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Since 1970, we have celebrated Earth Day on April 22. It’s a day to reflect on the environment and what we can do to protect it. For naturalists, though, every day is Earth Day! What is a naturalist? Simply, it’s anybody who observes and studies nature, looks at the connections between plants, animals, and the environment, and is a caretaker and steward of the Earth. So here are some books by, and about, naturalists both famous and not so famous:

What to Read: Naturalists

The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner (in the library): Charles Darwin started to formulate his theory of evolution after seeing the way finches had adapted to different conditions in the Galapagos islands. This book looks at the work of late 20th century naturalists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, who studied the finches on one of the islands over the course of more than 20 years and observed the evolution of their beaks as it happened.

Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty (in the library): Dara is 16 years old and this memoir chronicles a year in his life through his connection to the natural world in his native Northern Ireland as well as his life as a climate activist.

Naturalist by Edward O. Wilson, a graphic adaptation by Jim Ottaviani (in the library): Edward O. Wilson conducted groundbreaking research on ants; his most famous discoveries were on ant communication and the organization of ant communities. Using his own words from his memoir, Naturalist (also in the library), this graphic novel describes Wilson’s life-long love of the natural world and his understanding of the importance of biodiversity.

A Passion for Nature by Donald Worster (in the library): 19th century naturalist, John Muir, expressed his love for the natural world through his writing, most famously about California’s Sierra Nevada and Yosemite. This biography describes how he helped turn Yosemite into a National Park (as well as many other places) and found the Sierra Club.

More Nature

John Muir Laws is a naturalist, artist, author, and educator. This page of his website gives you absolutely brilliant step by step instructions for drawing all manner of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, and plants. As a non-artist, I managed to draw a recognizable frog in about 20 minutes – come into the library and have a look!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website has everything you need to know about birds and birdwatching. You can join a citizen science project and you can also download their extremely helpful Merlin app to help you identify birds by sight and sound.

Have an environmentally friendly week and see you in the library! 




Pronouns: she/her

Librarian and 10th Grade Mentor