Thursday, April 15, 2010

40th Anniversary of Earth Day

Honor the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by exploring recent nonfiction about the natural history of our region of the earth. Earth Day is April 22, but celebrations often begin the week before. Lawrence’s celebration was Saturday, April 17, 2010. Earth Day was first observed in 1970 in order to encourage appreciation and understanding for our environment.

Ken Lassman shared the following observations of natural events for Earth Day. Ken is the author of the book Wild Douglas County in the list below.

"This year’s Earth Day is being celebrated in the Kaw River valley with morels offering their delectable above-ground parts under dead elms and other woodland haunts. Glorious redbud blossoms are beginning to transition into seedpods, joined by the emergence of young heart-shaped leaves on the same limbs. Speaking of seed pods, there are an abundance of the round, light green elm samaras and paired maple helicopter seeds ready to take flight, and Earth week this year is witnessing the emergence of many new tree leaves on a wide number of woodland species.

If you hurry, you can still catch some oak-hickory woodland wildflowers at Clinton Lake, wrapping up before the leafy canopy takes all of the sunlight, including the beautiful mayapple blossom found nestled in the crotch of the Y shaped step that supports the double leaves of the umbrella-like plant. Come back later to watch those flowers turn into little green applets. After dark, listen to the coyotes, owls and various species of frogs regale each other and the waxing Planting Moon, so called by the Osages who used to live in the area.

Enjoy the Phoenix-like emergence of the Prairie Park Nature Center from its recent burn, located at 27th and Harper east of Haskell. The yellow buttercups, the spirals of the lousewort, spring beauties and emerging prairie grass shoots will make your trip a memorable one. Be sure to bring a camera!

And be sure to take a friend along, and make a point to return in the coming weeks as the prairies get taller and taller, and the pageantry of new prairie wildflowers changes every week through the months of May and June. May your enjoyment of this area’s wildlife grow in the coming days, weeks and months, as the new crop of young life joins your own in this valley in the heart of this continent on this glorious planet of ours!"

The following books represent some aspect of nature in our area; they are recent publications, 2007 or later. Click on the titles to view and reserve these books in the catalog. Internet links are included where you may access more information about the books.

Kansas Physiographic Regions: Bird's-eye Views
by James S. Aber and Susan W. Aber

The authors offer unique aerial photographs and descriptions of the varied geological regions across Kansas.

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A Photographic Field Guide to the Butterflies in the Kansas City Region
by Betsy Betros

Learn about each butterfly species’ range, habitat, food source, winter stage, and more for butterflies found in eastern Kansas and western Missouri.

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A Kansas Year
by Mike Blair

Read about many facets of the natural world in Kansas through all of the seasons accompanied by great photography. A 2010 Kansas Notable Book.

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Kansas Outdoor Treasures: A Guide to Over 60 Natural Destinations
by Julie M. Cirlincuina

Use this book to plan a trip into a Kansas wilderness.

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Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses
by William Cullina

This guide will help novice gardeners be more comfortable working with otherwise intimidating plants. The library owns several more gardening books by Cullina-- two of which focus on growing other native plants.

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True Tales of the Prairies and Plains
by David Dary

Regional characters and folklore are illuminated from our pioneering past.

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Kansas Atlas & Gazetteer
Published by DeLorme Mapping

This road atlas includes all major highways and most of the back roads in Kansas. Find out about many recreational opportunities by perusing the many lists in the front of the book.

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Missouri Wildflowers: A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Missouri
by Edgar Denison

This helpful field guide presents large photos with descriptive information for identification. Many closely-related plant species are noted in the back of the book. Many of the same wildflowers found in Missouri may be found in Kansas.

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Seldom Seen: A Journey into the Great Plains
by Patrick Dobson

The author spent two and a half months exploring the Great Plains on foot. This journey was a chance to reflect on his life. He shares a few of his encounters with wildlife and many of the people he meets share their own search for happiness.

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Hiking Kansas City: The Complete Guide to More than 125 Hiking and Walking Trails in the Kansas City Area
by William B. Eddy & Richard O. Ballentine

Trails in the Kansas City region and many others some distance from KC are featured, including trails along the Kansas River in Lawrence and at Konza Prairie near Manhattan.

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Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild
by Michael Forsberg

This book presents compelling arguments for protecting the remaining landscapes and wildlife in the Great Plains. Striking photos throughout the book express the author’s deep appreciation for the land.

