Below you will find a few books that will help you leverage your interest in nature (and the chaparral!) by showing you a more relaxed and enjoyable way to see the world.
If your purchase any of these books by clicking the Amazon.com button on our website we obtain a small referral fee which further helps to support our mission. This goes for all the other books we recommend on our Wilderness Within and Book Excerptspages.
- - - - - Inspiring Others to Love Nature - - - - -
A Reenchanted World By James William Gibson
A remarkable book. Provides an excellent historical review of the environmental movement, describes challenges encountered by environmentalists during the 1990s, explains the importance of wild animals on the landscape, details how a new kinship with nature has been slowly growing, and offers a promising vision for the future.
How to Raise a Wild Child By Scott Sampson
A new vision on how to renew our love of nature. Sampson acknowledges current efforts are lacking because they focus primarily on children at the fringes of affluent white society. If we want to make a real difference, we need to expand beyond the choir.
Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego By The Canyoneers!
Written by the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers, this is the premier hiking guide for really getting to know and appreciate San Diego County's biodiversity while exploring firsthand. The guide describes 250 hikes, each with its own map. Get it!
- - - - - Chaparral Ecology - - - - -
Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California By Richard W. Halsey
This is the best book available on California's most extensive plant community, the chaparral. The book not only provides the basics of chaparral natural history, but why it is important to reconnect with one's surroundings. Also included is a color photo identification section with 64 of the most common Southern California chaparral plants and animals. Second edition.
You can also obtain a copy by joining the Chaparral Institute as a member. Excerpts from the book are available to read here.
Ecosystems of California Edited by Harold Mooney and Erika Zavaleta
The definitive book on all of the remarkable ecosystems in California including the chaparral! Also included are discussions of the drivers of ecosystem change (like fire and soils), paleohistory, invasive species, climate change, managed ecosystems (like forestry and urban ecosystems), and policy.
Field Guide to Manzanitas By Michael Kauffmann, Tom Parker, and Michael Vasey
An essential guide book for anyone who wants to understand and identify the most iconic of all chaparral plant species in California, the red-barked manzanita!
The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires Edited by Dominick DellaSala and Chad Hansen
This book examines the role mixed and high-severity fire plays in fire-adapted ecosystems. While the text focuses mostly on montane forests of the western United States, it also includes an excellent chapter on chaparral fire ecology and how difficult it has been to incorporate recent science into land management decisions.
Meaningful Interpretation - How to Connect Hearts and Minds to Places, Objects, and Other Resources By David L. Larsen
Most of the time we are talked at rather than being part of the experience. Larsen provides an alternative to help us share our passions about the natural environment that will cause lasting change. We want people to care, and ultimately help protect the natural treasures we value. The way we do this is through meaningful interpretation - helping others find personal connections and meanings to the plants and animals, the places, and the ecological communities we love.
Brilliance By Design By Vicki Halsey
Halsey present the ENGAGE model of teaching, a six step approach to learning content by using active learning techniques, combined with utilizing the tools provided by meaningful interpretation. The ENGAGE model is based on the observation that single modality teaching (i.e. lecturing), along with only hearing something once, is not effective because it is passive. Lectures fail to take advantage of the multiple ways people best take in and process information. This model can be used by a single interpreter working with a group, or by groups within a class, learning new content.
- - - - - Art - - - - -
TreeGirl: Intimate Encounters with Wild Nature By Julianne Skai Arbor
Are you searching for an intimate encounter with wild nature? TreeGirl's fabulous new book is the place to start.
With hot cups of coffee, we sat down on our green couch and had a dreamy experience turning the pages. The photos are incredible. The stories for each tree were magical - Nayla, Mesquite, Olive, Oregon White Oak, and of course the California Bay Laurel and the Sequoia Meditation, just to name a few.
TreeGirl's writing, and the message she shares, are beautiful.
- - - - - Philosophy - - - - -
The Star Thrower By Loren Eiseley
An essential collection of meditations on nature by one of the world's foremost natural historians, scientists, and poets. With passion and eloquence, Eiseley weaves the mystery of nature into a series of essays that reveal not only the magic found in the simplest things, but what they can teach us. "The Hidden Teacher", one of our favorites, describes an encounter with a spider that defines the web of life in a way you will always remember.
The Wisdom of Insecurity By Alan Watts
This remarkable book deals with the philosophy of life in a way that fosters openess and a sense of awe for nature and the miracles inherent in all living things. One of the best books we've ever read.
By Paulo Coelho
A classic story of searching and finding one's alchemist in unexpected places. It is no surprise that the mysteries of life are often found in the wilderness.
A New Earth By Eckhart Tolle
One of the reasons nature is a place of rejuvenation is because it offers an environment where everything exists for the present moment. What happened yesterday and what may happen tomorrow is not part of the system. When a wrentit establishes his territory he doesn't hold bitter resentment over how the wrentit next door set up his boundaries. In this essential book, Tolle helps explain how to actualize your hidden ability to enjoy "now" instead of being bogged down by past memories (regrets) or what worries you may have about the future.