Thank you to those of you who sent me your favorite books about nature. Below are a few that would make great holiday gifts. Please continue to share your favorites for future columns.
“The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative”
Linda Landau of Lafayette recommends two books; The first is “The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative” by Florence Williams who shares her research and explains why nature is so important to our mental and physical health, especially for children.
While some of her discoveries are not new, they are however more evidence of why spending time outside without technology is important to all, especially children. Here are some of Williams’:
- As little as 15 minutes in natural settings reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Increasing exposure to nature for about 45 minutes a day allows the frontal lobes of the brain to relax, which leads to more creativity for the rest of the day
- The chemicals in evergreen forests strengthen the immune system and act as mild sedatives, as well as stimulating respiration.
- Water, birdsong and looking at fractal patterns triggers the brain to put out more alpha waves, which are proven to improve mood and alertness.
- Awe, which many people experience in nature, is associated with increased generosity toward other people.
- While all these benefits can experienced while walking in a city park, and urban areas, a yearly trip to the forest is recommended.
“The California Field Atlas”
Linda’s second recommendation is “The California Field Atlas” by Obi Kaufmann. It is a wonderful collection of the flora and fauna of our state. The author spent 10 years traveling, studying and drawing everything he found. Kaufmann, a local bay area resident, grew up exploring Mount Diablo and other local gems from which he drew inspiration for this beautifully illustrated guide to California. What I think makes this atlas unique is the way Kaufmann presents the information — the small format of the book, his blending of botanical illustrations, scientific information and his introspection for each of the places he depicts in the book.
“The California Field Atlas” won numerous awards in 2018 including first place for San Francisco Chronicle Best Seller, the California Book Award Gold Medal and the NCIBA Book of the Year Award. It was also a finalist in the 2018 Northern California Book Awards
“Ground Rules:100 Easy Lessons For Growing a More Glorious Garden”
Are you looking for inspiration for renovating an established garden, or just beginning the process of creating one? Julia Mauchly from Antioch recommends Kate Frey’s book “Ground Rules:100 Easy Lessons For Growing a More Glorious Garden”.
Frey is a garden designer and educator who lives in Hopland, Calif. Her gardens are ecologically friendly, profuse, productive and bursting with blossoms. She won two gold medals and one silver-gilt medal at The Chelsea Flower Show in London, where she met Queen Elizabeth. She designed and managed The Melissa Garden in Healdsburg and Lynmar Winery in Sebastopol.
“Ground Rules” is arranged according to each rule with an explanation of its importance in designing the garden. The photographs accompanying the rules are from Frey’s designs. Her gardens are lush, yet water conserving. Her ideas are practical and easy to follow.
Elizabeth from Moraga loves that she can share some of her favorite children’s books she read to her kids with her granddaughter. She recommends an old favorite of mine as well, Barbara Cooney’s book called “Miss Rumphius”.
Published in 1985, the book is timeless. The story is based on Alice Rumphius from Maine, known as the Lupine Lady because she scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went.
Readers share their favorite books about nature