A GIFT THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME
November 21, 2010
of wildlife books recently said, "We are coming into the season when
people like to donate money for tax deductions. You write a check to the
World Wildlife Fund or Conservation International, and what happens to
the money? Beats me. But when someone buys a book about nature for their
local public or school library we know what happens: Kids learn. Adults,
monetary contributions to the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International
and other conservation organizations such as the Audubon Society and the
Nature Conservancy are put to good use. And I feel certain each organization
can tell you which environmental causes your money helps support. Nonetheless,
the donate-a-wildlife-book idea has merit, especially for people who cannot
afford more than a small investment in a worthwhile environmental cause.
If your focus
is on children, select books you think will enhance environmental education
and give them to the public school of your choice. To decide what books
to give, go to a local bookstore and check out the nature, wildlife, and
science sections. Identify age-appropriate books about wildlife and the
environment that you think local schools should have in their libraries.
For example, high school students should have access to classics like
Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac" and "Earth in the
Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit" by Al Gore. Younger students
will enjoy books on living plants and animals, on dinosaurs, and on the
physical environment such as the ocean, weather and volcanoes. If you
want to include adults as well as children in your environmental education
project, donate books to your public library.
list of publishers or book titles would constitute a book in itself, but
a few suggestions come immediately to mind. Johns Hopkins University Press
publishes a variety of nature and wildlife books. "Owls of the United
States and Canada: A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior"
and "Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior, and
Conservation" have facts and photographs that will captivate children
and adults. Either would be an outstanding choice for a school or public
regional flora and fauna also make good choices. The University of Georgia
Press is noted for its Wormsloe Foundation Nature Books, including "Trees
of the Southeastern United States," "Weeds of the South"
and "Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast."
All these books should be in every public library in the Southeast. The
Press's "Snakes of the Southeast," which won the National Outdoor
Book Award, and the four others in the reptile and amphibian series (about
turtles, frogs and toads, lizards and crocodilians, and salamanders) are
suitable for K-12 school libraries and public libraries.
nature books are excellent additions to the local library. For example,
"Wildflowers of Alabama and Adjoining States" (University of
Alabama Press) should be in all public libraries in Alabama; "A Guide
to the Wildflowers of South Carolina" (University of South Carolina
Press) should be in South Carolina libraries. "Florida's Fabulous
Spiders" (World Publications [CA]), "Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms
of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic" (Pennsylvania State University
Press) and "Mammals of Texas" (University of Texas Press) would
all be popular in local school libraries. Many books of this nature may
serve as sources of regional information and need not be restricted to
a single state.
are of course only examples. The book you donate might reflect your own
environmental interests; it might elucidate an ecological issue in your
community; it might fill a gap in a particular library's collection. The
goal is to make a donation to a local school or public library that will
benefit readers in some way. Identify your audience, research which book(s)
to give, then make your donation.
a book to a library would seem to be a win-win situation, producing nothing
but positive returns for givers and recipients. In fact I wonder why book
giving hasn't become the standard charity gift for everyone. Make a difference.
Give a book.
you have an environmental question or comment, email