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What to Read for National Wildlife Day

August 31, 2020

​National Wildlife Day was founded in 2005 by animal behaviorist and philanthropist Colleen Paige. Originally celebrated on September 4, a second day has been added on February 22 to honor the birthday of wildlife conservationist “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. The day “serves to bring awareness of endangered animals nationally as well as globally, that need to be preserved and rescued from their demise each year, but also to acknowledge zoos and outstanding animal sanctuaries globally for everything they do to help preserve this planet’s animals and educate the public about conservation” (nationalwildlifeday.com).

We’ve gathered together some books on wildlife and conservation. Other great ways to observe National Wildlife Day include taking a hike, donating to conservation groups, and picking up trash!

In this list: conservation in your backyard, stories of endangered animals, conservation.

 

Conservation In Your Backyard

The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design An Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard That Nurtures Bees And Supports Biodiversity Book Cover

The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design An Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard That Nurtures Bees And Supports Biodiversity

Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn

Frey and LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a vibrant, healthy garden that helps both the threatened honeybee and native bees. Just a few simple changes to your garden will make your yard a welcoming habitat for nature’s most productive pollinator.

Handmade Bird, Bee, And Bat Houses: 25 Beautiful Homes, Feeders, And More To Attract Wildlife Into Your Garden Book Cover

Handmade Bird, Bee, And Bat Houses: 25 Beautiful Homes, Feeders, And More To Attract Wildlife Into Your Garden

Michele McKee-Orsini

Handmade Bird, Bee, and Bat Houses features homes to build for everything from bees to bats, and bluebirds to butterflies. Each house is beautifully designed, with colorful details, but is also perfectly adapted for its intended inhabitants. There are birdhouses you can hang up or place on stands, a bee house you can “plant” in your flowerbed, and there’s even a home for a toad. There are also feeders for birds and butterflies, and homes for ladybugs. With her trademark attention to detail, Michele McKee-Orsini has designed a collection of miniature palaces for the wildlife that we should all be encouraging into our backyards. Michele takes you through the basic woodworking and decorating skills you will need, and the step-by-step project instructions, clear artwork, and stunning photography will all inspire you to build your own bird, bee, and bat houses.

The Humane Gardener: Nurturing A Backyard Habitat For Wildlife Book Cover

The Humane Gardener: Nurturing A Backyard Habitat For Wildlife

Nancy Lawson

In this eloquent plea for compassion and respect for all species, journalist and gardener Nancy Lawson describes why and how to welcome wildlife to our backyards. Through engaging anecdotes and inspired advice, profiles of home gardeners throughout the country, and interviews with scientists and horticulturalists, Lawson applies the broader lessons of ecology to our own outdoor spaces. Detailed chapters address planting for wildlife by choosing native species; providing habitats that shelter baby animals, as well as birds, bees, and butterflies; creating safe zones in the garden; cohabiting with creatures often regarded as pests; letting nature be your garden designer; and encouraging natural processes and evolution in the garden. The Humane Gardener fills a unique niche in describing simple principles for both attracting wildlife and peacefully resolving conflicts with all the creatures that share our world.

Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach To Conservation That Starts In Your Yard Book Cover

Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach To Conservation That Starts In Your Yard

Douglas W. Tallamy

In this new book, Tallamy outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it’s practical, effective, and easy—you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard. If you’re concerned about doing something good for the environment, Nature’s Best Hope is the blueprint you need. By acting now, you can help preserve our precious wildlife—and the planet—for future generations.

Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening For Bees, Butterflies, And Other Pollinators Book Cover

Pollinator Friendly Gardening: Gardening For Bees, Butterflies, And Other Pollinators

Rhonda Fleming Hayes

Want to do your part in helping your local pollinators flourish? Pollinator Friendly Gardening makes it easy. Pollinators such as monarch butterflies and bees are under threat, and more and more gardeners want to do all they can to create a hospitable space for them. That’s where Pollinator Friendly Gardening comes in. It identifies the most visible and beloved pollinators: bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, as well as some more unlikely candidates such as ants, wasps, and beetles. It then explains the intriguing synergy between plants and pollinators. This vital information makes it a unique sourcebook to share the ways that anyone can make a yard a more friendly place for pollinators. Plant selection, hardscape choices, habitat building (both natural and manmade), and growing practices that give pollinators their best chance in the garden are all covered in detail. Plant lists organized by category, helpful tips, and expert spotlights make it a fun and easy book to read too.

