Former Program Coordinator, Horticulture
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Monday, December 21, 2015
Reviewer and nature photographer Teresa DeWitt ('13) shares a few special finds.
Butterflies by Ronald Ornstein;photography by Thomas Marent. Firefly Publishing, 2015
Butterflies is a stunning photographic study.Thomas Marent has a gift for capturing images on film, and infinite patience waiting for the perfect moment to do so. Its pages are populated by the most beautiful butterflies, skippers, and moths from around the world. Each photograph is magical, possessed of exceptional clarity. Even the scales of the wings have been brought into plain view.
Zoologist and conservationist Ronald Ornstein provides a very good introduction to the Lepidoptera family, beginning with the rare fossil records to today's understanding of this branch of the insect world. The collaborators then study each branch of the butterfly family, illustrating the chapters with butterflies from around the globe.Each photo is accompanied by a short treatment filled with facts about each insect.
It is well-written and well thought out, and readers of all levels of education will be able to learn something new as they travel the chapters.
If the reader wants a book that lists habitat, life history, rarity, caterpillar food sources, ranges, and probable time to observe adult butterflies on the wing in Illinois, then the INHS field guide Butterflies of Illinois by Jeffords, Post, and Wiker is highly recommended. But for a book with photos of indescribable beauty to thumb through on a cold winter night, reach for Butterflies.
For more information about this book and its creators, visit Firefly Publishing's website.
If you've ever wondered about seeds and why they've adopted their shapes, colors, and dispersal methods, you will enjoy this enchanting book new to the Champaign Public Library's shelves. Meet Seeing Seeds: A Journey into the World of Seedheads, Pods, and Fruit, from Timber Press. The photography within is stunning. Robert Llewellyn has produced superb illustrations by taking a series of macroscopic light-table photographs of each subject at differing depths of focus, and uses a computer program to bring the layers together so every bit of the seed pods are in clear focus.
The text by Teri Dunn Chace is a well-written explanation of the evolution of seeds. As a writer and contributor of both books and gardening magazine articles, her language is both interesting and informative, drawing the reader further into the text. The talents of the two collaborators is well-balanced in this volume.
More information about this book is available at the Timber Press website.
During Master Naturalist classes, students are encouraged to record their observations every day, as a way of connecting to the natural world, whether deep in the woods or your own back yard.
For those who who are not quite sure how to begin, start by paging through The Curious Nature Guide by Clare Walker Leslie. It's a charming work that takes the reader by the hand and shows them her own journals, effortlessly teaching the reader how to see and experience nature with all the senses. The pages overflow with pencil, pen, and watercolor sketches juxtaposed with photographs. She continually makes simple suggestions to improve observations and to stimulate curiosity.
Find this book and give yourself time to explore it front to back. Then start your next observational journey with a firm footing and an open heart.
More information about the author and her book can be found at Storey Publishing's website.