Looking for a great book with a theme surrounding nature? We’ve got you covered! We asked some of the PLAN team to share their favorites.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Author: Bill Bryson
Recommended by: Seamus Briody, Conservation Assistant
“I’d list this as a top pick because Bryson perfectly balances reverence for the natural world while bringing humor and levity to his time on the Appalachian Trail.”
Goodreads: The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Author: , ,
Recommended by: Becky Christner
“It brought into sharp focus how much we depend upon industrialized agriculture, even with the best intentions. Growing up in suburbia, my family didn’t have a plot of land to grow enough vegetables for our family of 10, but my Mom was undeterred: we had a small garden with tomatoes, carrots and peppers, and Mom would drag me down to the public market on weekends to buy fresh vegetables from local farmers, long before “locavore” was even a word. Barbara Kingsolver weaves a wonderfully written tale of the challenges that come with adopting a local centric diet, with self-deprecating humor that keeps you engaged and laughing.”
Goodreads: Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
Author: Robin Wall Kimmerer
Recommended by: Michelle Culbert, Associate Director
Goodreads: As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.
The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring
Recommended by: Rob Davies, Executive Director
Goodreads: Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees , Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored…
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
Author: Merlin Sheldrake
Recommended by: Anna Gomez Domenech, Communications Manager
Goodreads: …In this captivating adventure, Merlin Sheldrake explores the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that sustain nearly all living systems. They can solve problems without a brain, stretching traditional definitions of ‘intelligence’, and can manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history,..The ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘Wood Wide Web’, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet they live their lives largely out of sight, and over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented…
Adirondack Archangels: Guardians of the High Peaks
Edited by Christine Bourjade and Alex Radmanovich. Adirondack Archangels comprises 38 essays.
Recommended by: Olivia Hunt, Education and Conservation Intern
Goodreads: Adirondack Archangels is a collection of essays by and about individuals who have worked to protect the Adirondack Park and its highest peaks. The writers and subjects are people whose life trajectories and sense of adventure have bound them to the Park, ultimately casting them as guardians of this unique resource. This book was created to honor the memory of Edwin H. ( Ketch ) Ketchledge, Ph. D. (1924–-2010), whose dedication, resourcefulness, and passion led him to influence that protection process at a critical time. Ketch prompted creation of one of the most acclaimed environmental programs in the the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program, which focuses on educating hikers, protecting the alpine ecosystem, and training the next generation of summit stewards…
The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age
Recommended by: Bonnie Nightingale, Stewardship Manager
Goodreads: As a former senior advisor in the Obama administration, [Venkataraman] led efforts to build partnerships between government and business to combat climate change, and she learned firsthand that we have forgotten how to talk about thinking ahead. Drawing from her own experience and new research in biology, psychology, economics, and beyond, she identifies the most effective ways we can learn to think clearly about long-term decisions. She explains the crucial roles that biology, the environment, and culture play in our decision-making, and she highlights the surprisingly human and achievable changes we can implement in our lives to make smarter, more thoughtful choices.
The result is The Optimist’s Telescope, a book brimming with useful ideas and insights into understanding how we can think about the future more clearly and make better decisions about it.
Resilience Thinking: Sustaining Ecosystems and People in a Changing World
Author: , ,
Recommended by: Tori Roberts, Conservation Project Manager
“During my studies for my Masters in Regional Planning from SUNY Albany we were required to read “Resilience thinking”. I really enjoyed this book as a friendly introduction into the concepts of resiliency and exploring the complexities of ecological and social interactions.”
Goodreads: Increasingly, cracks are appearing in the capacity of communities, ecosystems, and landscapes to provide the goods and services that sustain our planet’s well-being. The response from most quarters has been for “more of the same” that created the situation in the first more control, more intensification, and greater efficiency.
All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
All We Can Save is an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement.
Recommended by: Magnolia Roosa, Education and Conservation Intern
Goodreads: Provocative and illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.
…All We Can Save illuminates the expertise and insights of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States–scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, innovators, wonks, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race–and aims to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. These women offer a spectrum of ideas and insights for how we can rapidly, radically reshape society…
The Island of Sea Women
Author: Lisa See
Recommended by: Maria Trabka, Special Projects Manager
Goodreads: Set on the Korean island of Jeju, The Island of Sea Women follows Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls from very different backgrounds, as they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective. Over many decades—through the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s, World War II, the Korean War, and the era of cellphones and wet suits for the women divers—Mi-ja and Young-sook develop the closest of bonds. Nevertheless, their differences are impossible to ignore: Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, forever marking her, and Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers. After hundreds of dives and years of friendship, forces outside their control will push their relationship to the breaking point…