Those of you who have followed me on the trail or through wondermyway for a while know that I’m not only drawn to mountaintops, but wetlands as well. And I have a few that I frequent including several vernal pools, Holt Pond Preserve, Perky’s Path, and Brownfield Bog.
Book of April
Therefore, when I spotted Take a Wetlands Walk by Jane Kirkland at Maine Audubon’s Nature Store a few years ago I wasn’t surprised that it jumped into my hands and dragged me to the checkout. Since it’s April and the snow is slowly melting in western Maine, and some afternoon in the near future I look forward to receiving an email announcing our local Big Night celebration, it seemed apropos that I should feature Take a Wetlands Walk as the book of the month.
Holt Pond boardwalk
This is a children’s book and I like how the author divided it into three sections, using a phrase often heard at the starting line.
Get Ready–encourages kids to gain a better understanding of wetland terminology in an easy to understand manner. In fact, it’s as if the author is sitting beside you, so conversational is the tone.
Water Snake (notice his tongue)
Get Set–introduces amphibian and reptile species associated with wetlands.
Go!--sends the children outside to read the signs of nature and jot down their observations.
Quaking Bog at Holt Pond
In the Go! section, Kirkland describes what the kids might discover in such places as bogs, estuaries, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, streams, rivers, lakes, vernal pools, swamps, and the Everglades.
Through sidebars, illustrations, and photographs, Kirkland touches on many topics related to wetlands, but constantly encourages further research, including of course, heading out the door. She also includes a wee bit of information about citizen science projects and wetland careers.
Each time she first uses a technical term, she adds a pronunciation key. One of my favorites: The Pileated Woodpecker (Py-lee-ata-id or PILL-e-ate-id). I prefer the latter, but occasionally hear the former uttered. “You like to-may-toes and I like to-mah-toes!”–Although in that sense, I prefer the former tomaytoes.
Throughout, Kirkland shares personal experiences as well as those of her acquaintances. Finally, she includes pages filled with photos to help you identify birds, plants, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and insects related to wetlands.
Yes, this is a children’s book, but adults can also benefit from reading it. And then heading outside.
Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Pick up a copy of Take A Wetlands Walk and visit your nearest wetland.
Take a Wetlands Walk by Jane Kirkland, Stillwater Publishing, 2011