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Julia Rothman’s Nature Anatomy + Giveaway!

by Grace Bonney

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One of my absolute favorite pasttimes as a child was collecting insects, wildflowers and greenery in those little “junior explorer” kits you could buy at toy stores. I loved being able to look at nature up close and learn more about everything, from ladybugs to buttercups. Now that I’m getting close to my mid-30s, I still feel the exact same way. Living in upstate New York feels like one giant explorer kit, in that every morning I’m outside following tracks, taking pictures and trying to identify animals or plants everywhere I can. That same spirit of excitement and wonder fills the pages of Julia Rothman‘s new book, Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World.

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The follow-up to her illustrated guide to life on a farm, Nature Anatomy approaches everything from clouds and flowers to feathers and mushrooms with the same curiosity and wonder that we all had as children. I’m not someone who needs a nudge to want to learn more about the structure of a leaf and what the phases of a moon look like, but if you’re someone who’s ever walked outside and looked up (or down) and wondered how the natural world around you works, this book is a fun and beautiful guide to learning more. There are over 700 illustrations in Nature Anatomy and each one comes with interesting facts, a story or a lesson that helps you understand more about the natural world. I can’t wait to read through this (a few times, probably) and for two readers today, you won’t have to wait long, because Julia and Storey Publishing are giving away two copies of her book! All you need to do to enter the contest is leave a comment in the section below answering the following question: What was your favorite nature-related exploration or discovery when you were younger? Share your story below and two lucky readers will have a free copy sent to their door. Click “read more” below to see pictures from the book! xo, grace

Excerpted from Nature Anatomy (c) Julia Rothman. Illustrations (c) Julia Rothman. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

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Julia Rothman. Her new book Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World is out now.

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Comments

  • My favorite nature exploration was a natural spring coming from the side of a mountain during a school field trip. It was a two day field trip where we were studying birds and their natural habitat and my class came across the spring by chance. The water tasted amazing and it is still one of the best field trips I have ever had.

  • Walking home along a creek after a sunrise Easter service when it felt like I was the only person in the world when I was actually a few blocks from my home in a small northwest Ohio town.

  • My childhood house had 2 acres of grass and woods behind it. We spent entire days, digging and building magical houses and decorating them with wild flowers and pinecones.

  • Living in the Mexico, nature was a way to play. Growing up we didn’t have toys or playgrounds so we relay in trees, grass and our pets to have a good time. I remember collecting anything related to mushrooms and ladybugs and discovering all kind of creatures in our daily hikes.

  • I always loved lying on the ground looking up at clouds to see what images I could make out in the sky. The clouds can still look like objects to me. Lots of Teddy bears, dogs, birds, etc. are always there to take me back to the childlike wonder I enjoyed so long ago.

  • My favorite memory is farming my own clay from a small waterfall that was hidden within our backyard forest. I would gather handfuls and make little statues or pieces for my family… twenty years later I think my sister still has a little face I created for her!

  • As a child, I fell in love with paleontology. Anything relating to dinosaurs…or new information on prehistoric animals, was my jam.

    Ps. Everyone should perform a search on Google images, with the words “mammoth discovery.” You’ll see some AMAZING preserved specimens of woolly mammoths — with a few that are actually mummified. Very cool stuff!

  • My house growing up backed onto a old cemetery in Massachusetts. When the winters ended and the crocuses first started to spring up, everything was wet and mucky. My neighbor and I used to go explore in the cemetery and look under rocks and behind trees for nests of newts and efts enjoying the thaw as much as we did.

  • i was big into crawly things when i was younger, so i had a regular route of rocks to turn over. millipedes, worms, and roly-polies were acceptable, but i would get SO EXCITED to find a salamander or newt under there.

