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My Heroes


As a naturalist in Yosemite National Park, I’ve been exploring for years, and my explorations have led to many wonderful discoveries. Once at the edge of a marsh in the high country I heard a bird I had never heard before. It was hiding among the reeds and when I finally saw it after a long search, it turned out to be a bird that had not been seen in California for over 30 years.

Another time I had climbed a mountain I had been up before, but I decided to go down via a different route. On the descent I came across a meadow that was new to me. In it was a flower that I had never seen in the park before!A few years later a geologist friend and I began to examine old glacial deposits near Tioga Pass. What we found conflicted with the theories of earlier geologists, and we discovered they were mistaken about the direction that some of the glaciers had traveled. It’s exciting to piece together nature puzzles and it’s inspiring for me to learn about naturalists who made great discoveries long ago. These people are my heroes.

You can now read about some of these heroes in my new Naturalist's Apprentice series. Each book tells the story of a naturalist and comes with ideas of how to follow in their footsteps.


Bird Watching With Margaret Morse Nice

Chronicles the life and career of ornithologist Margaret Morse Nice who devoted more than eighty years to studying and writing about birds. Also includes tips and activities for readers to become bird watchers in their own right.

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Bug Watching with Charles Henry Turner

Chronicles the life and career of entomologist Charles Henry Turner. As one of the few African Americans with a Ph.D. in science at the turn of the last century, Turner’s brilliant discoveries about insects changed the way people thought about bugs and African Americans. Also includes tips and activities for readers to become bug watchers in their own right.

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Flower Watching With Alice Eastwood

Discusses the life and work of botanist Alice Eastwood, who explored plant life in Colorado and California in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. Also includes tips and activities for readers to become flower watchers in their own right.

"I was so impressed with this book when I first looked at it that I immediately ordered Bird Watching with Margaret Morse Nice and Bug Watching with Charles Eastman. These are delightful books that teach children about nature, as well as about a person who contributed to the science. This title introduces children to botany: plant descriptions, how to choose a field guide, how to be a plant detective, how to use a magnifying glass, how to use keys, how to write a botanical journal, and experiments for young people to try. Highly recommended."
Linda Fields, Richfield Public Library

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Wildlife Watching with Charles Eastman

The story of Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), a Santee Sioux. A doctor, a Native American spokesman, a writer, and naturalist, Eastman influenced how the world thought about his people and our place in nature. Also includes tips and activities for readers to become wildlife watchers in their own right.

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Pond Watching with Ann Morgan

The tale of Ann Morgan, an aquatic biologist, who wrote the first popular guide to exploring pond life. Though she was nicknamed Mayfly Morgan for her discoveries about this aquatic insect, Ann investigated everything from newts to freshwater sponges and brook trout. Also includes suggestions and activities for exploring the amazing creatures found in ponds.

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Nature Art with Chiura Obata

Chiura started drawing the world around him when he was a boy in Japan. When he came to the United States, he found the incredible beauty of California and Yosemite National Park. But he also met with discrimination because of his Japanese heritage.

Chiura didn’t give into the obstacles he faced. In fact, he shared his vision of natural wonders with hundreds of students, friends, and admirers. Follow Chiura’s story as he works to picture magnificent plants and animals. Along the way you’ll pick up a few tips on making nature art of your own, whether you are a beginner or an experienced painter.

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Fish Watching with Eugenie Clark

As a young girl Eugenie lived in New York City when she became fascinated by the fish life in the aquarium at Battery Park. Llittle did she know that she would be one of the most famous fish scientists of her time.

Follow her explorations from California to the South Pacific and to Florida and the Red Sea as Dr. Clark makes astounding discoveries about sharks, garden eels, and little gobies. Included are activities to help you follow in Eugenie’s footsteps.

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Exploring the Earth with John Wesley Powell

From his boyhood, rocks and soil intrigued Wes. He wanted to understand how the land was shaped as it was and how rocks were formed. Although he lost an arm in a Civil War battle, he didn’t abandon his dream. Soon he was leading a bold expedition through the unmapped canyons of the Colorado River.

Follow along as Wes studies the puzzles of the earth’s history. Along the way, you can try out tips and experiments that will help you explore the earth on your own.

To order click here

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