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The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots
by Bob Gress and Pete Janzen

This field guide highlights 295 birds with detailed descriptions, photos, and recommendations of where they might be found. Many exceptional birding “hot spots” are recommended. A checklist of all 470 birds recorded in the state is included.

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America Discovered: A Historical Atlas of North American Exploration
by Derek Hayes

Historical maps are provided with background and context. View images of America much like Lewis and Clark and other explorers might have seen.

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Design Your Natural Midwest Garden
by Patricia Hill

Beautify your landscape with native plants and benefit the environment at the same time.

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Adventures in Tornado Alley: The Storm Chasers
by Mike Hollingshead and Eric Nguyen

View the stunning photos of storms from two professional chasers. This book also explains how tornados are formed.

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Cougar: Ecology and Conservation
edited by Maurice Hornocker and Sharon Negri

This collection is a useful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about biology and management of cougars and their natural habitats. It also highlights the consequences for a wild land in the absence of large carnivores, e.g. mounting deer populations.

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Hunger for the Wild: America's Obsession with the Untamed West
by Michael L. Johnson

American identity is deeply connected to the limitless possibilities of western wilderness. The author describes the historical roots and present realities of the region. (Kansas Notable Book, 2008)

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Invasive Plants: A Guide to Identification, Impacts, and Control of Common North American Species
by Sylvan Ramsey Kaufman and Wallace Kaufman

This thorough and practical resource includes a detailed field guide section of over 175 invasive plant species with photos, identification notes, habitats and ranges, “what it does in the ecosystem”, how it was introduced to North America, and methods of control. Included is a short key to help identify the most prominent invasive plant species and guidelines for safe use of herbicides.

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Wild Douglas County
by Ken Lassman

Lassman encourages us to become more aware of our bioregion and gain a stronger sense of place. His book may be used as a resource to become more familiar with nature in our own backyards and the larger region.

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Hard Road West: History & Geology along the Gold Rush Trail
by Keith Heyer Meldahl

Learn about geologic history along the California Trail and the people who traveled it.

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50 Hikes in the Ozarks: Walks, Hikes and Backpacks in the Mountains, Wildernesses and Geological Wonders of Arkansas and Missouri
by Johnny Molloy

The beautiful Ozark wilderness includes so many places to explore. Use this guide to plan your outing.

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Paddling Kansas
by Dave Murphy

Wonderful maps and detailed descriptions provide all the necessary information to plan a canoe or kayak trip in the state.

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Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners
by James B. Nardi

Every naturalist should check out this book to expand her or his knowledge of the earth that grounds us all.

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Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie: The Upper Midwest
by Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa

This book provides large, beautiful photos, all the descriptive details of a field guide, and historic uses as medicine and food.

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A Spring Day on the Hill: Art Inspired by the University of Kansas Campus

Beautiful paintings done en plein air (in the open air) of the KU campus are paired with information on each of the artists.

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Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens
by Douglas W. Tallamy

This informative book makes gardeners familiar and less fearful of the bugs trying to live on their plants. The author’s persuasive arguments encourage readers to use native plants to feed the bugs, which in turn feed birds and other wildlife. As the author notes, so much of our wilderness is being developed that more wildlife is becoming dependent on our suburban yards.

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Wildflowers of Southeast Kansas and Bordering Counties of Surrounding States
by Stephen L. Timme

This field guide offers close-up photography of over 300 flowering plants, common and scientific names, plant family, descriptions, flowering dates, and habitats. Many individual species accounts include information on name origin and meaning, historical medicinal or food use, and related plants.

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Revolution on the Range: The Rise of a New Ranch in the American West
by Courtney White

White’s book is an account of sustainable farming practices sprinkled with inspiring quotes from the people doing the work.

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Survival of Rural America: Small Victories and Bitter Harvests
by Richard E. Wood

Gain a greater understanding of the challenges for rural areas. The author visited many small Kansas towns and found many communities are learning new ways to revive their economies.

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Nature of Kansas Lands
edited by Beverley Worster

Awe-inspiring photography is paired with facts about nature in Kansas.

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Buffalo Nation: American Indian Efforts to Restore the Bison
by Ken Zontek

Native Americans deserve much of the credit for bison preservation success in North America. This is an inspirational history of efforts to restore wild bison herds.

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