  • Was it the little bluegills nibbling at my toes as I clung to the edge of a floating dock in the sandpit lake (created when they built I-80)? Maybe being aware of the locusts’ life pattern because my grandma would find their shed exoskeletons and spray-paint them gold and leave them all over her house in surprising nooks? Nope – it was lying on my stomach for hours, watching the business of ants and tiny beetles in the grass and moss at the roots of a giant elm tree in my back yard. HOURS. No wonder I grew up to become a biologist!

  • I loved playing in the creek in my neighborhood and making “terrariums” to fill with roly-polies and other such critters. I even did an experiment with earthworms in high school.

  • A few of my favourite nature related memories happened during a 2 week camping trip with my family in northern Manitoba, at a provincial park called Riding Mountain. It is a fairly secluded park with many things to explore. The chance to see wildlife in its natural environment is a common occurrence. One day, we saw a black bear mother with her 2 cubs, just foraging in the flowers on the side of the road – totally unaware that there was a car full of people watching them do their thing. A few days later, we saw a large moose standing in a marsh, eating grasses. I was amazed by the majestic size of this animal, never having seen one in real life. The day before we left to go back home, we were sitting around the campfire and sharing stories. The campground was completely quiet. It was late August, then end of camping season for many. Most of the families had either left for the week or were fast asleep. All of a sudden, my mother says, “Look up!”. I had never seen such intense aurora borealis in my entire life and actually, I don’t know if I have ever seen better ones since. They were like star bursts of light coming from a central nucleus, repetitively dancing in the sky above us. Pink, green, white, blue and purple flashes, almost like a kaleidoscope. I remember thinking they looked like a kind of angel and that we were so lucky to be there to see this magical performance.

  • I used to love ants! I would let them crawl all over my arms and examine their tiny little bodies. My fascination turned morbid when I would collapse the anthills they built between the sidewalk cracks. But they would always come back – so resilient, those ants. As I suppose the best of things are.

  • I grew up in the Sierra Nevadas just outside of South Lake Tahoe. When I was younger, we had a creek behind our house with turtles that I was obsessed with observing. I also use to stare at ants under a magnifying glass….my neighbor made a butterfly exhibit that i also gushed over :)

  • Growing up, I have always been fascinated by volcanoes, which probably has something to do with living in a house and having Mt. St. Helens visible in the background. So when I went with my family to explore lava tubes in Northern California, I was absolutely thrilled! The entrance to the tubes was very secluded in the woods. Inside, the tunnels it was dark and the air was cool, and it was very quiet. The whole experience was hugely personal and very exciting for me!

  • I would say finding where deer sleep. I loved seeing all the high grass pushed down for a comfy bed.

  • I was always intrigued by clouds and weather, how the wind and moisture and come together to create so many different scenarios!

  • I loved in 7th grade when our Science teacher would take us for a “nature outing” to our local park, and we would be allowed to roam free for the entire class duration. We were encouraged to explore and take a close look at our surroundings, and to return to the classroom with one interesting item. SO much better than reading a textbook!

  • My sisters and I spent most of our summers trekking up and down the river close to our house. Hours spent in the sand and fishing for minnows and crossing beaver damn and making forts has had a huge impact on how and where I want my kids to grow up.
    Nature Anatomy sounds like an amazing book…

  • My favorite nature discovery as a child was finding a cecropia moth cocoon in my favorite climbing tree. I waited patiently to watch it hatch. I was rewarded with the most amazing colors and wingspan. I named him Arthur Fonzarelli.

  • I loved to explore the many types of lichen on the rocks near my desert home. There was moss too, but it was nearly always dried up, but when it rained….! The smell of rain in the desert is one of my favorite smells.

  • I grew up in apartments so we didn’t have acres of greenspace. But one of our neighbors kept a small “zoo” in the woods next to their building. They kept turtles and rabbits and other small animals and all the apartment kids would come to visit the animals.

  • Everything about nature has always thrilled me, to this day. I always loved lightning bugs, watching eggs hatch, plodding through the meadow behind our house and finding reeds and worms and fungi. I especially loved finding seashells and sea fans on trips to the sea.

