Take a Nature Walk—With a Book!

Though the Northeast Ohio winter seems to drag on forever, the slow transition into spring can be extremely rewarding to those with an appreciation for detail. A stroll or roll through nature—whether it be your neighborhood, a local park, the national park, or a nature preserve—becomes delightful when you learn how to look. So, on those damp days when you smell warmth on the breeze, borrow one of these nonfiction audiobooks, get outside, and practice noticing nature. 

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard
(Available on Libby) 

Did you know that trees talk to one another? Did you know they form families, friendships, and even rivalries? Suzanne Simard has spent decades studying interconnected relationships among trees within forests and what they can teach us. Now, Dr. Simard’s findings are gathered into one vivid work of nonfiction. Simard describes forests and the “wood wide web” with love, poetics, and the kind of deep knowledge and perception that only comes from a life spent among the trees. In the audiobook, Simard herself guides readers through her life of research, which continues with the Mother Tree Project. You will never see trees, or the Earth, in the same way again after encountering Dr. Simard’s insights. 

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer
(Available on Libby and Hoopla) 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
(Available on Libby and Hoopla) 

Robin Wall Kimmerer stated in a 2020 interview with the Guardian that “people can’t understand the world as a gift unless someone shows them how it’s a gift.” In her two collections of essays, she accomplishes just that. Dr. Kimmerer weaves scientific facts, personal stories, and Indigenous cultural histories into a tapestry of knowledge. Kimmerer’s essays demonstrate for a Western audience a different way of knowing the world—one that understands nature’s generosity and the generosity we can give in return. I cannot imagine coming away from either of these audiobooks—narrated in the author’s own soothing voice—without a powerful sense of wonderment and reverence for the Earth. 

Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb
(Available on Libby and Hoopla) 

The Cuyahoga River, like many of North America’s waterways, experienced the decimation of its beaver population. We are fortunate that our local watershed has been rehabilitated enough to see the return of the beaver. Environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb outlines exactly how fortunate we are. Through conversational prose and a colorful cast of characters, Goldfarb argues that beavers are the answer to many of our environmental troubles. After learning about these industrious rodents and their history, you will never see a stream, river, or marsh in the same way again. You may just become a Beaver Believer. 


As a bonus, check out the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for guidance on what to look for on your walks.  

2 comments on “Take a Nature Walk—With a Book!

  1. What a great list. I’m excited for spring, and this is the motivation I needed to get out for a walk- thanks.

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