Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest Expeditions


David Attenborough - 2017
    Now 'the greatest living advocate of the global ecosystem' this is the story of the voyages that started it all. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team battled with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. The methods may be outdated now, but the fascination and respect for the wildlife, the people and the environment - and the importance of protecting these wild places - is not.Written with his trademark wit and charm, Adventures of a Young Naturalist is not just the story of a remarkable adventure, but of the man who made us fall in love with the natural world, and who is still doing so today.

Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places


Bill Streever - 2009
    In July he finds it while taking a dip in a 35-degree Arctic swimming hole; in September while excavating our planet's ancient and not so ancient ice ages; and in October while exploring hibernation habits in animals, from humans to wood frogs to bears.A scientist whose passion for cold runs red hot, Streever is a wondrous guide: he conjures woolly mammoth carcasses and the ice-age Clovis tribe from melting glaciers, and he evokes blizzards so wild readers may freeze--limb by vicarious limb.

Don't Look Behind You! A Safari Guide's Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos


Peter Allison - 2009
    In Don't Look Behind You, Allison recounts adventures few would live to tell.

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl


Jonathan C. Slaght - 2020
    . . No scientist had seen a Blakiston’s fish owl so far south in a hundred years . . . When he was just a fledgling birdwatcher, Jonathan C. Slaght had a chance encounter with one of the most mysterious birds on Earth. Bigger than any owl he knew, it looked like a small bear with decorative feathers. He snapped a quick photo and shared it with experts. Soon he was on a five-year journey, searching for this enormous, enigmatic creature in the lush, remote forests of eastern Russia. That first sighting set his calling as a scientist.Despite a wingspan of six feet and a height of over two feet, the Blakiston’s fish owl is highly elusive. They are easiest to find in winter, when their tracks mark the snowy banks of the rivers where they feed. They are also endangered. And so, as Slaght and his devoted team set out to locate the owls, they aim to craft a conservation plan that helps ensure the species’ survival. This quest sends them on all-night monitoring missions in freezing tents, mad dashes across thawing rivers, and free-climbs up rotting trees to check nests for precious eggs. They use cutting-edge tracking technology and improvise ingenious traps. And all along, they must keep watch against a run-in with a bear or an Amur tiger. At the heart of Slaght’s story are the fish owls themselves: cunning hunters, devoted parents, singers of eerie duets, and survivors in a harsh and shrinking habitat.Through this rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and conservationist, Owls of the Eastern Ice testifies to the determination and creativity essential to scientific advancement and serves as a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks


Andrea Lankford - 2010
    She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes. Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it. In this graphic and yet surprisingly funny account of her and others’ extraordinary careers, Lankford unveils a world in which park rangers struggle to maintain their idealism in the face of death, disillusionment, and the loss of a comrade killed while holding that thin green line between protecting the park from the people, the people from the park, and the people from each other. Ranger Confidential is the story behind the scenery of the nation’s crown jewels—Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smokies, Denali. In these iconic landscapes, where nature and humanity constantly collide, scenery can be as cruel as it is redemptive.

The Last Great Ape: A Journey Through Africa and a Fight for the Heart of the Continent


Ofir Drori - 2012
    Before Ofir arrived in Cameroon, no one had ever even tried.The Last Great Ape follows a young Ofir on fantastical adventures as he crosses remote African lands by camel, on a horse, and in dug-out canoes, while living with exotic tribes and struggling against nature at its rawest: charging elephants and hyenas, flash floods, and the need to eat river algae and snails to stay alive.  The story moves from places of extreme beauty to those of the darkest horror: the war zones of Sierra Leone and Liberia. Ofir begins to work as a photojournalist in order to expose his shocking encounter with war victims and child soldiers. His experiences forge in him a resolution to become an activist and to fight for justice.The search for a cause eventually leads him to Cameroon. When Ofir discovers that no one is fighting to disprove Jane Goodall's dark prophesy that apes in the wild will be extinct in twenty years, he decides that he is the man to step in; because he knows he can make a difference, he sees it as his responsibility. And LAGA is born.The Last Great Ape is a story of the fight against extinction and the tragedy of endangered worlds, not just of animals but of people struggling to hold onto their culture. This book reveals the intense beauty and strife that exist side by side in Africa, and Ofir makes the case that activism and dedication to a cause are still relevant in a cynical modern world. This dangerous and dramatic story is one of courage and hope and, most importantly, a search for meaning.

Jungle Jack: My Wild Life


Jack Hanna - 2008
    With the kind of work ethic and enthusiasm he's become known for, Hanna brought new life to the zoo, transforming it into the state-of-the-art facility it is today. It was an achievement for which he was well prepared: Hanna was only eleven years old when he got his first job with animals-cleaning cages for the family vet. As a newlywed, he and his wife, Suzi, ran a pet shop and petting zoo, and he later worked for a wildlife adventure outfit. You've probably seen Hanna as a wildlife correspondent with his animal friends on The Late Show with David Letterman, Larry King Live, Entertainment Tonight, and Hannity & Colmes. Full of unpredictable animal escapades and the occasional tragedy, this book takes readers on an enjoyable safari through the life of "Jungle" Jack Hanna.

The Blue Bear: A True Story of Friendship and Discovery in the Alaskan Wild


Lynn Schooler - 2002
    In 1990, Schooler met Japanese photographer Michio Hoshino, and began a profound friendship cemented by a shared love of adventure and a passionate quest to find the elusive glacier bear, an exceedingly rare creature, seldom seen and shrouded in legend. But only after Hoshino's tragic death from a bear attack does Schooler succeed in photographing the animal -- completing a remarkable journey that ultimately brings new meaning to his life. The Blue Bear is an unforgettable book. Set amid the wild archipelagoes, deep glittering fjords, and dense primordial forests of Alaska's Glacier Coast, it is rich with the lyric sensibility and stunning prose of such nature classics as Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams and Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard.

Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living


Karen Auvinen - 2018
    When a fire incinerates every word she has ever written and all of her possessions—except for her beloved dog Elvis, her truck, and a few singed artifacts—Karen embarks on a heroic journey to reconcile her desire to be alone with her need for community.

The Drunken Forest


Gerald Durrell - 1956
    With Durrell for interpreter, an orange armadillo, or a horned toad, or a crab-eating raccoon, or a baby giant anteater suddenly discovers the ability not merely to set you laughing but actually to endear itself to you.ContentsExplanationSaludos1. Oven-birds and burrowing owls2. Eggbert and the Terrible TwinsInterlude3. Fields of flying flowers4. The orange armadillos5. Bevy of bichos6. Fawns, frogs, and fer-de-lance7. Terrible toads and a bushel of birds8. The four-eyed bird and the anaconda9. Sarah Huggersack10. Rattlesnakes and revolutionInterlude11. The Rhea HuntAdios!Acknowledgements

Epic Solitude: A Story of Survival and a Quest for Meaning in the Far North


Katherine Keith - 2020
    Her travels take her across America, but it is in the vast and rugged landscape of Alaska that she finds her true home. Alaska is known as a place where people disappear--at least a couple thousand go missing each year. But the same vast and rugged landscape that contributed to so many people being lost is precisely what has gotten her found.She and her husband build a log cabin miles away from the nearest road and create a life of love. An idyllic existence, but with isolation and brutal living conditions can also come heartbreak. Chopping wood and hauling water are not just parts of a Zen proverb but a requirement for survival. Keith experiences tragic loss and must push on, with her infant daughter, alone in the Alaskan backcountry.Long-distance dog sledding opens a door to a new existence. Racing across the state of Alaska offers the best of all worlds by combining raw wilderness with solitude and athleticism. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the "Last Great Race on Earth," remains a true test of character and offers the opportunity to intimately explore the frontier that she has come to love.With every thousand miles of winter trail traversed in total solitude, she confronts challenges that awaken internal demons, summoning all the inner grief and rage that lies dormant. In the tradition of Cheryl Strayed's Wild and John Krakauer's Into the Wild, Epic Solitude is the powerful and touching story of how one woman found her way--both despite and because of--the difficulties of living and racing in the remote wilderness.

Born Wild: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Passion for Africa


Tony Fitzjohn - 2010
             Born Wild is the memoir of Fitzjohn’s extraordinary life. It shows how a man driven by an impossibly restless spirit can do almost anything, from being a bouncer in a brothel, to surviving a vicious lion attack, to fighting with the Tanzanian government, to being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen.         A notorious hell-raiser given to scrapes with bandits, evil policemen, and wicked politicians, who has been shot at by poachers and chewed up by lions, Fitzjohn is also a wonderful raconteur. Shenanigans aside, he belongs to that rare species of humans who have sought refuge and meaning in a life truly dedicated to the restoration of the animal kingdom. Many times Tony Fitzjohn has put his life on the line for the cause in which he believes. Born Wild is the story of that passion.

A Supremely Bad Idea: Three Mad Birders and Their Quest to See It All


Luke Dempsey - 2008
    But did he really want to be a birder? Didn't that mean he'd be forced to eat granola? And wear a man-pouch? Before he knew it, though, he was lost to birding mania. Early mornings in Central Park gave way to weekend mornings wandering around Pennsylvania, which morphed into weeklong trips to Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Florida--anywhere the birds were. A Supremely Bad Idea is one man's account of an epic journey around America, all in search of the rarest and most beautiful birds the country has to offer. But the birds are only part of it. There are also his crazy companions, Don and Donna Graffiti, who obsess over Dempsey's culinary limitations and watch in horror as an innocent comment in a store in Arizona almost turns into an international incident; as a trip through wild Florida turns into a series of (sometimes poetic) fisticuffs; and as he teeters at the summit of the Rocky Mountains, a displaced Brit falling in love all over again, this time with his adopted country. Both a paean to avian beauty and a memoir of the back roads of America, A Supremely Bad Idea is a supremely fun comic romp: an environmentally sound This Is Spinal Tap with binoculars.

Wildwood: A Journey through Trees


Roger Deakin - 2007
    In Deakin's glorious meditation on wood, the "fifth element"as it exists in nature, in our culture, and in our souls the reader accompanies Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Australia in search of what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with trees.Deakin lives in forest shacks, goes "coppicing" in Suffolk, swims beneath the walnut trees of the Haut-Languedoc, and hunts bushplums with Aboriginal women in the outback. Along the way, he ferrets out the mysteries of woods, detailing the life stories of the timber beams composing his Elizabethan house and searching for the origin of the apple.As the world's forests are whittled away, Deakin's sparkling prose evokes woodlands anarchic with life, rendering each tree as an individual, living being. At once a traveler's tale and a splendid work of natural history, Wildwood reveals, amid the world's marvelous diversity, that which is universal in human experience.

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession


Mark Obmascik - 2003
    For three men in particular, 1998 would become a grueling battle for a new North American birding record. Bouncing from coast to coast on frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. This unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a record so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested. Here, prize-winning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a dazzling, fun narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to win the greatest -- or maybe worst -- birding contest of all time.