Once upon a jungle book cover

Once upon a jungle

Laura Knowles

jE Knowles
Picture Books, Nature, Animals

Casey's picture

This rhyming text is an eye-catching and fun first look at the jungle as an ecosystem and the food chain found within. -Casey

Gunflint burning : fire in the boundary waters book cover

Gunflint burning : fire in the boundary waters

Cary J. Griffith

363.379 /Griffith
Science, Nature

On May 5, 2007, two days into his twenty-seventh trip to the Boundary Waters, Stephen Posniak found a perfect spot on Ham Lake and set about making a campfire. Over the next two weeks, the fire he set would consume 75,000 acres of forest and 144 buildings. More than one thousand firefighters would rally to extinguish the blaze, at a cost of 11 million dollars. Gunflint Burning is a comprehensive account of the dramatic events around the Ham Lake fire, one of the largest wildfires in Minnesota history. Cary J. Griffith describes what happened in the minutes, hours, and days after Posniak struck that fateful match--from the first hint of danger to the ensuing race to flee the fire or defend imperiled property to the incredible efforts of firefighters and residents battling a blaze that lit up the Gunflint Trail like the fuse to a powder keg. We meet locals faced with losing everything: the sheriff and his deputy tasked with getting everyone out alive; tourists caught unawares; men and women using every piece of equipment and modern firefighting technique against impossibly high winds and dry conditions to suppress a wildfire as it grew to historic proportions; and, finally, Stephen Posniak, who in the aftermath tragically took his own life--the fire's only fatality. In sharp detail, Gunflint Burning describes the key events of the Ham Lake fire as they unfold, providing readers with a sense of being on the front lines of an epic struggle that was at times heroic, tragic, and sublime.

Jason's picture

Cary J. Griffith’s account of the 2007 Ham Lake fire that, over two weeks, burned 75,000 acres of woodlands in northern Minnesota and into Canada. Griffith opens with the fire raging towards an inhabited area of northwood cabins, a local Deputy tries to persuade a resourceful 76-year-old area resident to follow the mandatory evacuation. The story is told chronologically and from many points of view, Griffith introduces us to a variety of people involved in the fire and it’s plain to see that he was thorough in his search for first hand accounts. Over the following chapters Griffith introduces us to the camper whose fire started the blaze, resort and homeowners in the area, police and fire personnel, as well as scientists that detail the natural and climatic conditions that led to it burning so widely. His descriptions of the area’s natural history help to explain how this fire got out of hand so quickly. Those with a strong connection to the area that “Gunflint Burning” covers and can attest that Griffith was able to capture the sights and sounds that make canoe trips in the Boundary Waters so special. -Jason

The plant messiah : adventures in search of the world's rarest species book cover

The plant messiah : adventures in search of the world's rarest species

Carlos Magdalena

581.68 /Magdalena
Science, Nature

Carlos Magdalena is not your average horticulturist. He's a man on a mission to save the world's most endangered plants. First captivated by the flora and his native Spain, he has traveled to the remotest parts of the globe in search of exotic species. Renowned for his pioneering work, he has committed his life to protecting plants from man-made ecological destruction and thieves hunting for wealthy collectors. In The Plant Messiah, Magdalena takes readers from the Amazon to the jungles of Mauritius to deep within the Australian outback in search of the rare and the vulnerable. Back in the lab, we watch as he develops groundbreaking, left-field techniques for rescuing species from extinction, encouraging them to propagate and thrive once again. Along the way, he offers moving, heartfelt stories about the secrets contained within these incredible organisms. Passionate and absorbing, The Plant Messiah is a tribute to the diversity of life on our planet, and the importance of preserving it. -- from dust jacket.

Jason's picture

Autobiographical stories of his work as Tropical Senior Botanical Horticulturist for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England. Carlos describes coming from a family that encouraged exploration, as well as respect and caretaking for the plants and animals of Asturias in Northern Spain. When wanderlust overtook him at 28, he travelled to London where a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew changed his world. Their efforts to save highly endangered plants mirrored his passion for caring for the land back in Asturias. He has an energetic, driven personality that comes through in his recounts of his intense Kew education in the greenhouses and beyond. Most of the book recounts his journeys to save seeds or cuttings of rare plants found in the islands of the Republic of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, Amazon backwaters in Peru, and many other far flung locations. He’s a great storyteller and has set up each chapter as if he has to solve a puzzle with life or death stakes, how do these rare plants produce fruit, seed, and ultimately a new plant? He includes simple overviews of the science behind his a-ha moments, so even if you don’t have a botanical background you come away with an understanding for how these mysteries were solved. His passion for plants is infectious and it carries through in his writing, the stories are often zany and move quickly and you’re left feeling that we need many more people with the drive and desire of this plant messiah. -Jason