The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win The War On Pollinator Decline With Ecological Gardening: How To Attract And Support Bees, Beetles, Butterflies, Bats, And Other Pollinators Book Cover

The Pollinator Victory Garden: Win The War On Pollinator Decline With Ecological Gardening: How To Attract And Support Bees, Beetles, Butterflies, Bats, And Other Pollinators

Kim Eierman

The passion and urgency that inspired WWI and WWII Victory Gardens is needed today to meet another threat to our food supply and our environment-the steep decline of pollinators. The Pollinator Victory Garden offers practical solutions for winning the war against the demise of these beneficial animals. Pollinators are critical to our food supply and responsible for the pollination of the vast majority of all flowering plants on our planet. Pollinators include not just bees, but many different types of animals, including insects and mammals. Beetles, bats, birds, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, and even some mosquito species, can be pollinators. But, many pollinators are in trouble, and the reality is that most of our landscapes have little to offer them. Our residential landscapes, and many commercial landscapes, are filled with vast green pollinator deserts, better known as lawns. These monotonous green expanses are ecological wastelands for bees and other pollinators. By planting a bit differently and by tweaking your landscape aesthetic, you can transition your landscape into a pollinator haven. By using proper cultural practices in your garden, choosing the right plant for the right location, and by attracting “nature’s pest control” (beneficial insects that act as natural enemies), you can keep nature in balance and give pollinators a fighting chance. The time is right for a new gardening movement. Every yard, community garden, rooftop, porch, patio, and corporate landscape can help to win the war against pollinator decline with The Pollinator Victory Garden.

Wildlife In Your Garden: Planting And Landscaping To Create A Backyard Sanctuary Book Cover

Wildlife In Your Garden: Planting And Landscaping To Create A Backyard Sanctuary

Edited by Karen Lanier

Imagine a thriving garden in your backyard, bursting with vibrantly colored blooms and lush green leaves, shaded by tall trees. Now imagine the same garden, alive with buzzing and flapping and chirping and croaking. Imagine the ecological impact of encouraging natural pollinators. Imagine the excitement of watching your garden become a hub of activity and learning about all of its different visitors. For those who relish observing nature in action, planning a garden to attract certain types of wildlife can bring daily enjoyment right into the backyard.

 

Stories Of Endangered Animals

American Wolf: A True Story Of Survival And Obsession In The West Book Cover

American Wolf: A True Story Of Survival And Obsession In The West

Nate Blakeslee

The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her. Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West. With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world. But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley. These forces collide in American Wolf, a riveting multigenerational saga of hardship and triumph that tells a larger story about the ongoing cultural clash in the West—between those fighting for a vanishing way of life and those committed to restoring one of the country’s most iconic landscapes.

Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle To Save The Florida Panther Book Cover

Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle To Save The Florida Panther

Craig Pittman

It wasn’t so long ago when a lot of people thought the Florida panther was extinct. They were very nearly right. That the panther still exists at all is a miracle—the result of a desperate experiment that led to the most remarkable comeback in the history of the Endangered Species Act. And no one has told the whole story—until now. With novelistic detail and an eye for the absurd, Craig Pittman recounts the extraordinary story of the people who brought the panther back from the brink of extinction, the ones who nearly pushed the species over the edge, and the cats that were caught in the middle.

An Elephant In My Kitchen: What The Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage And Survival Book Cover

An Elephant In My Kitchen: What The Herd Taught Me About Love, Courage And Survival

Françoise Malby-Anthony with Katja Willemsen

A heart-warming sequel to the international bestseller The Elephant Whisperer, by Lawrence Anthony’s wife Françoise Malby-Anthony. A chic Parisienne, Françoise never expected to find herself living on a South African game reserve. But then she fell in love with conservationist Lawrence Anthony and everything changed. After Lawrence’s death, Françoise faced the daunting responsibility of running Thula Thula without him. Poachers attacked their rhinos, their security team wouldn’t take orders from a woman and the authorities were threatening to cull their beloved elephant family. On top of that, the herd’s feisty new matriarch Frankie didn’t like her. In this heart-warming and moving book, Françoise describes how she fought to protect the herd and to make her dream of building a wildlife rescue center a reality. She found herself caring for a lost baby elephant who turned up at her house, and offering refuge to traumatized orphaned rhinos, and a hippo called Charlie who was scared of water. As she learned to trust herself, she discovered she’d had Frankie wrong all along.

