Category Archives: D.C.

Enjoying nature in Maryland during the holidays

MackayGuest post by Bryan MacKay

With Winter Solstice just past and the year end approaching (with head-scratching mild weather persisting here in the east), there are plenty of  reasons to get outside in Maryland this month. For inspiration, we once again turn to Bryan MacKay’s A Year across Maryland, his week-by-week guide to enjoying the natural world in JHUP’s home state.


Fourth Week of December: Saw-whet Owls

Winter brings to Maryland North America’s smallest and perhaps most appealing owl, the northern saw-whet. Just eight inches tall, with a large head and arresting yellow eyes, saw-whets are susceptible to predation by larger owls and other birds of prey because of their diminutive size. Hence, they choose densely vegetated habitats with a complex understory, where larger birds might have difficulty maneuvering. In Maryland, saw-whets overwinter on the Piedmont and the Eastern Shore and have been studied in depth on Assateague Island. Each year, one or two pairs may nest in extreme western Maryland.

MacKay Sawwhet owlSaw-whet owls are common in North America, breeding in summer in boreal and northern hardwood forests across the northern tier of the United States and southern Canada. Many, but not all, migrate south with colder weather. The saw-whet owl population may be irruptive; that is, in years when their prey (primarily deer mice) are abundant, they will have significantly larger broods and greater survivorship. Because the young of these irruptive broods invariably migrate, they swell the count at banding stations. For example, in 1995, five banding stations in the mid-Atlantic captured 2,596 saw-whets, most of whom were immatures, while in the previous four years, fewer than two hundred owls per year had been banded.

Like all owls, saw-whets are primarily nocturnal, hunting at night from low perches in dense cover. Unfortunately, the species seems to be more susceptible than most owls to collisions with motor vehicles. Saw-whets have eleven different vocalizations, including alarm calls and mate-attraction calls. They nest in cavities, often abandoned flicker or pileated woodpecker holes, but will use nest boxes supplied by humans if the box’s dimensions are appropriate.

Where to see saw-whet owls this week:  Saw-whets have been extensively studied on Assateague Island in winter, although you might encounter this owl anywhere in suitable habitat on the coastal plain of the Eastern Shore or southern Maryland and into the Piedmont.


Trip of the week: Christmas Bird Count

Various locations statewide. What to see and do: For more than a century, the National Audubon Society has sponsored and coordinated a census of birds known as the Christmas Bird Count, documenting winter bird populations in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and beyond. It’s an immense undertaking, engaged in by thousands of volunteers, sometimes braving cold temperatures and chilling winds, in search of every bird within a given search area.

MacKay Christmas bird countThe data reveal trends in populations over time, and the resulting data are invaluable to scientists and conservationists alike. You don’t have to be a hardcore birder to participate. Novice volunteers are welcome and are teamed up with one or more experienced birders. You’ll learn a lot and get a warm feeling (after you thaw out) of accomplishment at having helped our avian friends.

More information: Visit http://www.audubon.org.


First Week of January: Mixed Flocks of Winter Songbirds

It’s a cold winter afternoon. Under a bright sun, the forest seems pleasant and inviting. The golden light of late afternoon slants through the trunks of tulip poplars and American beech, casting a filigree of shadows on the forest floor. All is quiet. No call of bird nor trill of insect disturbs the serenity. This quietness is a surprise, for a variety of birds spend their winters in our central Maryland forests: chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, sparrows, juncos, and even bluebirds. So where are they?

Another ten minutes of hiking reveals a seemingly identical patch of woods, but this one is alive with the chip notes, alarm calls, and drummings of several species of songbird. All of a sudden, the forest seems alive. The birds are moving, always moving, and before each bird can be identified and counted, the flock is gone from sight and out of earshot. Winter birding is like that: most of the forest is bereft of birds, but when one is sighted, it is invariably in the company of a mixed-species flock.

Mackay winter song birdWhy might birds of the winter forest form flocks with individuals of other species? After all, during the breeding season most birds are territorial with members of their own species and generally ignore members of other species. The answer likely lies with the unique survival strategies of winter birds.

Winter imposes constraints on birds that spring, summer, and fall do not. Most significantly, food is more difficult to find. Moving across the landscape in the company of a small group means that if one bird discovers a bush full of berries, the rest of the group can take advantage of the bounty, while one bird moving through the forest alone might miss that prime source of winter food.

