While current COVID-19 stay-at-home orders encourage remaining at home as much as possible, we can still connect to the outdoors and explore nature through several UC Press books. Each title encourages readers to deepen their relationship to the natural world, whether distant landscapes and ecosystems or the trees outside the window.

Thoreau and the Language of Trees
by Richard Higgins

In this original book, Richard Higgins explores Thoreau’s deep connections to trees: his keen perception of them, the joy they gave him, the poetry he saw in them, his philosophical view of them, and how they fed his soul. His lively essays show that trees were a thread connecting all parts of Thoreau’s being—heart, mind, and spirit.

How Forests Think
Toward an Anthropology Beyond the Human

by Eduardo Kohn

Based on four years of fieldwork among the Runa of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon, Eduardo Kohn draws on his rich ethnography to explore how Amazonians interact with the many creatures that inhabit one of the world’s most complex ecosystems. In this groundbreaking work, Kohn takes anthropology in a new and exciting direction–one that offers a more capacious way to think about the world we share with other kinds of beings.

An Ecologist’s Quest to Understand Nature

by James A. Estes

Serendipity tells the story of James Estes’s life as a naturalist and the concepts that have driven his interest in researching the ecological role of top-level predators and the complex relationship between the otter and its underwater environment. Part memoir, part natural history, and deeply inquisitive, this book will entertain and inform readers as it raises thoughtful questions about our relationship with the natural world.

The World of Trees
by Hugh Johnson

From well-loved oaks and pines to rare, spectacular species such as the snowbells of Japan, this lavishly illustrated work is an unparalleled guide to more than six hundred of the world’s major forest and garden trees. An excellent resource for gardeners, botanists, and general readers alike, The World of Trees is a tribute to natural beauty by a superb prose stylist, an essential reference, and a practical guide for gardening. 

Natural State
A Literary Anthology of California Nature Writing

by Steven Gilbar

Readers—be they naturalists or armchair explorers—will find themselves transported to California’s many wild places in the company of forty noted writers whose works span more than a century. Divided into sections on California’s mountains, hills and valleys, deserts, coast, and elements (earth, wind, and fire), the book contains essays, diary entries, and excerpts from larger works, including fiction.

Tracks and Shadows
Field Biology as Art

by Harry W. Greene

Intellectually rich, intensely personal, and beautifully written, Tracks and Shadows is both an absorbing autobiography of a celebrated field biologist and a celebration of beauty in nature. More than a memoir, the book is about the wonder of snakes, the beauty of studying and understanding natural history, and the importance of sharing the love of nature with humanity.