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Wildscape: Trilling Chipmunks, Beckoning Blooms, Salty Butterflies, and other Sensory Wonders of Nature (Hardcover)
From Nancy Lawson, author of The Humane Gardener, a first-of-its-kind guide that takes readers on an insightful and personal exploration of the secret lives of animals and plants.
Master naturalist Nancy Lawson takes readers on a fascinating tour of the vibrant web of nature outside our back door—where animals and plants perceive and communicate using marvelous sensory abilities we are only beginning to understand. Organized into chapters investigating each of their five senses, Lawson's exploration reveals a remarkable world of interdependent creatures with amazing capabilities.
You'll learn of ultrasound clicks humans can't hear, and ultraviolet colors humans can't see. You'll cross paths with foraging American bumblebees drawn to the scent of wild bergamot, urban sparrows who adapt their mating song in response to human clamor, trees that amp up their growth in response to deer and moose saliva, and a chipmunk behaving like the world's smallest pole vaulter to nab juicy red berries hanging from the lowest parts of a coral honeysuckle vine.
Synthesizing cutting-edge scientific research, original interviews with animal and plant researchers, and poetic observations made in her own garden, Lawson shows us how to appreciate the natural environment from the sensory perspective of our wild neighbors right outside our door and beyond, and how to respect and nurture the habitats they need to survive.
About the Author
Nancy Lawson is a habitat consultant, nationally known speaker, author of The Humane Gardener, and founder of Humane Gardener, LLC, where she pioneers creative, animal-friendly landscaping methods. Certified as a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional and master naturalist, she partners with Howard County Bee City and Audubon Society of Central Maryland and recently helped launch a community science project, Monarch Rx, based on scientific discoveries made in her own garden.
"By taking us deep into the lives of backyard creatures, Lawson takes us out of our solipsism and grants us the gift of swapping stories with butterflies, chipmunks, and beetles. As we get to know these other cultures and sense the world through our shared experiences, we travel deeper into our landscapes and squash biases instead of bugs. With incredible tidbits of science and story (boy, is poop useful), this book asks us to live a wilder, more willful life that honors the intricate relationships right beneath our noses.”
– Benjamin Vogt, author of A New Garden Ethic and Prairie Up
"Calling all lovers of nature, and anyone who finds themselves awestruck by the many ways nature does what it does. Nancy Lawson’s Wildscape is filled with incredible examples and photos of some of the many fascinating ways our backyard creatures are able to persist in an all-to-often-hostile environment. A treasure trove of delightful reading awaits as you too discover an even deeper appreciation and respect for these marvels of nature.”
– Joe Lamp’l, creator and host of Growing a Greener World and The Joe Gardener Show
"Wildscape takes us on a fascinating journey, exploring the sensory ecology of other species in our landscapes, while making a compelling case for treating those landscapes as the critical wildlife habitat that they are. Referencing science-based research, Nancy Lawson shares intriguing facts about a wide range of organisms—from moss-gathering Carolina wrens, to bee-mimicking robber flies, to plants that ‘borrow’ chemical defenses from neighboring species. Wildscape is an inspiration for those of us who care about nature and want to learn more and do more.”
– Kim Eierman, Founder, EcoBeneficial LLC and author of The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win the War on Pollinator Decline with Ecological Gardening
“A refreshing take on a timely topic, Wildscape provides a new perspective on the role our homes and gardens play in nature. Author and naturalist Nancy Lawson serves as an inspiration to all as she describes a new approach to land management that will benefit all creates, big and small.”
– Brie Arthur (Brie the Plant Lady), author and horticulturalist
"Wildscape is a wonderful celebration of the complex and intimate actions we can witness in our own backyards and nearby natural areas if we choose to open our senses to them. This accessible book is a must read for anyone who wants to develop a deeper appreciation of the animal and plant species with whom we share our spaces."
–Mary Anne Borge, author, photographer, and editor of Butterfly Gardener
"Wildscape is a book that brings us closer to the world around us. Rarely do we find storytellers capable of sharing personal observations alongside cutting edge research. Nancy Lawson reconnects readers to the wondrous dynamics among plants and animals."
– Rebecca McMackin, ecological horticulturist and designer
"By exploring how animals, insects, and birds use their five senses to find food or a mate, and to communicate and defend themselves, Nancy eloquently illustrates that we also need to use our five senses to connect with the natural world. And we do not have to go far to experience biodiversity: It's right outside our front door. What is required is our willingness to unplug, listen, observe, touch, smell, and reconnect with the wonders of nature.”
– Heather Holm, pollinator conservationist and author
"Lawson succeeds in highlighting the wondrous abilities of plants and animals....Additionally, beautiful photographs illustrating the animals’ abilities nicely complement her explanations. The result is a blissful appreciation of nature."
– Publishers Weekly
“Lawson returns with another thoughtful book…where [she] really shines is in elucidating how much humans miss in the use of the sense are less important to us or are obscured by our mechanized approach to life (scent and sound) or by our more ‘civilized’ approach to communing with the natural world (taste and touch)….Beautifully illustrated with close-up photographs, this is a book to savor and reread.”
--Booklist, STARRED review
“Naturalist Lawson (The Humane Gardener) introduces readers to the world of nature in ‘the wild’ by describing, with great passion, how nature should and could exist together with humans, while also demonstrating how it is often threatened by them….Interwoven throughout are relatable personal experiences and prose that highlight her points, as well as many beautiful color illustrations that accent her descriptions. This author’s storytelling ability, along with vast, quality research that’s easy to understand, make this an important addition to public and academic libraries…an essential read for academics, students of the natural sciences, and readers concerned about the environment.”
In [Wildscape], Ms. Lawson synthesizes scientific research and her own intimate outdoor experiences to impress on us just how fragile, and precious, the workings of nature are….Arranging the book in chapters that underscore doors of perception — Scentscape, Soundscape, Tastescape, Touchscape and Sightscape — she suggests adjustments we can make to reduce disruption.”
—Margaret Roach for the New York Times