Book Club: 5 Books for Nature Enthusiasts
Whether you’re a tree hugger, an avid gardener or someone who simply enjoys spending time outdoors, these five books will help you connect to nature on a new level.
The Hidden Life of Trees: Can trees communicate with each other? Peter Wohlleben thinks so. In his fascinating book, Wohlleben describes the complex social network of trees — what he calls the “woodwide web” — that’s happening beneath our feet. Wohlleben, who’s spent more than 20 years working for the forestry commission in Germany, uses scientific data on forest ecology to explain how tree “families” nurture, feed and protect one another. A walk in the forest will never be the same.
The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife: If you fancy yourself as Snow White and long for critters to visit you, you can do more than just wish upon a star. Naturalist and master gardener Nancy Lawson shares how to attract wildlife to your backyard by creating a welcoming and nurturing habitat. Lawson, who writes the Humane Backyard column for the Humane Society of America, offers insights into how creatures and gardens can co-exist peacefully and explains the ecological purpose behind some much maligned critters, such as opossums. Singing with wildlife is up to you.
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative: Through scientific research, science journalist Florence Williams explains the healing power of being in nature. From studies on how being in green space helps calm those with ADHD, to forest healing programs in South Korea and outdoor programs for Veterans suffering from PTSD, Williams makes the case for getting out into nature as part of our overall health and well-being.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World: What do apples, tulips, marijuana and potatoes have to do with sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control? With science, history and humor, science journalist Michael Pollan dissects how the domestication of these four crops fueled these human desires. It’s also a cautious look at our influence on nature and what that means for us.
The Reason for Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology and How They Change Our Lives: If you love to garden or simply love flowers, there’s reason enough to read pollination ecologist Stephen Buchmann’s book. But you don’t need to like gardening or flowers to appreciate this exploration of the world of floriculture and why it’s mattered throughout the ages. It will surely have you stopping to smell the roses.
To reap some benefits from nature right away, read how houseplants can supercharge your sleep.