Another advantage enjoyed by mixed-species flocks is increased vigilance for spotting predators. Cooper’s hawks and sharp-shinned hawks—accipiters whose primary food is birds—may find hunting easier in winter, when leaves no longer hide their targets. For songbirds, having more eyes on the skies means that any predator is more likely to be spotted before it can attack.

Finally, some birds, including chickadees and bluebirds, share warmth, roosting together in tree cavities through the long cold night. When it comes time to bed down, birds that travel in a group don’t have to search the forest for their bunkmates.

Where to find mixed flocks of winter songbirds this week: Large tracts of mature forest, such as those along the C&O Canal, in Rock Creek Park, and most Maryland state parks often hold mixed flocks of winter birds.


Bryan MacKay is a senior lecturer emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is the author of A Year across Maryland: A Week-by-Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region; Hiking, Cycling, and Canoeing in Maryland: A Family Guide; and Baltimore Trails: A Guide for Hikers and Mountain Bikers.

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Filed under Animals, Baltimore, Birds, Conservation, D.C., Holidays, Nature, Regional-Chesapeake Bay

Controversy, thy name be Smithsonian

Guest post by Robert C. Post

Who Owns America's Past? $20.97 (reg. $29.95)

The Smithsonian Institution is currently wrapped in controversy involving an exhibit at its National Museum of African Art, Conversations: African and African Amercian Artworks in Dialogue. Nobody doubts the exhibit’s noble purpose, displaying art with “the power to inspire.” But one-third of the works are from the collection of Bill Cosby and his wife Camille, and the Cosbys donated $716,000 “to assist with the cost.” Moreover, the exhibit is partly about Cosby himself, about his fame, his geniality. Near a display of quilts there is a quote about these quilts telling a story “of life, of memory, of family relationships.” To many people steeped in the 24-hour news cycle, this seems beyond irony.

But we must remember that the Smithsonian Institution was born 170 years ago amid controversy and no little irony. When the bequest of an eccentric Englishman, James Smithson, arrived in Washington with instructions to establish an institution “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men,” it was not clear what he meant. And when the Smithsonian’s first secretary, Joseph Henry, steered the institution into scientific research, he provoked controversy. Others envisioned something quite different—a library, a university, most notably a museum. Henry was totally opposed. A museum, he warned, would squander resources, provoke more controversy, and, worst, render the institution “liable to be brought under direct political influence.”

He was right about that. The irony is that the public has long seen the Smithsonian as primarily a museum, or, rather, a museum complex. And there have been controversies aplenty. Some seemed as much personal as political. The Wright brothers were incensed when the Smithsonian assigned credit for the first “sustained free flight,” totally undeserved, to a man who had once been its secretary. Partisans of Alexander Graham Bell were terribly upset by an exhibit that seemed to deprive Bell of full credit for inventing the telephone, and they threatened to take the matter “to the public and to Congress.” Some controversies were wholly political. A few years ago, a Smithsonian secretary accepted a donation from one Ken Behring with the absurd contingency that there be a halt to exhibits that were “multicultural.” The Smithsonian, said Behring, must do “an American history museum.” Politicization materialized most famously in the 1990s when the National Air and Space Museum was forced to abort a planned exhibit of the Enola Gay, the bomber sent to destroy Hiroshima, along with horrific evidence of what happened on the ground. The airplane was displayed, the rest was not.

Perhaps more shameful in the long run have been episodes that librarians would see as akin to book burning. After the National Portrait Gallery staged Hide/Seek, an exhibit about same-sex intimacy, a video was removed when legislators threatened to “zero out” the Smithsonian’s budget, as had also been threatened with the Enola Gay/atomic bomb affair. Both times, there could be a plea of urgent necessity to capitulate; when an official remarked that “we have to be adept at communication,” he might better have said that “the institution must have its federal dollars or close its doors.” (70 percent of the budget is federal.)