The Horse Lover: A Cowboy's Quest To Save The Wild Mustangs Book Cover

The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest To Save The Wild Mustangs

H. Alan Day with Lynn Wiese Sneyd

He already owned and managed two ranches and needed a third about as much as he needed a permanent migraine: that’s what Alan Day said every time his friend pestered him about an old ranch in South Dakota. But in short order, he proudly owned 35,000 pristine grassy acres. The opportunity then dropped into his lap to establish a sanctuary for unadoptable wild horses previously warehoused by the Bureau of Land Management. After Day successfully lobbied Congress, those acres became Mustang Meadows Ranch, the first government-sponsored wild horse sanctuary established in the United States.

The Falcon Thief: A True Tale Of Adventure, Treachery, And The Hunt For The Perfect Bird Book Cover

The Falcon Thief: A True Tale Of Adventure, Treachery, And The Hunt For The Perfect Bird

Joshua Hammer

On May 3, 2010, Irish national Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales. Hammer follows the parallel lives of a globe-trotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors worth millions of dollars as race champions, and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who is hell bent on protecting the world’s birds of prey. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure— and wholly unputdownable.

The Last Rhinos: My Battle To Save One Of The World's Greatest Creatures Book Cover

The Last Rhinos: My Battle To Save One Of The World’s Greatest Creatures

Lawrence Anthony

When Lawrence Anthony learned that the northern white rhino, living in the war-ravaged Congo, was on the very brink of extinction, he knew he had to act. If the world lost the sub-species, it would be the largest land mammal since the woolly mammoth to go extinct. In The Last Rhinos, Anthony recounts his attempts to save these remarkable animals. The demand for rhino horns in the Far East has turned poaching into a dangerous black market that threatens the lives of not just these rare beasts, but also the rangers who protect them. The northern white rhino’s last refuge was in an area controlled by the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the most vicious rebel groups in the world. In the face of unmoving government bureaucracy, Anthony made a perilous journey deep into the jungle to try to find and convince them to help save the rhino. An inspiring story of conservation in the face of brutal war and bureaucratic quagmires, The Last Rhinos will move animal lovers everywhere.

Path Of The Puma: The Remarkable Resilience Of The Mountain Lion Book Cover

Path Of The Puma: The Remarkable Resilience Of The Mountain Lion

Jim Williams with Joe Glickman

During a time when most wild animals are experiencing decline in the face of development and climate change, the intrepid mountain lion—also known as a puma, a cougar, and by many other names—has experienced reinvigoration as well as expansion of territory. What makes this cat, the fourth carnivore in the food chain—just ahead of humans—so resilient and resourceful? And what can conservationists and wild life managers learn from them about the web of biodiversity that is in desperate need of protection? Their story is fascinating for the lessons it can afford the protection of all species in times of dire challenge and decline.

The Photo Ark: One Man's Quest To Document The World's Animals Book Cover

The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest To Document The World’s Animals

Joel Sartore ; foreword by Harrison Ford

Joel Sartore is committed to documenting every animal in captivity—with a focus on the growing list of endangered species and those facing extinction—circling the globe, visiting zoos and wildlife rescue centers to create studio portraits of 12,000 species. Paired with the eloquent prose of veteran wildlife writer Douglas Chadwick, and with a foreword by Harrison Ford, Sartore’s animal portraits are riveting: from tiny to mammoth, from the Florida grasshopper sparrow to the greater one-horned rhinoceros. Now, with the accelerating pace of climate change and its devastating effect on wildlife habitat, his book presents a more urgent argument for saving all the species of our planet.

Silence Of The Songbirds Book Cover

Silence Of The Songbirds

Bridget Stutchbury

Links the disappearance of migratory songbirds to the environmental problems that threaten them and examines the long-term repercussions of the loss of songbird species and what can be done to preserve the birds and the ecosystem.

The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, And Other Tales From The Wild Side Of Wildlife Book Cover

The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, And Other Tales From The Wild Side Of Wildlife

Lucy Cooke

A tour of some of the basest instincts and vice-related mysteries of the animal world includes profiles of drunken moose, cheating penguins, lazy worker ants, and other oddities.

