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SUMAC North, Kids Activities
Sweat Bee on Staghorn Sumac flowers, Grundy Lake PP

Book Recommendations

I often find myself scrounging the internet for information, recommendations on good nature books etc. There are plenty of lists out there, but I hope you will find these helpful and relevant to local Ontario flora/fauna as you start (or continue) your journey as a naturalist!

At each of my workshops/programs, I will be bringing along a selection of my own field guides to share. You can find out more about my outdoor programming here!

Field Guides

Animal Tracks of Ontario (Lone Pine)

Author(s): Ian Sheldon

Animal Tracks of Ontario field guide

This was my very first ID book, it's small, has some great information tidbits about each species and is a great beginner guide for tracking (or even IDing mammals, though it's in B/W).

Field Guide to The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Park

Author(s): Colin D. Jones, Andrea Kingsley, Peter Burke and Matt Holder.

Dragonflies & Damselflies of Algonquin Provinical Park field guide

My all time favorite dragons and damsel ID book! While it's specifically for Algonquin species, it covers most species you will see in Ontario and is by far the easiest to use.

Photo Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Ontario

Author(s): ?

Photo guide to Ontario Reptiles and Amphibians field guide

Another small, compact guide, this one is perfect for taking out in the field with you and is on the cheaper end.

The ROM Field Guide to amphibians and reptiles of Ontario

Author(s): Ross D. MacCulloch

ROM field guide to Ontario Reptiles and Amphibians

While I personally use the Photo Field Guide (above), we had this guide at the park and it is beautiful, though more expensive.

Metamorphosis: Ontario's Amphibians at all stages of Development

Author(s): Peter R. Mills

field guide to Ontario's Amphibians at all stages of development

While I don't have this just yet, this is a first of it's kind field guide to tadpoles and salamander larvae (written & illustrated by Peter Mills while he was working at Algonquin Provincial Park)!!

The ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario

Author(s): Peter W. Hall, Colin D. Jones, Antonia Guidotti and Brad Hubley

ROM butterflies of Ontario field guide

A beautiful guide to Butterflies of Ontario, on my own list to get.

KAUFMAN: Field Guide to Butterflies of North America

Author(s): Jim P. Brock & Kenn Kaufman

Kaufman Butteflies of North America field guide

This is my current Butterfly field guide, and while I enjoy it many species cannot be found in Ontario (as it is a North American Guide).

 Compact Guide to Ontario Birds

Author(s): Lone Pine

Lone Pine compact guide to birds of Ontario

This guide covers some of the most common Ontario Bird species, but certainly doesn't cover all of them. It;s a great beginner guide due to it's price and ease of use.

The ROM guide to Freshwater Fishes of Ontario

Author(s): Erling Holm, Nick Mandrak, Mary Burridge

ROM field guide to freshwater fish of Ontario

Not many Ontario specific guides that I'm aware of (please let me know if you have any favorites!), however this guide by the ROM is easy to use and useful when in the field.

The Book of Eggs: A Life-Size Guide to the Eggs of Six Hundred of the World's Bird Species

Author(s): Mark E. Hauber

The Book of Eggs by Mark E. Hauber

This is one of the pricier books, but if you're a bird enthusiast this is a gorgeous book we used to have at the park and is gorgeous to flip through!

A Guide to North American Species: Bird Feathers

Author(s): S. David Scott and Casey McFarland

Bird Feathers field guide by David Scott and Casey McFarland

While there are online feather guides, if you want one to bring in the field, this guide is invaluable for identifying feathers!

Field Guides

Nature Books for Children

Over and Under the Snow

Author(s): Kate Messner
Artist(s): Christopher Silas Neal

Over and Under Snow by Kate Messner

From the back cover:

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white.

But under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snowshoe hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals who live through the winter, safe and warm.

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW takes readers on a cross country ski trip through the winter woods to discover the secret world of animals living under the snow.

Over and Under the Pond

Author(s): Kate Messner
Artist(s): Christopher Silas Neal

Over and Under Pond by Kate Messner

From the Author:

In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

The Listening Walk

Author(s): Paul Showers
Artist(s): Aliki

The Listening Walk by Paul Showers

From the back cover:

Put on your socks and shoes—and don't forget your ears! We're going on a listening walk. Shhhhh. Do not talk. Do not hurry. Get ready to fill your ears with a world of wonderful and surprising sounds.

Hide and Sneak

Author(s): Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak
Artist(s): Vladyana Krykorka

Hide and Sneak by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak

From the back cover:

"Don't Go too far away. An Ijiraq might hide you, and... no one will ever find you again."

Her mother's warning, however, does little to stop Allashua from following the mythical creature to his special hiding place. The fun-loving Ijiraq leads her over hills, across a field, then through a creek until they finally arrive at a cave. As they wait to be "found", the Ijiraw continues to laugh and sing, but Allashua is getting hungry and starting to miss her parents. When the mischievous creature refuses to take her back home, Allashua finds a clever way to outwit him-but how will she find her own way back?

Their website also shows how to pronounce Ijiraq and Qitusuk.
Check it out here!

We Are Water Protectors

Author(s): Carole Lindstrom
Artist(s): Michaela Goade

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstorm

From the inside cover:

Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all... When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people's water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth's most sacred resource.

Nature Books (Children)

Nature Books for Adults

The Hidden Life of Trees

Author(s): Peter Wohlleben

Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohleben

From the back cover:

Are trees social beings? In The Hidden Life of Trees forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, 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. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration that he has observed in his woodland.

Bringing Nature Home

Author(s): Douglas W. Tallamy

Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy

From the back cover:

“A fascinating study of the trees, shrubs, and vines that feed the insects, birds, and other animals in the suburban garden.” —The New York Times
As development and habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. In Bringing Nature Home, Douglas W. Tallamy reveals the unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals.
But there is an important and simple step we can all take to help reverse this alarming trend: everyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity by simply choosing native plants. By acting on Douglas Tallamy's practical and achievable recommendations, we can all make a difference.

Last Child in the Woods

Author(s): Richard Louv

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

From the back cover:

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in―and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation―he calls it nature deficit―to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression.

Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind.

Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they're right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development―physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Yet sending kids outside to play is increasingly difficult. Computers, television, and video games compete for their time, of course, but it's also our fears of traffic, strangers, even virus-carrying mosquitoes―fears the media exploit―that keep children indoors. Meanwhile, schools assign more and more homework, and there is less and less access to natural areas.

Parents have the power to ensure that their daughter or son will not be the "last child in the woods," and this book is the first step toward that nature-child reunion.

Silent Spring

Author(s): Rachel Carson

Silent Springs by Rachel Carson

From the back cover:

First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. “Silent Spring became a runaway bestseller, with international reverberations . . . [It is] well crafted, fearless and succinct . . . Even if she had not inspired a generation of activists, Carson would prevail as one of the greatest nature writers in American letters” (Peter Matthiessen, for Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the Century).
This fortieth anniversary edition celebrates Rachel Carson’s watershed book with a new introduction by the author and activist Terry Tempest Williams and a new afterword by the acclaimed Rachel Carson biographer Linda Lear, who tells the story of Carson’s courageous defense of her truths in the face of ruthless assault from the chemical industry in the year following the publication of Silent Spring and before her untimely death in 1964.

Nature Books (Adults)
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