Welcome to The Reading Nook!
by David Sandri
Hello and welcome to this month’s The Reading Nook – a monthly book review from our library, along with newsworthy items to do with nature. Let’s get right to the book –
Spotlight Book of the Month –
Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants & Animals Among California’s Oaks. Kate Marianchild; Heyday Books, Berkeley, CA, 2014; 202 pages.
If you are looking for not only information on plants and animals you might see on your trips into nature, but great detail on them, then this is a great book for you to read. Oaks, and the systems they support, are important to the health of our natural world in our state. Even in Shollenberger Park and Ellis Creek, Oaks are a vital part of the ecosystem – providing food, shelter and general habitat for dozens of species (the next time you are at the park, check out the species you see in and around the oaks near the parking lot, especially at Shollenberger!).
Marianchild’s book highlights 22 plants and animals you would commonly find in and around oak woodland habitat, from acorn woodpeckers to western fence lizards. The detail she goes into in each section is what has made this book such a classic. For instance, Marianchild not only gives information on what animal to find where and what they might eat, but gives specifics on this. One example is the section on California Quail – not only is there basics on habitat and food, but the detail (“For nesting, open areas away from continuous stands of vegetation; also logs, brush piles, fallen trees, grass clumps or overhanging rocks to touch nests under; a dependable source of water within 400 feet of the nest site…”) is incredible. And the quote above is just a small sampling of what to expect, just on the quail!
Each section contains information such as food, habitat needs and contributions, predators, life span, reproduction, range and conservation status. Also included are lesser known items, such as: did you know that coyotes and badgers will often team up to more effectively hunt ground squirrels (you have to read it to believe it!
Looking to get out into nature in Sonoma County, but do not know where to get some information? Pick up a copy of Secrets of the Oak Woodlands, and you are well on your way to enjoying the natural world around you. We have a copy in the PWA library – available to check out! You can also check your local library, or independent bookseller as well. For more information on books and materials in the PWA Library, contact us at PWAllianceLibrary@gmail.com.
Speaking of libraries, did you know that PWA has a library? Why, YES WE DO!!! We have over 200 items in the library, and the list will be up on our website soon, so check it out.
In other news –
The USGS has recently updated a lot of their information on Wetlands – so if you want to really take a deep dive into Wetlands information, check it out – https://www.fws.gov/program/national-wetlands-inventory/wetlands-mapper.
The new issue of Nature Conservancy magazine has some wonderful information on biodiversity – which makes for healthier habitats for us all. Go to their site for more info – https://www.nature.org/en-us/magazine/.
American Forests magazine has some great info on reforestation, and how it helps restore habitats – https://www.americanforests.org/american-forests-magazine/.
As aways, don’t forget – PWA has nature walks twice a month – 2nd Saturday of the month at Shollenberger, and 4th Saturday of the month at Ellis Creek – see our website for more on this – petalumawetlands.org.
That’s all for this time – have fun reading and exploring nature!