Where The Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife With Technology In 50 Maps And Graphics Book Cover

Where The Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife With Technology In 50 Maps And Graphics

James Cheshire, Oliver Uberti

For thousands of years, tracking animals meant following footprints. Now satellites, drones, camera traps, cellphone networks, and accelerometers reveal the natural world as never before. Where the Animals Go is the first book to offer a comprehensive, data-driven portrait of how creatures like ants, otters, owls, turtles, and sharks navigate the world. Based on pioneering research by scientists at the forefront of the animal-tracking revolution, James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti’s stunning, four-color charts and maps tell fascinating stories of animal behavior. These astonishing infographics explain how warblers detect incoming storms using sonic vibrations, how baboons make decisions, and why storks prefer garbage dumps to wild forage; they follow pythons racing through the Everglades, a lovelorn wolf traversing the Alps, and humpback whales visiting undersea mountains. Where the Animals Go is a triumph of technology, data science, and design, bringing broad perspective and intimate detail to our understanding of the animal kingdom.

 

Conservation

100 Heartbeats: The Race To Save Earth's Most Endangered Species Book Cover

100 Heartbeats: The Race To Save Earth’s Most Endangered Species

Jeff Corwin

Provides an urgent portrait of the animals that are only a few heartbeats away from extinction due to habitat loss and human exploitation, as well as inspiring stories of conservation efforts.

Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope For A Future On Earth? Book Cover

Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope For A Future On Earth?

Alan Weisman

In this timely work, Alan Weisman examines how we can shrink our collective human footprint so that we don’t stomp any more species—including our own—out of existence. The answer: reducing gradually and non-violently the number of humans on the planet whose activities, industries and lifestyles are damaging the Earth.

Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, And Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet Book Cover

Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, And Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet

Edward Humes

The story of the remarkable visionaries who have quietly dedicated their lives and their fortunes to saving the planet from ecological destruction. While many people remain paralyzed by the scope of Earth’s environmental woes, eco barons—a new and largely unheralded generation of Rockefellers and Carnegies—are having spectacular success saving forests and wildlands, pulling endangered species back from the brink, and pioneering the clean and green technologies needed if life and civilization are to endure.

The Father Of American Conservation: George Bird Grinnell, Adventurer, Activist, And Author Book Cover

The Father Of American Conservation: George Bird Grinnell, Adventurer, Activist, And Author

Thom Hatch

Award-winning author, Thom Hatch presents the definitive biography of George Bird Grinnell (1849-1938), who was recognized in his time as “The Father of American Conservation.” This book chronicles not only Grinnell’s life, but also offers a history of his accomplishments in saving the wildlife and natural resources of this country.

Greenpeace: How A Group Of Journalists, Ecologists And Visionaries Changed The World Book Cover

Greenpeace: How A Group Of Journalists, Ecologists And Visionaries Changed The World

Rex Weyler

Greenpeace—the uniting of the ‘green’ and the ‘peace’ movements—is a pressure group that has changed the world and changed our perceptions of protest. From small beginnings, through anti-whaling voyages, action on seal hunting, pesticide spraying, supertankers, nuclear weapons and much more Greenpeace has become a cultural icon.

Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight For Life Book Cover

Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight For Life

Edward O. Wilson

In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature.

Hope For Animals And Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued From The Brink Book Cover

Hope For Animals And Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued From The Brink

Jane Goodall, with Thane Maynard and Gail Hudson

The world-renowned scientist collects stories of endangered species that have beat the odds including the American crocodile, the California condor, and the black-footed ferret, in a volume that interweaves her own experiences in the field with tales of the accomplishments of premier scientists.

Invisible Nature: Healing The Destructive Divide Between People And The Environment Book Cover

Invisible Nature: Healing The Destructive Divide Between People And The Environment

Kenneth Worthy

A revolutionary new understanding of the precarious modern human-nature relationship and a path to a healthier, more sustainable world. Amidst all the wondrous luxuries of the modern world—smartphones, fast intercontinental travel, Internet movies, fully stocked refrigerators—lies an unnerving fact that may be even more disturbing than all the environmental and social costs of our lifestyles. The fragmentations of our modern lives, our disconnections from nature and from the consequences of our actions, make it difficult to follow our own values and ethics, so we can no longer be truly ethical beings. When we buy a computer or a hamburger, our impacts ripple across the globe, and, dissociated from them, we can’t quite respond. Our personal and professional choices result in damages ranging from radioactive landscapes to disappearing rainforests, but we can’t quite see how. Environmental scholar Kenneth Worthy traces the broken pathways between consumers and clean-room worker illnesses, superfund sites in Silicon Valley, and massively contaminated landscapes in rural Asian villages. His groundbreaking, psychologically based explanation confirms that our disconnections make us more destructive and that we must bear witness to nature and our consequences. Invisible Nature shows the way forward: how we can create more involvement in our own food production, more education about how goods are produced and waste is disposed, more direct and deliberative democracy, and greater contact with the nature that sustains us.

