ecology. 

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The Meaning of Birds Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781643131399
Published: Pegasus Books - May 14th, 2019

A passionate and informative celebration of birds and their ability to help us understand the world we live in. As well as exploring how birds achieve the miracle of flight; why birds sing; what they tell us about the seasons of the year and what their presence tells us about the places they inhabit, "The Meaning of Birds" muses on the uses of feathers, the drama of raptors, the slaughter of pheasants, the infidelities of geese, and the strangeness of feeling sentimental about blue tits while enjoying a chicken sandwich.

Why Birds Sing: A Journey Into the Mystery of Bird Song Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780465071364
Published: Basic Books - April 4th, 2006

An exploration of birdsong that blends scientific research with a deep understanding of musical beauty and form. Drawing on conversations with neuroscientists, ecologists, and composers, it is the first book to investigate the elusive question of why birds sing and what their song means to both avian and human ears. 

The Glitter in the Green: In Search of Hummingbirds Cover Image
ISBN: 9781541618190
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Published: Basic Books - April 20th, 2021

Acclaimed natural history Jon Dunn follows the trail of the remarkable hummingbird all over the world.

A Naturalist's Book of Wildflowers: Celebrating 85 Native Plants in North America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781682685969
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Published: Countryman Press - March 23rd, 2021

In this guide to native wild plants, Martin provides profiles of 85 wild plants and flowers found across North America, each accompanied by illustrated watercolor paintings. With dozens of notes, arrows, and details, each chapter encourages the reader to look at the plants as a naturalist would, opening up a new way of seeing nature. She gives details on where the plants can be found, how they grow, how to identify them, and what natural properties they each have. 

Lessons from Plants Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674241282
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Published: Harvard University Press - April 6th, 2021

An exploration of how plant behavior and adaptation offer valuable insights for human thriving.

The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild Cover Image
ISBN: 9780691166766
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Published: Princeton University Press - May 28th, 2019

Discover what scientists are learning about the behavior, social life, and survival strategies of honey bees living outside the beekeeper’s hive and how wild honey bees may hold the key to reversing the alarming die-off of the planet’s managed honey bee populations.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525510321
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Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 13th, 2021

When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.

Fantastic Fungi: Expanding Consciousness, Alternative Healing, Environmental Impact // Official Book of Smash Hit Documentary  Cover Image
By Louie Schwartzberg (Foreword by), Eugenia Bone (Contributions by), Suzanne Simard (Contributions by), Roland Griffiths, PHD (Contributions by), Jay Harman (Contributions by), William RIchards, PHD (Contributions by), Andrew Weil, MD (Contributions by), Michael Pollan (Contributions by), Paul Stamets (Editor), Paul Stamets (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781683837046
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Published: Earth Aware Editions - August 27th, 2019

Viewed in over 100 countries and selling hundreds of thousands of tickets on the way to finishing 2019 with a rare 100% Tomato meter rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Louie Schwartzberg’s documentary film "Fantastic Fungi" has brought the mycological revolution to the world stage. This is the film’s official companion book, expanding on the documentary’s message: that mushrooms and fungi will change your life– and save the planet. 

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species Cover Image
ISBN: 9780262044486
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Published: The MIT Press - October 20th, 2020

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This is the thought-provoking premise of The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species. Each life forms explains a key aspect about life on Earth, from the sponge that seems to be a plant but is really an animal to the almost extinct soft-shelled turtle deemed extremely unique and therefore extremely precious. These examples reveal how life itself is arranged across time and space and how humanity increasingly dominates that vision.

The Gentle Art of Tramping Cover Image
ISBN: 9781448217243
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Published: Bloomsbury Reader - July 9th, 2019

Tramping is a way of approach to nature, to humankind, to a nation, to beauty, to life itself. Originally published in 1926, this guide is for anyone who has dreamed of taking to the road with nothing more than a bag full of essentials and big ideas. It gives guidance on walking, being open to discovery and being kind.

Wilderness Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781423607120
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Published: Gibbs Smith - April 1st, 2011

John Muir's successes dot the landscape and are evident in all the natural features that bear his name: forests, lakes, trails, and glaciers. Here are some of Muir's finest wilderness essays, ranging in subject matter from Alaska to Yellowstone, from Oregon to the High Sierra.

A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year Cover Image
ISBN: 9781849946223
Availability: Backordered
Published: Batsford - September 3rd, 2020

Keep this beautiful collection of nature poems for each night of the year by your bedside and enjoy a dreamy stroll through the natural world and its wonders just before you go to sleep.

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry Cover Image
By Camille T. Dungy (Editor)
ISBN: 9780820334318
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Published: University of Georgia Press - December 1st, 2009

This is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated.

The Lost Words Cover Image
By Robert MacFarlane, Jackie Morris (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781487005382
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Published: Anansi International - October 2nd, 2018

In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these “lost words included acornadderbluebelldandelionfernheronkingfishernewtotter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachmentblogbroadbandbullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions ― the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual ― became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.

The Lost Spells Cover Image
By Robert MacFarlane, Jackie Morris (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781487007799
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Published: Anansi International - October 27th, 2020

"The Lost Spells" evokes the wonder of everyday nature, conjuring up red foxes, birch trees, jackdaws, and more in poems and illustrations that flow between the pages and into readers’ minds.

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A Cloud a Day: (Cloud Appreciation Society book, Uplifting Positive Gift, Cloud Art book, Daydreamers book) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781452180960
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Published: Chronicle Books - November 5th, 2019

 "A Cloud a Day" inspires us to keep our heads in the clouds with the 365 gorgeous photographs of cloud formations.