  • My dad had a book that had all the different trees and birds in our state. If we saw something and asked, we always ended up looking in that book (which lead to mini-scavenger hunts). Such wonderful memories for me.

  • Favorite memory…tagging along with my older brothers as they looked for frogs, snakes, bugs you name it, I learned at a young age not to “act like a girl” during these outings or for sure I’D end up with a bug in my hair

  • My Mom was a teacher and nature lover, so we had many “field trips” to the dessert, mountains and ocean. I think my favorite (very hard to choose!) would be finding seashells and exploring tidal pools on the many beaches we visited. To this day I LOVELOVELOVE the sea!

  • My favorite nature memories from childhood are the almost daily trips I would make to the creek in my neighborhood. I loved looking for frogs and tadpoles, birdwatching, and seeing how the creek changed depending on rainfall and other factors. I remember it being this massive forest with practically a river running through it, although in reality its just a teeny little creek in a typical suburb. I now live right by the James River in Virginia, and I still love to explore waterways!

  • ‘Mucking’ around in the bay when the tied went out at my great aunts house. She would give me a bucket and I would go digging, usually getting covered from head to toe in mud and getting stuck a couple to times. After spraying me down in her garden hose we would make a college with what I found and she would make up a story about what each item was.

  • I loved finding all kinds of things, but my favorite was a dried leaf that only had the veins left. Lacey and delicate. Beautiful.

  • When I was little, I wanted to be a (very generic) scientist. One of the first nature-themed projects I remember was when I set out to collect as many cicada shells as I could. I don’t remember the final number, but I can still recall the joy of finding and carefully collecting the delicate structures from the trees in my first backyard.

  • We had a giant sycamore tree in the front yard, and squishing those seed pods until they split and all flew away was mesmerizing.

  • My sister and I used to spend summer holidays in my nan’s large garden in which parts were almost wild. We pretended to be explorers and adventurers -climbing trees, digging holes and collecting all the wild and wonderful items we could find. Books like this remind me of those delightful childhood summers.

  • When I was younger my family and I used to go camping at this area called Alwin Holland Memorial Park, there was rock wall all along it with the Peace River running beside it, we could crawl up along the rocks with all the lichen and mosses and feel like we were on top of the world, I could swear there were gnomes that live there ,haha. One particular time we were there I had a broken leg and I insisted that my dad carried be around so I could see all there was to see. This is such a beautiful place, and it will always have a place in my heart. Sad thing though, if all goes as planned they are putting up a Dam, not sure if you heard of Site C? Breaks my heart, lots of the park will be covered in water. Needless to say I have A LOT of pictures of the area, and a love for the area that will never die.

  • As a child, my mother always had us outside; turning over rocks, picking up insects and identifying leaves. My favorite memory was taking night hikes and listening/identifying owl calls. As a child it made the night magical, instead of scary.

  • As a young girl, I would wade in the river near our home and catch minnows. I would use a white bucket so I could see all the little fish in detail. It is a joyful memory of my childhood!

  • I was always outside as a kid, but my favorite nature-related exploration as a kid was a fossil hunting field trip in fourth grade, where we walked (what seemed like) miles through a stream using our mini shovels and sifters to discover all sorts of treasures.

  • We grew up going to a small cottage in rural WI. My sister and I would look for frogs in the woods for fun. I loved finding the tiny ones. Some were the size of my pinky fingernail! Miss those little guys.

  • Family vacations to the Washington state coast inspired hours and hours of hunting for things along the beach. Exploring with my brothers, helping my mom haul an especially nice piece of driftwood back to our camp. The best find was always a perfect sand dollar.

  • Visiting the ocean each year once a year growing up was a beautiful ritual. The smell of the salty sea and finding it’s creatures, some alive, some dead, always held such mystery and comfort at the same time.

  • My dad was a horticulturist when I was growing up and I loved that he could tell us the names of most plants. I loved exploring the woods behind our house with his old Audobon guides in hand!

