Thursday, April 17, 2014

Celebrate Earth Day With Some Inspirational Reads

April 22nd is Earth Day and I am looking forward to celebrating with my kiddos. We are going to explore the natural world around us with the help of a few enticing books from DK Canada. Right now, DK is offering a selection of inspiring titles in their Earthly Pleasures Boutique. Best of all, these books are 30% off! (I confess there are few things I like more than a discounted book.)

I am counting on Audubon's The Practical Naturalist to make up for the fact that I only studied Science as long as I had to (Grade 10). While I have always loved nature, animals and frogs (yes, I pick them up!), I couldn't tell you much about them. The Practical Naturalist helps you look at the world in a new light, whether you live in the city, suburbs or country.

A chapter on weather and sky teaches you about climate and seasons and even how to read the dazzling array of clouds in the sky to forecast upcoming weather. There's a fun chapter called "What a naturalist needs" that outlines a "tool kit" of items to help you explore - like binoculars, notebooks, hiking boots and cameras. But all you really need is curiosity. As the book reminds us, we can find the natural world right in our own homes, seeing as we share them with "an array of successful opportunists" such as spiders, houseflies and fleas!

The father and son team of Dick and James Strawbridge brings us Self Sufficiency For The 21st Century, demonstrating how to live a more sustainable life, whether in the city, the suburbs or the country. Sharing their experiences, tips and techniques, the authors show us how to make practical changes that reduce our carbon footprints. 

I'm not going to be slaughtering and butchering a pig in this lifetime (yes, there's a section on that), but I am interested in their tips for maximizing the gardening space in an urban or suburban yard, taking an energy audit of your home, setting up a workshop, encouraging wildlife and growing vegetables. The book even provides step-by-step instructions for making a solar dryer, an ancient cooking method that you can use to dry fruits and veggies. I sense a summer project for my husband.

When I was a kid, I loved wildflowers. They grew in abundance right in the grass on our big front lawn at the cottage. In addition to being beautiful, the flowers were part of a perfect sanctuary for insects, worms and bees. I still love the combination of yellow and purple wildflowers today. Wildlife Gardening by Martyn Cox is a fun introduction to gardening and garden wildlife for kids.

The book has colourful, simple, step-by-step gardening activities that can be explored anywhere from the city to the suburbs. Together with your kids, you can create a window box, a pond complete with pond plants, a hibernation log pile, a wildlife hedge, a butterfly house and more. The brave souls among us can even create a bee hotel. Love them or hate them, we all know how important bees are to the production of flowers and crops. The projects in Wildlife Gardening seem to be simple enough that even I can do them! Snail race track anyone?

Enjoy Earth Day my friends!

*I received books for review purposes. All opinions are my own.


  1. Such wonderful looking picks! I love thumbing through gardening books.

    1. I like the books - the gardening not quite as much. ;)