The progression of seasonal change is not a seamless continuum, but occurs in stages. We talk about seasons as if there were only four. But “summer-fall-winter-spring” does not do justice to the many shifts in nature that occur throughout the year. To capture each phase in nature’s progression, this book is divided into 19 distinct seasons. Each Season has its own section in the book, where photos and text offer information to help identify flowers, trees, and shrubs: when they are sending up shoots, coming into bloom, ripening fruits, or leaves turning color in the fall. It has a section on foraging, with notations on edible wild plants when they are ready to harvest. Changes in the habits of various animals throughout their life cycle are also presented. Plus: reminders of the bigger picture are scattered throughout, with landscapes by season: highlighting their changing appearance during the course of nature’s annual cycle. Over four hundred color photographs accompany the text.
FIELD GUIDE to the SEASONS allows you to pick a date and find out exactly what is happening in any location you choose, anywhere in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. No other field guide has attempted to do this. Think of this book as a field guide in reverse. You find out what you will see before you see it. When you are going for a walk in the woods, or even around the block, look up what is on the menu in your location, at that time of year.
Choose your season: Next, find out what Season is current in your location. Follow the vertical columns across the top to choose a date. Then drop down to the level of the zone you’re in. See where the alternating green and blue season bands pass through your date. The seasons are identified by number within the Season Timetable, and by name underneath it. For example, if your location is toward the bottom of zone 5 and your date is the at the end of August, you will be right in the middle of Elderberry Season. When you have the book, you simply turn to Elderberry Season’s chapter and you’ll see photos and descriptions of what is happening in nature at your location in that time period. The first page of each Season chapter also contains a small version of the Season Timetable, a handy reminder of when it occurs across the region.
Click on the Preview Chapter below to view Crocus Season.
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Know Your Neighbors – Landscapes By Season This book is a departure from the nature guides you are used to. Traditional field guides don’t usually portray the landscapes or micro-habitats in which individual plants or animals appear. Thus, they help you to identify a particular species, but without context. FIELD GUIDE to the SEASONS conveys the context in each of the time slots in which a cluster of species is prominent. Each micro-season includes a photo array, establishing the look and ambiance of each season in turn. In many cases, plants and animals are pictured in several different stages of their life cycles (another departure from a traditional field guide). If you pay attention to things you see in familiar locations you will notice several wildflowers that bloom at the same time. These “season mates” will likely appear at about the same time next year. When foraging, make a note of where you collected an edible plant you like. You can return next year to gather it again.
Moving up to the macro level, landscapes have seasons too. Their constantly changing appearance is included in the photo array of each season. There is a different color scheme, mood, and sensory array as the year rolls along. But landscapes are more than a pretty picture. There is also constant change. Landscapes also have stories. Think about how the forest and fields your visit have changed over the years. Old stone walls, cellar holes, abandoned farm equipment, overgrown pastures, parking lots, and highways, rail trails and reforested hillsides all record a history of change. So when you venture out to find a bird or a flower, identifying a particular species, take a break to survey the whole diorama around you. Put it all together: the plants, the animals, the sky, the hills, the water, the fragrance and the feel of the place you are in.
FIELD GUIDE to the SEASONS is designed to match the way we actually experience nature: seeing particular plants and animals together in a specific landscape at a specific point in time. There is a broader, richer experience to be had by understanding specifically what you are looking at and by employing taking a wide angle approach in order to capture the sensory field around you.