  • I love these illustrations! I grew up in the woods of Oregon and I loved when our science class would go hiking in the forest, especially when we would hunt for mushrooms to draw.

  • When I was a kid, our vacations were always camping trips. My parents both loved the outdoors, so I learned a lot from them about plants and birds and so forth. One memory that sticks with me was hiking in the woods and finding a lady’s slipper orchid, which we had never seen before. Some 40 years later I saw another and knew exactly what it was! We also used to pick wild asparagus and my mom would make us strawberry shortcake and wild asparagus. We called it “sinful supper.”

  • When I was a child, my grandma and I would roam around a public garden in her community, and she would find all kinds of edible plants/fruits. Back in the days, information wasn’t so accessible so I didn’t know what they were, but my grandma told me that they were edible so I believed her.
    So later on, I read an illustrated encyclopedia and discovered what they were: flowering almonds (which produces a little sweet-sour fruit like cherries), black nightshade berries (which is the only part of the plant that’s not poisonous, and tastes like tomatoes), wheat, job’s tears, blady grass buds, elm seeds, shepherd’s purse, amaranth…. Some of them may sound strange, but they turn out to be much more nutritious and delicious than the “normal” edible plants like potatoes and cabbages. I think this experience of foraging and exploring in my childhood broadened my knowledge of food or vegetables, and still influences me to date as I am excited to try out new food and vege and fruits.

  • I was always fascinated with frogs. We would go upstate and try to catch frogs in a pond, in the woods, wherever. We would watch the tadpoles in the pond grow as well!

  • I grew up in a part of Alaska that is (surprising to many) known as a cold desert. We didn’t get much rain at all. When it would rain very rarely in the summer I would spend every moment possible outside playing in the mud and building tiny boats out of leaves and sticks to watch float down my miniature rivers.

  • Going camping to the Forillon National Park (Gaspésie, Québec) with my family and seeing the naturalists and biologists scubadiving to retrieve different animals and plants, they would come out of the sea an do presentations on the different organisms. I’m sure it played a big part in my decision to study ecology and become a fisheries biologist ;)

  • I used to live in the countryside so I’ve always been pretty much in contact with trees, small animals, a river or two, lots of things to hunt for and discover.
    My guilty pleasure was to dig holes in the garden, fill them with pebbles and make some water coming in there from the pump. They never last more than a day (my mom complained about wasting too much water, of course).
    One day she wasn’t at home so the hole last a little longer. I was sitting nearby my bedroom’s window when I saw birds coming to sip some fresh water. That was kinda sweet and interesting at the same time.

  • I loved collecting flowers and keeping them pressed on a book until they were dry and then framing them!!! :)

  • It is difficult to choose just one moment! Jumping to mind is the night sky in the isolated area of Northern Ontario in which I lived as a kid. Talk about “Dark Sky”! It was a two hour drive through boreal forest just to get to the next small town. The night sky was amazing. You could see an incredible number of stars …. between the stars there were more stars, and between them, even more. Sometimes in the winter we would see the Northern Lights – unearthly, shifting flickers of greens, yellows, purples. I remember one warm August night with my parents and sister, watching the Perseid meteor shower and could actually hear the shooting stars fizz through the sky. Probably one of my clearest memories from childhood.

  • Although I was mostly an indoor child in the 50s, I did love afternoons spent in the old weeping willow tree in our backyard. I would take my books, pens and papers, a BabyDoll and climb it its lower branches and hide from the world. Usually I read or wrote or played house with my baby, but sometimes I would gather bits of moss, twigs and leaves and make a home for a fairy. These were secret places for tiny creatures only I could see.