But the Conversations controversy is different from others. No zeroing-out threats, but plenty of outrage. When the exhibit opened, an authorized biography of Cosby had just been published. It was being reviewed in the right places (in the Times Book Review as “wonderfully thorough”) just as Cosby’s rape allegations gained currency. Celebrities wanted their dust-jacket kudos deleted and a paperback was nixed, but there has been little pressure to remove the book from library shelves, to subject it to a figurative or perhaps literal burning. It’s been quite a different tale with the exhibit, with demands to “take it down.” Johnnetta Cole, the museum director and a close friend of the Cosbys, is devastated. So far, however, the institutional response has been that the show must go on, that appearing to celebrate a man accused of serial rape is preferable to “pulling” the exhibit as with the Hide/Seek video—and to harming artists with no responsibility for Cosby’s behavior. As a halfhearted response to critics, there is a sign outside the exhibit saying that the Smithsonian “in no way condones” this behavior, whatever it may have been.

This may be enough to carry the exhibit through to its scheduled closing in January, with no book burning, even in a figurative sense, as with the Hide/Seek video. While commending the Smithsonian’s decision “to stand by the exhibit on its artistic merits,” the Washington Post also expresses hope that the institution has “learned some lessons from this painful experience.” Perhaps it has, but looking back over the Smithsonian’s history, and looking to the emergent power of outsiders who claim a “stake” in the content of exhibits, I’d not be too sure.

Bob Post is the author of Who Owns America’s Past? The Smithsonian and the Problem of History, which was published by JHU Press. It details the controversies mentioned here and many others.

 

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Filed under American History, American Studies, Cultural Studies, Current Affairs, D.C., Ethics, Politics

Happy Birthday, Henry Clay Folger!

Guest post by Stephen H. Grant

Here are three things to remember about Henry Clay Folger on his 158th birthday, June 18, 2015.

One. The most astounding single fact about Henry Clay Folger (1857–1930) is that he made his way to the very top of two distinct lines of endeavor. From 1879 to 1928 he climbed the ranks at Standard Oil Company from statistical clerk at age 22 to CEO of the largest, most successful petroleum business on the planet. AND he assembled the largest collection of Shakespeare items in the world. His doctor of letters degree from Amherst College cites “his services in the affairs of a great empire of industry whose produce is on every sea and its light on all lands and for his knowledge in the most important field known in English literature.” John D. Rockefeller sent Folger this wry message: “I congratulate you upon receiving the degree, and that your connection with a great and useful business organization did not detract from your high standing.” Even more to Folger’s credit was that he was not born into wealth. He needed a loan from classmates to complete his college education.Folger 1 Signed Folger PortraitTwo. Henry Folger’s most erudite, persistent, and successful bookseller, Dr. A. S. W. (Abraham Simon Wolf) Rosenbach of Philadelphia, called Folger “the most consistent book collector I’ve ever known.” What he meant by that phrase was that Folger kept his eyes on the prize. Folger bought virtually anything and everything by or associated with Shakespeare that he could acquire–as long as the price was right. Folger drove a hard bargain, such as insisting on ten percent discount when he paid with ready cash. Corresponding with 600 book dealers, 150 in London alone, Folger shared with them why he rejected a book offer or sent it back upon examination. Many times it was because the item was not “Shakespearean enough.” He was training them to go out and seek more and better items for his library.

Evidence of Henry’s consistency appears even in how he held a book. The above portraits produced 67 years apart reveal his loving two-handed grasp.

Three. Henry Folger was a very private man. He kept no diary, gave only one interview. His postcards home while on a business trip out west sent from “Henry Clay Folger” to his wife “EJF” revealed “All in fine health and spirits.” He used shorthand for many personal notes. He signed his book cables “GOLFER.” He bought property without his name appearing on the deeds. He entreated his booksellers not to divulge what he paid for his antiquarian book purchases. His greatest glee was keeping from the world how many First Folios he owned.

Only with family and close friends did Henry open up a little. Emily described her husband this way. “Not an exuberant personality, Henry always was reticent and possibly shy by nature.”

Lawrence (Larry) Fraser Abbott and Walter (Crit) Hayden Crittenden were two Amherst chums he confided in. They had done the same things Henry had: won a prize in oratory, written for the student newspaper, sung in a fraternity quartet, earned a law degree. Crit wrote, “Mr. Folger was by nature a very shy man, almost bashful. He avoided all possible meetings and conventions, or in fact any form of gatherings, due to his shyness. It was therefore the privilege of but a few to know him intimately.” H.C. wrote to Larry, “I presume no one is better informed than I am about the value of Shakespeare literature.” Folger would not have shared that claim with just anyone. Only with Herbert Putnam, Librarian of Congress, did he share–the year he died–that he wondered if he would have his biography written some day.

grant.collectingStephen H. Grant is the author of Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folgerpublished by Johns Hopkins. He is a senior fellow at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training and the author of Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal.

