Structured as a series of interactive field walks through ten New England ecosystems, this book challenges readers to see the world through the eyes of a trained naturalist. Through guided questions, immersive photography, and a narrative approach, each chapter adds layers of complexity to a single scene, revealing the millions of years of forces at play. Tying together the disciplines of geology, forest ecology, wildlife biology, soil processes, evolution, conservation, and more, Noah Charney shows how and why landscapes appear in their current forms.
Charney’s stories and lessons will provide anyone with the necessary investigative skills to look at a landscape, interpret it, and tell its story—from its start as rock or soil to the plants and animals that live on it. Ultimately, Charney argues, by critically engaging with the landscape we will become more connected with nature and more fully able to understand ourselves.
"A book for the shelf of any forest wanderer—and a book to take on those wanders, so you can much better understand what you're seeing!"—Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home
“Charney inspires readers to rediscover a sense of wonder in their local landscapes. From soil to slopes to stonewalls to salamanders, become a nature detective by reading this insightful book!”—Meg Lowman, author of Life in the Treetops and The Arbornaut
“Written in a familiar and conversational style, this book will be a welcome source for naturalist studies and the ‘reading’ of landscapes.”—Robert Sanford, author of Reading Rural Landscapes: A Field Guide to New England's Past
“Unfolding as a series of puzzles or mysteries in the landscape, this book is a thought-provoking, vivid, and creative guide to asking the right questions and being in the moment in the outdoors.”—James Barilla, author of My Backyard Jungle
“A delightful immersion in close observation and deep understanding.”—Tristan Gooley, author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs and The Natural Navigator