  • When I was in elementary school, I spent my summers working on a reenactment farm from the 1800s. I dressed like a pioneer girl, spoke with a rich, period-specific accent, and sewed, cooked, gardened, and explored my way through the hot summer months. One summer, the heat finally broke and gave way to two weeks of heavy, relentless rain. On one of these downpour-filled days, they gathered up all of the pioneer children and led us to the barn, where we clambered up into the hay loft overlooking one of the stalls. One of the horses was giving birth, and we watched in fascination as she pushed and a bundle of foal and amniotic sac dropped into the damp hay. It was the first birth I’ve witnessed, and watching it in a dark barn with the rain and wind roaring outside made this memory one I will never forget.

  • Wading in the stream that emptied into Lake Michigan, my sisters and I would fish with our hands for the slow-moving salmon after their autumn trip to spawn.

  • I grew up in Colorado in a house that had a creek behind it. I remember learning about mountain run off and being amazed at how cold the water would be in the Spring even though the weather was warming up!

  • I was a child in the 60s and we would make mud pies and “cook” pizzas and things outside using mud, pine cones and sticks and stones for toppings. It was natural to always bring home a garden snake too and there were always fossils to be found along the railroad tracks (yes, we played along the tracks). Thanks for letting me remember those good times.

  • I used to love laying on the ground near an “ant lion” pit, to watch it flick the sand up as it circled the pit, creating a perfect little funnel shape for the ants to slide down, into it waiting jaws.

  • I vividly remember spying a nest of baby robins outside the window of my grandparent’s bedroom when I was small. It was magical – and the first time I remember understanding how fragile nature can be. Thank you for the giveaway – this book looks like a real treat!

  • I live in Ohio, and have always gone morel mushroom hunting. They are delicious. As a child me and my brother went arrowhead hunting (which he still does to this day very successfully). We also lived beside a creek and caught a lot of crayfish.

  • I grew up in the middle of the woods in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My sister and I ventured “out back” behind the barn and across the hay field to explore the forest all the time. We built houses with sticks, made mud and leaf stew, pretended we were primitives, and had a blast. As I got older I yearned for the hustle and bustle of the city … and eventually became a certified permaculture designer and horticulturalist. So, I guess I’ve come back to my roots. “The ciiiiircle of life!”

    This book looks so gorgeous, and I’ll likely order a copy if I don’t win one. My 5-year-old son and I would use it for our own exploration inspiration.

  • Luckily my childhood was full of nature explorations. So grateful for this! Growing up in Connecticut we find Milkweed and monarch caterpillars. We would create a safe environment for them and watch them eat,eat,eat and the turn into a chrysalis and then release them as butterflies. I remember being amazed by all of this! Also remember having a haircut after getting my curly hair knotted up with burdocks. Saving box turtles from getting hit in the roads. Having fun with Jewelweeds and watching the POP as you touch them (we called them ‘touch me nots’) So many great nature memories!

  • I’ve always been fascinated by butterflies. From the magical way they emerge from their chrysalis to the beauty of their unique and symmetrical patterns on their delicate wings.

  • Growing up in Louisiana I was always in the bayou with snakes, gators, pelicans, frogs, fish, etc….We loved catching critters in the bayou and building treehouses in the woods…We explored all over the woods behind our house and now its all subdivisions. Great memories down south growing up so free.

  • My dad is a special dude and has an ease for finding four leaf clovers. He’ll just look down and go, “there’s one.” We would often spend time in the front yard looking, but I never found one. One day, he spotted one, but didn’t grab it. He wanted me to find it, so he told me in which general area it was. I found it and have it in a frame. It doesn’t really feel like my accomplishment, but it reminds me of the bond I only share with him and that some people have a little magic in them. I still never found one, but I still look once in a while.

  • TREES!!!! Climbing trees, playing in hollow trees, dancing on tree stumps, making tree forts,running through the woods and making fairy houses. I met my now husband when we were 3 years old beneath a 200 year old oak tree that was about to be cut down to make way for the entrance to a housing development. My fatherinlaw had left him there to guard the tree while he went to get help to protest chopping down the tree. Parenting in the 70s!! Our efforts were unsuccessful but the spirit of the oak lives on. We run an outdoor education facility where we emphasize the importance of nature in everyone’s lives!!!