 

 

 

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Filed under Biography, D.C., Libraries, Literature, Shakespeare, Washington

“History does not record a more horrible crime,” Maryland and the death of Abraham Lincoln

lincoln 3 Guest post by Charles W. Mitchell

“I had never witnessed such a scene as was now presented. The seats, aisles, galleries, and stage were filled with shouting, frenzied men and women, many running aimlessly over one another; a chaos of disorder beyond control.” So recalled Washington attorney Seaton Munroe after racing to Ford’s Theatre on the evening of April 14, 1865, having heard a man on Pennsylvania Avenue scream, “My God, the President is killed at Ford’s Theatre!”

Abraham Lincoln was not popular in Maryland at the outbreak of the Civil War, receiving less than three percent of the votes cast in the state, good for a last-place finish among four candidates. (In November 1864, in a drastically different political climate, he would win more than 55% of Maryland votes.) Much venom was spewed at this “Black Republican,” who, while promising not to interfere with slavery where it existed, had pledged to prevent its spread. As the March 4, 1861, date of Lincoln’s inauguration neared, Maryland and Washington, D.C., were rife with rumors that southern sympathizers and disunionists planned to disrupt the ceremonies. General-in-Chief of the Army Winfield Scott was prepared for any interference with the count of the electoral votes or the inauguration; any such man, he proclaimed, “should be lashed to the muzzle of a twelve-pounder and fired out of a window of the Capitol. I would manure the hills of Arlington with his body!”

Scott had reason for worry. In the early months of 1861, as the newly elected Lincoln was making his way to Washington from Springfield, Illinois, traveling more than 1,900 miles over eighteen railroads, rumors emerged of a cell of Baltimoreans intent on murdering him as he changed train stations in the city on the final leg of his journey. Lincoln’s advisors persuaded him to travel through Baltimore the night before his scheduled arrival—which he did, undisguised (contrary to popular myth). Little evidence materialized to indict anyone, in what was likely little more than fanciful talk—despite the claim by Vermont Congressman Lucius Chittenden in 1891 that “a mob of twenty thousand roughs and plug-uglies” was ready to board Lincoln’s train and stab him to death.

Following the surrender of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 13, Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to put down the rebellion of southern states and protect Washington, D.C. Northern governors quickly responded, sending their state militia companies southward on trains that arrived in Baltimore— horses then pulled cars from the arrival stations to the B&O’s new Camden Station, for the final leg to Washington. On Friday, April 19, a crowd gathered and quickly grew into a festering, seething mob along Pratt Street. Invective was hurled, then projectiles. Shots cracked the cobblestones; some found their mark. When the melee was over, twelve Baltimoreans and two Massachusetts troopers lay dead and scores were wounded, marking the city as the site of the Civil War’s first fatalities.

lincoln 4Baltimoreans readied for more Northern troops. Those without access to an armory sacked gun shops during a terrifying and lawless weekend. Mayor George W. Brown hastened to Washington on Sunday to beg that Northern troops avoid Baltimore, warning of catastrophic consequences otherwise. Brown secured a pledge from Lincoln: Troops would disembark at Perryville, on the Susquehanna River, and travel to Annapolis by steamboat, thence by train to Washington.

But troops would traverse Maryland soil. The nation’s capital, Lincoln lectured a delegation from the Young Men’s Christian Associations of Baltimore, was “surrounded by the soil of Maryland; and mathematically the necessity exists that they should come over her territory. Our men are not moles, and can’t dig under the earth; they are not birds, and can’t fly through the air. There is no way but to march across, and that they must do.”

Reacting to the destruction of railway bridges spanning the rivers north of Baltimore by Maryland militiamen, on April 27 Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus—but he did so only along rail lines, and only those in Maryland. He authorized General Scott to watch, but otherwise not interfere with, the Maryland legislature meeting in special session in Frederick. Other than one legislator detained briefly following the session’s end, no lawmaker was arrested during that tumultuous Maryland spring (contrary to popular myth).