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference Book Cover

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference

Greta Thunberg

The groundbreaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has become the voice of a generation, including her historic address to the United Nations.

Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt And The Land Of America Book Cover

Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt And The Land Of America

Douglas Brinkley

Examines the environmental legacy of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, evaluating the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the dozens of state park systems that were protected by his decisions. FDR built state park systems and scenic roadways from scratch. Through his leadership, pristine landscapes such as the Great Smokies, the Everglades, Joshua Tree, the Olympics, Big Bend, and the Channel Islands were forever saved. Brinkley traces FDR’s love for the natural world back to his youth spent exploring the Hudson River Valley and birdwatching. Forestry would soon become a consuming passion. As America’s president from 1933 to 1945, Roosevelt, a consummate political strategist, established hundreds of federal migratory bird refuges and spearheaded the modern movement to protect endangered species. He deftly positioned his conservation goals as economic policy to combat the severe unemployment of the Great Depression. During its seven-year existence, the CCC put nearly three million young men to work on conservation projects—including planting trees, national park preservation, pollution control, and grasslands restoration. Rightful Heritage is an epic chronicle that is both an irresistible portrait of FDR’s unrivaled passion and drive and an indispensable analysis that skillfully illuminates the tension between business and nature—exploiting our natural resources and conserving them. Within the narrative are capsule biographies of such environmental warriors as Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes, and Aldo Leopold.

The Spine Of The Continent: The Most Ambitious Wildlife Conservation Project Ever Undertaken Book Cover

The Spine Of The Continent: The Most Ambitious Wildlife Conservation Project Ever Undertaken

Mary Ellen Hannibal

As climate change encroaches, animals and plants around the globe are having their habitats pulled out from under them. At the same time, human development has made islands out of even our largest nature reserves, stranding the biodiversity that lives within them. The Spine of the Continent introduces readers to the most ambitious wildlife conservation effort ever undertaken: to create linked protected areas extending from the Yukon to Mexico, the entire length of North America.

The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do To Care For The Animals We Love Book Cover

The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do To Care For The Animals We Love

Jane Goodall and Marc Bekoff

Combining her life’s work living among the chimpanzees with her spiritual perspective on the relationship between humans and animals, world-famous scientist Jane Goodall collaborates with animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff on the “ten trust” that humans must honor as custodians of the planet.

Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park And The Evolution Of An American Cultural Icon Book Cover

Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park And The Evolution Of An American Cultural Icon

John Clayton

As America’s premier national park, Yellowstone today stands for wilderness, ecological science, and natural beauty. But those associations, and others, have evolved since the park’s founding in 1872. Evocatively written and masterfully researched, [this book] presents a new perspective on Yellowstone, examining how the emotions evoked by its natural wonders explain the park’s relationship to America as a whole. Whether it is artists like Thomas Moran and Ansel Adams, naturalists, entrepreneurs, or a pop culture icon like Yogi Bear, Clayton shows how these characters in the story of Yellowstone reflect and redefine the park for their own era. When Ernest Thompson Seton first observed bears from a garbage pit in 1897, his adventures highlighted the way the park was transforming from a set of geological oddities to a wildlife sanctuary, mirroring the nation’s newfound concerns about disappearing populations of bison and other species. Subsequent eras added democratic patriotism, ecosystem science, and spiritual inspiration as core hallmarks of the park. Whether it is an unpeopled wilderness, a setting that allows for displays of Rooseveltian masculinity, or a family funhouse, Yellowstone boasts diverse wonders that continually meet our nation’s changing needs. As the National Park System enters its second century, the meaning of the national parks—and Yellowstone as the system’s flagship—is again central to our culture. Wonderlandscape shows the changes in Yellowstone’s heritage, and how it will continue to transform and evolve for generations to come.