  • I live in a mid size town in Mexico, and when i was young there was nothing but cows and hens aroind home. My cousins loved to come to play, we walked around and collected rocks that looked like fossils. We created an imaginary archeological camp and begged our parents to bring a real tent and let us sleep there. We had sticks, stones, and dreamt about dinosaur bones. Nature gives you a magic place to play around, something I try to keep untill today!

  • The summer between 7th and 8th grade I went to a 2-week sailboat camp in Maine where we basically lived on the boat and camped the whole two weeks. I brought my sketch book and drew pages full of mollusks and shells! I found them so fascinating.

  • i think my favorite nature exploration was the day i collect acorns for my mother as a gift. i remember hunting underneath a big shady tree for the most perfect acorns for her.
    it was also a perfect discovery when i went home and presented to her this envelope full of acorns only to find out little worms had made there homes in them.

    i was in awe, a little sad, but my mother thought it was quite funny and she got to explain how the little worms need to survive as well :)

  • I loved collecting and learning about rocks, crystals, and minerals. I also enjoyed exploring the woods behind my house and seeing what I could find under rocks!

  • My favorite thing to do as a child was to walk barefoot in this creek behind my house collecting rocks or whatever else we found while exploring. My brother and I loved walking in the water all the way to the lake that the creek started from.

  • When I was 11 or 12, my dad gave me a relatively small telescope because I was obsessed with space. It wasn’t very powerful, but I used to spend hours looking at the moon at night, taking “notes” and making sketches. It made such a huge impact because even as a kid I knew we couldn’t afford it, so everytime I used it, I felt like I was some special scientist with highly advanced equipment. Yay for dads!

  • Exploring the stars with H.A. Rey’s Find the Constellations. Another whimsically illustrated book from a talented artist. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • My family has this old cabin that was once a homestead. The property is surrounded on all sides by forest service land, has no electricity or running water and the only access in winter is by skis. Any moment spent there during childhood created an undying appreciation for nature and learning of plants, animals and weather.

  • Finding shells and seaglass on the beach. Once, never to be forgotten, I found a horseshoe crab. He (or, at least, his carapace) came home with us.

  • My parents would take us to this park called ‘Town Park’ in the evenings. It wasn’t near our house, so I remember those trips as being exciting. The park had this huge hollow fallen tree. I don’t know if it once grew in park or had been brought over, but I remember it being massive. It was great, because we actually run inside this tree and the branches were like little caves.

  • This looks incredibly beautiful! Having grown up on a small farm, but now living in the city, Rothman’s books are something I will cherish being able to share with my kids someday. When I was younger, my favorite nature explorations where to sneak out of the house on a summer afternoon, through the hay field, and down the lane towards my favorite tree. It had one branch that grew perfectly sideways where I could read and arrange collections of leaves, nuts, feathers, and flowers. I loved reaarranging them by size, type, or color, and then dragging the best ones back into the house with me to look up in books.

  • I loved creating art with nature – one of my favourite things to do were rubbings. Bark rubbings were the best because of the different textures that would come through on the paper. I still do this with my little one!

  • I was — still am! — obsessed with rocks of all shapes and sizes. On outdoor excursions I would hold my family up while attempting to climb any boulder that seemed to pose a challenge, or collecting pretty rocks from creeks. And when we got to geology in school, I got lost in diagrams of rock and crystal formations.

  • I grew up in Iowa with hiking, exploring, and working outside being a natural constant in life. It’s hard to find just 1 time that stands out, but I loved finding marine fossils in the limestone that jutted out here and there, and still marvel at the fact that the midwest was once deep under the ocean!

  • i grew up in the middle east where we only had sandlots to play in. But our afternoons were filled with collecting beetles and what desert plant we could find. Good times.

  • Definitely hunting chanterelles with my aunt in Scotland as a little girl. Never eat a mushroom unless Auntie Judi says you can!