Lincoln recognized that Maryland was home to many Unionist slave owners who believed that a state constitution that permitted slavery offered prosperity born of safety in the Union. When General Benjamin Butler—whose troopers had been abused so by Baltimoreans on April 19—marched onto Federal Hill on May 13 and threatened the city with his cannon, a furious Lincoln exiled him to Fortress Monroe in Virginia.

In March 1862, Lincoln invited Congressmen from the border slave states—Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky and Delaware—to the White House. He proposed a program of compensated emancipation for the slave owners in their states. After they rebuffed him, the president used the Union victory in September at Antietam to launch the Emancipation Proclamation, to take effect on January 1, 1863. Lincoln’s October 3 visit to this Maryland battlefield, where the roughly 23,000 dead and wounded still constitute the single bloodiest day in American history, was captured in a famous photograph, in which he stands with General George McClellan and other Union officers.

Lincoln visited Maryland on other occasions. In November 1863 he traveled to Gettysburg to consecrate a new national cemetery and deliver what became the Gettysburg Address. A specially outfitted B&O Railroad car took him to Baltimore’s Camden Station; following transfer to the Northern Central Railroad, the car went to Hanover Junction for the last leg to Gettysburg. In April 1864 he arrived in Baltimore to speak at the Baltimore Sanitary Fair, which raised $83,000 for Union troops. Lincoln stayed at the home of William J. Albert, who lived either on Monument Street (according to the Baltimore Sun’s account) or Cathedral Street (according to the 1860 Baltimore City directory).

On Friday, April 14, 1865, Major Robert Anderson, the federal commander who had surrendered Fort Sumter four years earlier, was a guest of honor at the fort for a ceremony marking the end of the Civil War—four years to the day of the surrender. “I beg you, now, that you will join me in drinking the health . . . of the good, the great, the honest man, Abraham Lincoln.” In Washington, the president and Mrs. Lincoln were at that moment setting off for an evening at Ford’s Theatre.

lincoln 2“We announce to our readers the most terrible, the saddest and the most sorrowful intelligence,” reported a Baltimore newspaper the next day. “Abraham Lincoln is dying…Mr. Lincoln has been basely, cowardly and traitorously murdered.” Mayor John Lee Chapman ordered closed “taverns and drinking houses,” flags draped in mourning and bells tolled between 11 a.m. and noon. On Sunday, April 16, ministers in Baltimore churches delivered powerful sermons and eulogies to the slain president. “A deed of blood has been perpetrated which has caused every heart to shudder,” cried Martin J. Spaulding, archbishop of Baltimore. “Words fail us for expressing detestation for a deed so atrocious.” Places of public amusement were closed. “Everything here has been at a standstill since Saturday morning last, when the news of the horrible assassination of President Lincoln reached the city,” wrote one man. “The various bells of the City, including those of the different churches, were all dismally tolling, and nature herself seemed to mourn.”

Grief and anger prevailed in Maryland. The Rev. James A. McCauley, of the Eutaw Methodist Episcopal Church, eulogized: “Like Washington, he is not ours exclusively: the world claims him.” Jacob Engelbrecht, in Frederick, jotted a note in his diary: “Remember God the avenger reigns.” In Easton, Leonidas Dodson described the reaction in that Eastern Shore town: “The bells of the churches at the hour of service tolled a solemn requiem, and sadness and gloom sat upon all faces.”

On April 21, a week after his death, Lincoln’s body traversed the streets of Baltimore. Attorney Williams Wilkins Glenn watched Lincoln’s funeral cortege pass through the city: “Procession passed up Eutaw St & down Baltimore. All business suspended. Streets densely lined with spectators.” Reverend Henry Slicer, pastor of Seaman’s Union Bethel Church in Fells Point, wrote that “the route was long and muddy, and the day damp & rainy.” George B. Cole recalled that a “silent gloom hangs over the whole city” and expressed worry at Vice President Andrew Johnson’s attitude toward Lincoln’s Reconstruction policy and the former Confederate states: “Several men of strong secession attachments have already expressed to me this morning their horror and apprehension of the effect this event will have upon the restoration of peace.”

That same day, John Wilkes Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, were hiding out on the Maryland side of the Potomac River, near Pope’s Creek. The following night they crossed the river into Virginia, seeking in vain a hero’s welcome.

