Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Urban Naturalist Getting an Update!

Almost two years ago, I posted a review of The Urban Naturalist by Steven D. Garber in which I commented that, while it was very good, it was also pretty outdated and I would like to see an update.

Today, I got an email from Garber saying that he is planning on updating it and confirming something he mentioned in an earlier comment on that review and giving me permission to place the comment in the blog proper as a shout-out, so--if you like books on urban nature, and if you're interested in seeing an update to The Urban Naturalist, here's a chance to let Garber know about your interest!

Now that it's 25 years since The Urban Naturalist first came out, I'm working on a new edition, featuring how the newest, fastest growing, most important ecosystems in the world keep on changing and growing at breakneck speed. If there are topics you want me to cover in the new edition, please let me know:

I got all excited and sent in my wish list, which I'll post below. It'd be awesome if you'd post your questions here in addition to writing to Garber, because I'm curious about what everyone else is curious about.

Wishes and curiosities
  • I'd like more pictures! In color, if possible. I'm not a naturalist, just someone who walks around looking, and the book's descriptions aren't enough to help me identify chicory or know what a tree of heaven looks like. This isn't Garber's fault: no one's descriptions would be up to the task! I have to study images pretty hard to get an idea.
  • Maybe a bit more West Coast stuff? A lot of the book's focus is New York, which, while interesting, is a long way from anywhere I've been. It also tends to be the default city for people who write about nature in the city, and I can't help but feel that the critters wandering around in an East Coast city might vary in kind and hapbit from the ones who wander through a West Coast area
  • An updated "for further reading" list. Reputable websites would be a big help, too, because they tend to publish more recent information than books do. However, it's always a little hard to evaluate them.
  • Also (and this wasn't in the email) I wonder about freeways and wildlife. On the one hand, all those cars surely kill a lot. On the other, some of the ones nearest my house have long strips of relatively undisturbed land next to them. Not wide, but long. How many animals use them as corridors? I know the local hawks hunt them. Do coyotes?

So, a good book is going to get better--which means a good day just got better.


  1. How cool! And how lovely of the author to ask readers to say what they want to see in a new edition. :)

    1. I'm really looking forward to it!

      Got anything you're wanting?