A twelve-month excursion through nature’s seasons as recounted by a lifetime naturalist
In this “personal encyclopedia of nature’s seasons,” lifetime naturalist Bruce Beehler reflects on his three decades of encountering nature in Washington, D.C. The author takes the reader on a year‑long journey through the seasons as he describes the wildlife seen and special natural places savored in his travels up and down the Potomac River and other localities in the eastern and central United States. Some of these experiences are as familiar as observing ducks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., or as unexpected as collecting fifty‑million‑year‑old fossils on a Potomac beach.
Beyond our nation’s capital, Beehler describes trips to nature’s most beautiful green spaces up and down the East Coast that, he says, should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. Combining diary entries, riffs on natural subjects, field trips, photographs, and beautiful half‑tone wash drawings, this book shows how many outdoor adventures are out there waiting in one’s own backyard. The author inspires the reader to embrace nature to achieve a more peaceful existence.
Bruce M. Beehler is a research associate in the Division of Birds at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He served as a scientist and conservationist for the Smithsonian Institution, Conservation International, U.S. Department of State, and Wildlife Conservation Society. His previous books include Lost Worlds: Adventures in the Tropical Rainforest and North on the Wing: Travels with the Songbird Migration of Spring.
“Bruce M. Beehler is an important new voice in contemporary natural history writing. His books track nature through a season or a year from a personal perspective and show how close observation of the natural world can inform and enhance our wider lives.”—Mark Lynch, Bird Observer
Winner of the 2020 Skipping Stones Honor Award, Nature and Ecology category, sponsored by Skipping Stones: A Multicultural Literary Magazine.
"Beehler evokes nature as a meditative place where we can find calm and serendipitous joy in a confused world. His writing makes scientific knowledge lyrical, accessible, and personal. These pages are highly addicting."—Amy Tan
“Bruce Beehler’s delightful timeline of biking and hiking in the Washington, DC metro area emulates the work of Edwin Way Teale, inspiring readers to appreciate the natural history of the region.”—Meg Lowman, California Academy of Sciences
"Bruce Beehler is able to find something new in a landscape that’s been observed a hundred times before. This book is a welcome call for appreciating the value of what we might otherwise take for granted."—James Barilla, author of My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who Turned His Yard into Habitat and Learned to Live with It
“Bruce Beehler, the road warrior poet of American nature outdoes himself in this attractively illustrated journey through America’s seasons. Bruce has a knack for conjuring imagery through his writing that transports the reader to places both familiar and unusual. Always at your side, Bruce is there to point out the elements of American nature that so many of us would otherwise pass by.”—Michael J. Parr, President, American Bird Conservancy
"Beehler’s Natural Encounters brings readers on a poetic journey of the annual cycle of the natural world — of all things wild and beautiful. His prose seamlessly knits together countless memories with deep scientific knowledge that left me with the urgent desire to go outside and watch."—Peter Marra, Director, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
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