Charles W. Mitchell is the author of Travels through American History in the Mid-Atlantic and the editor of Maryland Voices of the Civil War, winner of the Founders Award from the Museum of the Confederacy.  Charley will speak on the subject of Lincoln and Maryland on April 7 in JHUP’s lunch and lecture series at the Johns Hopkins Club.  For more information, contact Jack Holmes at 410-516-6928 or jmh@press.jhu.edu.

 

 

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Filed under American History, American Studies, Civil War, D.C., Washington

Picture this: Washington and Baltimore Art Deco

strinerThe bold lines and decorative details of Art Deco have stood the test of time since one of its first appearances in the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925. The style reflected the confidence of the age—streamlined, chrome-clad, glossy black. Along with simple elegance, sharp lines, and cosmopolitan aspirations, Art Deco also carried surprises, juxtaposing designs growing out of speed (race cars and airplanes) with ancient Egyptian and Mexican details, visual references to Russian ballet, and allusions to Asian art.

Melissa Blair, coauthor with Rick Striner of Washington and Baltimore Art Deco: A Design History of Neighboring Cities, speaks on Wednesday, January 28 at 1:00 p.m. at Baltimore’s Pikesville Library about the legacy of this exuberant architectural style in two quite different cities: the white-collar New Deal capital and the blue-collar industrial port city. Visit the library website for more information about the talk—and enjoy this  selection of images from the very handsome book.

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Filed under American History, American Studies, Baltimore, Book talks, D.C., Uncategorized, Urban Studies, Washington

Happy birthday, Jane Austen!

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. Today, on her 239th birthday, Austen’s life and work continue to attract enormous world-wide interest. In 2016, the Folger Shakespeare Library will host an exhibition called Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity, exploring how these writers became literary superheroes. The exhibition will be co-curated by JHU Press authors Janine Barchas (Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity) and Kristina Straub (Domestic Affairs: Intimacy, Eroticism, and Violence between Servants and Masters in Eighteenth-Century Britain).  Congratulations, Janine and Kristina: we’ll see you at the Folger!  For now: Happy birthday, Jane!

“Will & Jane” artwork by Amanda Vela 

 

 

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Filed under Biography, D.C., Libraries, Literature, Shakespeare, Washington, Women's History

Give the gift of books: NATURE

The JHU Press has a beautiful selection of books on the natural world, from the amazing new edition of Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America, to our popular Animal Answer Guide series, to family-friendly guide books, to handsomely illustrated volumes on owls, polar bears, and mountain gorillas. Read more or place an order by clicking on the titles below. To receive a 30% discount on all books featured in this blog post, enter code HDPD at checkout or mention this code when calling in your order at 1-800-537-5487. Happy holidays from JHUP!


Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America
revised and updated, 2-vol. set
Guy Baldassarre
A Wildlife Management Institute Book

“Creating a brand-new version of such a timeless and previously revised classic is a risky venture indeed, but nobody could be better suited for this monumental task than Guy Baldassarre. He has created a stunning new classic, at once magnificent in its visual appeal and truly comprehensive in its scientific breadth and depth. Hats off to Guy for dedicating himself to this project with such obvious passion, patience, and skill. This book absolutely belongs on the shelf or coffee table of anyone who has ever marveled at waterfowl, whether through their binoculars or from inside the duck blind.”—John W. Fitzpatrick, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

“Whether you’re a duck hunter, a decoy collector, or just enamored with the world of waterfowl, Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America is the ultimate reference . . . Destined to become a go-to source for this generation of enthusiasts and the next.”—Garden & Gun

 


Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide
Gene Helfman and George H. Burgess

“Whether you fear sharks or just have a curiosity about them, Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide will home school you about these fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. . . Get a copy, you’ll be glad you did.”—Skip Clement, Fly Life Magazine.com

“I most highly encourage that all interested not only purchase and read Sharks: The Animal Answer Guide themselves but that additional consideration be given to presenting a copy as a gift to anyone with an interest in sharks… Ignorance and error are indeed a darkness of the mind for which the easiest correction is the introduction of light. To that end, this book veritably glows.”—John E. Riutta, The Well-read Naturalist


