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Further Than Internet Reading

To me, the internet does not seem to be a replacement for books, despite Project Gutenberg. I don't know if that's going to be true forever, but for a good time it is true. Below are the references and inspirational reading that helps me identify, understand, quantify, and think. Also, you don't need to be tied to your computer or laptop to enjoy these afield.



Wild Flowers of North Carolina, by William S. Justice and C. Ritchie Bell. Published in 1968 by The University of North Carolina Press. Post office Box 2288, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2288. ISBN 0-80784192-7 (paperback). - This is a great source of information on the local flora, and a good starting guide for anyone interested in identifying local plants by picture. The photographs are by the late William S. Justice of Asheville, and are gorgeous.

The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, by William A. Niering and Nancy C. Olmstead. Published in 1979 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, NY. ISBN 0-394-50432-1. This is the field guide that travels with me, in the backpack, and pulled out at excited moments of discovery. Mine is dog-eared and filled with notes and bits of leaves and pressed flowers. My field bible. Actually, any of the Audubon Society Field Guides are nearly indispensable. I'd probably buy their Field Guide to Venetian Blinds if they published one. (I also have, and recommend, their Field Guides to: North American Trees, North American Mushrooms, North American Rocks & Minerals and North American Birds.)

The Peterson Field Guide Eastern Forests, by John C. Kricher and Gordon Morrison. Published in 1988 by Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-47953-3 (paperback). While all of the field guides edited by Roger Tory Peterson are great, this little book has done more for me to help understand the ecology, micro-ecology, and inter-relatedness of everything around me. It is not strictly an identification guide, but a compendium of the whys and wherefores of natural selection and bio-resources of the east coast ecologies. It usually sits by my bed. (I also have, and recommend, their Field Guides to: Medicinal Plants, Edible Wild Plants, Reptiles & Amphibians and Stars and Planets.)

Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants, by Tom Brown, Jr. Published in 1985 by Berkeley Publishing Corporation. ISBN 0-425-10063-4. This book, and all of the companion books by Tom Brown, Jr. are as much about inspiration as they are identification and nature. Tom is so full of the joy and epiphany of nature that even when he preaches conservation and deep respect for natural things, it appears more like common sense. Which, really, is what true conservation is. The great thing is, Tom teaches you to learn, not to believe what he, or others, say about plants and nature. Still, he is brimming with anecdotal and useful information about the plants and subjects he covers. I have and recommend ANY book by this man.

Stalking the Wild Asparagus, by Euell Gibbons. Published in 1962 by David McKay Company, Inc. New York, NY. ISBN 0-679-50223-4. A longtime favorite, the late Euell Gibbons provided me my first real glimpse into the world of plants. His affection for them was a part of him digesting them and learning them intimately. While not an identification book primarily, it is very useful and referential. Also recommended is his Stalking the Healthful Herbs, and Stalking the Good Life.

A Guide to The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, by The Botanical Gardens at Asheville. Published in 1999 by Botanical Gardens, 151 W. T. Weaver Boulevard, Asheville, NC 28804. This book is a catalog of what the Botanical Gardens has at Asheville. It contains a phylogenic listing of all plants on hand plus a calendar of flowering dates. The Gardens is a beautiful place to go and soak in nature, from the tiny bluets to the large Sycamores. It includes a map of where plants are located. Unfortunately, the Botanical Gardens does not have a webpage, yet.

DO Herbs, by Sandy Brooks. Published in 1994 by DO*HERBS, P.O. Box 1443, Norton OH, 44203. This little green book is the work of a great friend of mine and is a compendium of information. It is the 'how to' of both herbs and alternative medicine. Broken down by either disorder or herb type (the part i use the most), it even includes sections on natural insect repellents and animal disorders. You can get a better look of the totality of this book by checking out the website.

Wildflowers of the Southern Mountains, by Richard M. Smith. Published in 1998 by the University of Tennessee Press / Knoxville. This recent book is a great resource for mountain wildflower identification as it focuses entirely on the mountain area. With over 1,200 species and 600 color photos, it's the latest and most complete in my library.



North Carolina Waterfalls, Where to Find Them - How to Photograph Them, by Kevin Adams. Published in 1994 by John F. Blair, Winston-Salem, NC. ISBN 0-89587-110-6 (paperback). - Kevin Adams has an eye and a love for waterfalls that shows throughout this wonderful book. Over 200 North Carolina waterfalls are detailed along with ratings for beauty and trail difficulty and complete directions to them. While i don't always agree with how he rates them, i cannot find fault with any other part of this book because it is complete and geared towards getting great waterfall shots including rainbows and moonbows.

Blue Ridge Parkway Guide, by William G. Lord. Published in 1998 by Menasha Ridge Press. ISBN 0-89587-110-6 (paperback). - I only have the Guidebook for Grandfather Mountain to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but this little book is the book to carry along with you if you're traveling the BRP. It offers milepost information with a great deal of history, natural history and local lore along the way. Entertaining even when you're not a passenger spewing information to bewonder the driver.



North Carolina Hiking Trails, by Allen de Hart. Published in 1996 (Third Edition) by Appalachian Mountain Club, 5 Joy Street, Boston, MA 02108. ISBN 1-878239-48-1 (paperback). - Allen de Hart has amassed a great deal of detail regarding the trails he outlines. Wildflowers, geologic information, waterfalls, natural historic sites... it's all here. The nice thing is it's not only the popular trails, but some obscure ones too. Comes with maps detailing the trailhead, but not the actual hike. A great resource for hiking NC, and Mr. De Hart has done the same for nearby states too!



The Education of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter. Published 1976 by University of New Mexico Press. - A story in plain and simple talk about what it is to be a human, as told by a child raised by Cherokee grandparents. I'm sorry if that doesn't sound like exciting reading, but it is written with a deep love and understanding (and the two cannot be separated) for the mountains and its life. It will explain the reason that this dog will be buried in these mountains.