A Year with Nature is an almanac like none you’ve ever seen: combining science and aesthetics, it is a daily affirmation of the extraordinary richness of biodiversity and our enduring beguilement by its beauty. With a text by herpetologist and natural history writer Marty Crump and a cornucopia of original illustrations by Bronwyn McIvor, this quirky quotidian reverie gazes across the globe, media, and time as it celebrates date-appropriate natural topics ranging from the founding of the National Park Service to annual strawberry, garlic, shrimp, hummingbird, and black bear festivals.
With Crump, we mark the publication of classics like Carson’s Silent Spring and White’s Charlotte’s Web, and even the musical premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. We note the discovery of the structure of DNA and the mountain gorilla, the rise of citizen science projects, and the work of people who’ve shaped how we view and protect nature—from Aristotle to E. O. Wilson. Some days feature US celebrations, like National Poinsettia Day and National Cat Day; others highlight country-specific celebrations, like Australia’s Wombat Day and Thailand’s Monkey Buffet Festival, during which thousands of macaques feast on an ornately arranged spread of fruits and vegetables. Crump also highlights celebrations that span borders, from World Wildlife Conservation Day to International Mountain Day and global festivities for snakes, sea turtles, and chocolate. Interweaving fascinating facts on everything from jellyfish bodies to monthly birth flowers with folkloric entries featuring the Loch Ness Monster, unicorns, and ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology, the almanac is as exhaustive as it is enchanting.
A Year with Nature celebrates the wonder and beauty of our natural world as we have expressed it in visual arts, music, literature, science, natural history, and everyday experience. But more than this, the almanac’s vignettes encourage us to contemplate how we can help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the landscapes and rich biodiversity we so deeply cherish.
About the Author
Marty Crump is adjunct professor of biology at Utah State and Northern Arizona Universities. She is the author, most recently, of Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder's Fork and Lizard's Leg: The Lore and Mythology of Amphibians and Reptiles, also published by the University of Chicago Press. She lives in Logan, UT.
“In this charming title, herpetologist and natural-science writer Crump joins up with illustrator McIvor to provide a year’s worth of nature diversions for thoughtful readers. Oriented around the daily-almanac format but easily enjoyed beyond that, and far too quirky to be deemed encyclopedic (the maternal sacrifice of the Australian social spider serves as the Mother’s Day entry), this volume covers a vast number of topics via brief biographical sketches, celebrations of unique festivals, and forays into myths and legends as it makes each of its entries noteworthy in often-surprising ways. Crump has done an impressive job of combing the world for all manner of people, places, and creatures to highlight. Readers will find a plethora of subjects worthy of deeper study (the acknowledgments provide an outstanding source list and links) while also enjoying all Crump and McIvor have accomplished. What a quiet gem: an artful presentation of science and history that manages to beguile and amuse on every page.”
“People will be challenged to think more deeply about the world around them every day while reading this book. In brief entries, Crump offers food-for-thought as each day highlights a significant event in history or thought-provoking facts we often take for granted. Some of the dates mark occasions that have possibilities, such as the introduction of cricket flour as the perfect source of protein. Crump also includes morals at the end of each section, such as encouraging people to become more educated about animals they’re afraid of or ideas for helping children cultivate a love of nature. Whimsical illustrations add charm, and readers will appreciate this volume more as a type of daily devotional than a straight read-through. . . . The bibliography is sorted by date, making it easy to find more information on topics of particular interest. VERDICT: For readers short on time but big on appreciating the world in new ways.”
— Library Journal
“A Year with Nature is that rarest of creatures—a truly original nature book. And what a bravely eclectic book it is! Like all almanacs, it follows a calendar structure, but that is where convention is merrily abandoned. I defy you to predict what you will read next. As someone who believes that all things in nature are connected, I was delighted by the ambitious range.”
— Tristan Gooley, author of "The Natural Navigator," "How to Read Water," "The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs," and "Wild Signs and Star Paths"
“Crump’s A Year with Nature is so beguiling I devoured it in a single read. A delightful and enlightening compendium of 365 days of links with nature—and for those wondering what to do the following year I recommend starting over. A veritable marvel of a book.”
— Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University
“A well-written, accessible, evocative, and educational daily reader. I found myself getting into a rhythm, paying close attention to what a particular date’s entry was going to teach me, where it might even take me emotionally. Crump has also managed a subtle narrative arc over the whole collection, enhanced by the wonderfully quirky illustrations. A Year with Nature is a fine, inspiring volume, one that could end up on many an end table, office desk, or daily tote bag.”
— Harry W. Greene, Cornell University, author of "Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art"