Penguins: The Animal Answer Guide
Gerald L. Kooyman and Wayne Lynch

“As a penguin biologist, I was surprised how much I learned reading Penguins that I had not already known. For penguin enthusiasts, Penguins: The Animal Answer Guide is a must read that will, thanks to Lynch’s spectacular photographs, be thoroughly thumbed through by the whole family. Likewise, this book should be required reading for those doing penguin outreach or informal education.”—Heather J. Lynch, Quarterly Review of Biology

“The writing is crisp and often witty and entertaining. These characteristics make it appealing to professional ornithologists as well as enthusiastic children—it would be great bedtime reading for any penguin lover. . . Highly recommended.”—Choice


Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior
Text by Andrew E. Derocher
Photographs by Wayne Lynch

“A book which would grace any coffee table, but equally one which should be in the library of every zoo and scientific institution which has an interest in polar bears, Arctic biodiversity or the possible effects of global warming. For every curator, animal manager, veterinarian and zoo architect it should be mandatory reading . . . Global warming, with or without mankind’s help, may cause the polar bear to become extinct and this book may be the best record we have to remember it by.”—Richard Perron, International Zoo News


A Year across Maryland: A Week-by-Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region
Bryan MacKay

“This is a delightful book packed with information on a diversity of organisms with explicit instructions on how to enjoy marvelous creatures virtually every day of the year. MacKay’s passion for natural history is palpable.”—Lytton John Musselman, author of Plants of the Chesapeake Bay: A Guide to Wildflowers, Grasses, Aquatic Vegetation, Trees, Shrubs, and Other Flora

“Whether you want to see Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swans pausing in their northward migration each March, or the mating ‘jubilee’ of polychaete worms during the new moon in May, A Year across Maryland offers valuable advice for the spontaneous adventurer and the serious planner alike.”—Northeastern Naturalist


Trees of Life: A Visual History of Evolution
Theodore W. Pietsch

Trees of Life commemorates the tree as a visual representation of life; science buffs will revel in this dazzling forest of transformation.”—Jen Forbus, Shelf Awareness

Trees of Life is a beautiful book, and the diversity of beautiful images within its pages should be of interest to historians of science, biologists, folks working at the intersection of science and art, and, honestly, anyone with a genuine interest in science and the study of the natural world. This is a taxonomy of trees of life, if you will.”—Michael Barton, Dispersal of Darwin


Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C.
Howard Youth
illustrated by Mark A. Klingler, photographs by Robert E. Mumford, Jr.
foreword by Kirk Johnson

“Downtown sightings of such wild creatures as snowy owls, peregrine falcons, and vultures may generate media attention, but after persusing Howard Youth’s Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C., I don’t find these episodes as outlandish as the headlines might suggest . . . The guide represents a considerable documentation of the species that share our corner of the world.”—Adrian Higgins, Washington Post

“The book is simply an amazingly informative work of art.”—Chris Knauss, The Star Democrat


Mountain Gorillas: Biology, Conservation, and Coexistence
Gene Eckhart and Annette Lanjouw

“Every visit I ever had with mountain gorillas ended in tears. My emotions exploded as I drove away with my back to the silhouette of the Virunga volcanoes. I was always given more by the gorillas, the trackers, and researchers than I could ever find a way to give back with my photographs. Gene Eckhart and Annette Lanjouw’s new book brings me home again, reminding us all of the world treasure that exists so tenuously in this one spot on our fragile planet.”—Michael “Nick” Nichols, National Geographic Magazine

 


Owls of the United States and Canada: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior
Wayne Lynch

“Beautiful, readable, and affordable. So if you plan to give it as a gift, I suggest you buy a copy for yourself as well.”—Whit Gibbons, Tuscaloosa News

“This book is a pleasure to read whether you’re a diehard owl enthusiast or a casual admirer. You’ll find yourself wanting to leave this book somewhere conspicuous, so you can show the images off to friends, family, and unwary passersby.”—Jim Cirigliano, Bird Watcher’s Digest

 


The Quick Guide to Wild Edible Plants: Easy to Pick, Easy to Prepare
Lytton John Musselman and Harold J. Wiggins

“Dr. Musselman is a passionate botanist. Walking among plant life makes him very happy, which means he is happy most of the time, except when riding in a car stuck in a long tunnel. He will stop people on the street to tell them some great news from the plant world.”—Garrison Keillor

“The book is witty and full of commonsense. It is a jolly good read for anyone.”—Jane Manaster, Portland Book Review

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