Grant Wood's Iowa : a visitor's guide book cover

Grant Wood's Iowa : a visitor's guide

Wende Susan Elliott

917.7704 /Elliott/2013
Art / Art History, Travel, Nature, Nonfiction

Solving the problem of what to do while driving across the middle of America, this book identifies points of cultural interest along I-80 from Chicago to Omaha. In particular, Rose and Elliott provide a thoughtful, detailed exploration of the life and the historical context of Iowa artist Grant Wood, best known for his painting American Gothic, by discussing both his work and the landscape that inspired it. The book includes five itineraries, complete with self-guided museum tours, maps, color photos, and local ancillary attractions like regional art festivals and nature hikes.

Maeve's picture

When you think of Iowa and artists the first name that comes to mind is Grant Wood. Grant Wood's Iowa : a visitor's guide can help you learn much more about our celebrated author. Explore Anamosa and Stone City, where he had his academy, visit Iowa City and Cedar Rapids to see where he lived and visit museums to see his work. There are maps and guided museum tours and even some hikes. -Maeve

The official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy guidebook. Rail-trails Iowa and Missouri. book cover

The official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy guidebook. Rail-trails Iowa and Missouri.

917.7704 /Rails/2017
Nature, Sports, Nonfiction

Maeve's picture

Whether you are a walker or a rider you will find this an excellent guide to trails where the railroad used to pass through a town or countryside. This ever expanding network of trails offer a great way to explore Iowa (and Missouri). -Maeve

Paddling Iowa : 128 outstanding journies by canoe and kayak book cover

Paddling Iowa : 128 outstanding journies by canoe and kayak

Nate Hoogeveen

917.7704 /Hoogeveen/2012
Nature, Sports, Nonfiction

There is something especially wonderful about being on a river or stream in a canoe or a kayak. Your vantage point to observe the world around you is near perfect. Sitting silent allows you to see all sorts of activity from the birds and mammals at the shoreline, to water snakes and fish below you. Maybe my favorite part of paddling is watching the clouds play across the water.

Maeve's picture

There is something very special about being on a river in a canoe or kayak. You are able to observe all sorts of activity on the shoreline, watch turtles sunning on a log and see fish jump and maybe if you are really lucky, see an otter or a mink. -Maeve

Hiking Iowa book cover

Hiking Iowa

Elizabeth Hill

917.77 /Falcon/2005
Travel, Nature, Nonfiction

I was fortunate enough to go on a hike at Palisades-Kepler State Park led by Elizabeth Hill. Her knowledge of Iowa hikes can help you choose just the right location to go exploring.

Maeve's picture

I was lucky enough go on a hike led by Elizabeth Hill at Palasades-Kepler State Park. Her knowledge of the best Iowa hiking spots can help you plan for a great outing. -Maeve

Drawn from nature book cover

Drawn from nature

Helen Ahpornsiri

j508.2 Ahpornsiri
Kids, Nonfiction, Nature, Animals

An intricately crafted journey through four seasons of flora and fauna. Helen Ahpornsiri's intricate artwork transforms leaves, petals, and seeds into bounding hares, swooping swallows, and blossoming trees. Using nothing but pressed plants, this journey through the seasons captures the wonder and magic of the natural world between the pages of a book. This standout title with beautiful nonfiction text will take readers through an extraordinary year in the wild.

Morgan's picture

This beautiful book is a study in seasons presented through pressed flower art. You'll learn when birds build nests, why crickets chirp, what happens to deer antlers and how frogs hibernate. Each of the informational spreads is accompanied by engrossing collage illustrations made from pieces of the natural world. A wonderful way to incorporate art into science. -Morgan

The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation book cover

The brilliant deep : rebuilding the world's coral reefs : the story of Ken Nedimyer and the Coral Restoration Foundation

Kate Messner

jE Messner
Picture Books, Biographies, Nature, Science

Looks at the life of the coral restoration pioneer Ken Nedimyer, from his early fascination with the ocean to his ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world's coral reefs.

Casey's picture

Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe's new picture book biography about Ken Nedimyer is absolutely stunning. This is a perfect place to start learning about our rapidly changing oceans and the efforts being made to combat the bleaching of coral reefs. Parents and children will love this title, not only for it's beautiful artwork, but for the wealth of information and hope that it embodies. It's never too early or late to learn that individuals have the power to impact great change. -Casey

Hello hello book cover

Hello hello

Brendan Wenzel

jE Wenzel
Picture Books, Nature

In simple text a set of animals, each one linked to the previous one by some trait of shape, color, or pattern, greet and interact with one another.

Casey's picture

Field Guide/Animal Primer by Caldecott Honoree Brendan Wenzel-- -Casey