  • The discovery I remember the most vividly and one that filled me with the most amazement, was finding a mole in the front of my school when I was in kindergarten I guess. I hadn’t ever seen one in real life. It was so cool to me that he was basically blind but could live underground in the dark. It made me really wonder about what all was under the ground that I walked on all day.

  • My friends and I were enthralled with ladybugs and rolly pollies. We would search our yards for them, and then make little habitats for them and give them names. We were completely delighted if we ever came across little frogs, and I also used to always catch the lizards on our front porch and hold them, and let them bite my finger. My mom and I used to sit on the front porch and watch the birds terrorize our cats, too. It was all good fun.

  • Finding feathers and then pouring over books to find the corresponding bird that matched the feather.

  • My favorite nature memory is laying in a fresh bed of green grass and watching huge, plump clouds pass by. I felt like I was orbiting the Earth.

  • When I was in 8th grade, one of my dad’s friends, an amateur paleontologist took us on a camping trip to look for dinosaur bones in a quarry. At the time I was really into dinosaurs and I loved the hunt and thrill of actually finding bones. I got real like experience of what it was like to be a paleontologist and even helped with some scientific contributions. Most of the bones were donated to the local university.

  • I went to a week-long nature exploration camp when I was in 6th grade in northern MN. We were all given owl pellets to dissect and I loved putting together the skeleton of a small mouse my owl had eaten. I wasn’t supposed to, but I kept the skull.

  • We had bird identification contests all through elementary school. My dad kept a list on the fridge where we all would write down whenever we saw a bird not on the list yet that month, and whoever identified the most got a prize. We had many different bird feeders to attract the maximum variety.

  • I love Julia Rothman’s work! Growing up on a farm in the middle of the woodlands, my siblings and I really learned how to live and play in nature. My favorite thing was making secret paths where I would have little rivers (just tiny streams really) – I always loved admiring the green moss and wild mushrooms.

  • I remember when I was a young girl, I loved playing in the woods. It was such a magical place, with trees that seemed to sense my presence and welcome me into their secrets, pointing me down paths in the way that they grew. I was happy to follow, winding through the underbrush, being very careful for thorns and also to be quiet so as not to disturb the spirit of the place or to miss noticing anything which might be sitting quietly by, watching me.
    It would get so quiet sometimes. People often tell me that I walk like an Indian – meaning, of course, that they never hear my footsteps come up on them, and I wonder if it might not have been my long hours in the woods as a child which made me this way, ever creeping quietly onward, noticing each stump and wondering at its story, every lady bug or patch of moss a sacred mystery. I would go on that way for whole afternoons, inhaling the slightly musty smell of damp and fallen leaves, enthralled by escaped rays of sunlight which shimmered through openings in the canopy overhead, zigzagging down across the trunks of trees, tagging them with ethereal strokes of gold. I would hush myself with wonder, thankful to be allowed to witness such a place of magic.

  • I always loved climbing trees. My neighbor’s yard had a suuuper tall pine tree that I’d climb, or I’d sit in the maple tree in my backyard catching helicopters. I also liked looking for caterpillars and cocoons on my climbs.

  • I grew up in Upstate New York. My grandmother had the sweetest little white house surrounded by beautiful, natural gardens that my grandfather carefully cultivated. Along a steep bank above a creek, there were 12 lush, fully ground lilacs. I would climb under their heavenly-scented limbs in the summer and watch the different ants, beetles, and butterflies crawl and swoop around the full, grape-like lilac flowers. Watching the butterflies unfurl their proboscis was an absolute wonder to me. My dad lent me a giant magnifying glass one day so I could take a better look- Not Having any boys, he also felt obliged to show me how to use the lens to set stuff on fire too. I live in the south now, but scoured the area for a lilac tree once I had my own child, a boy. I found one on an abandoned property. Every day after school, while the tree was in bloom, we would stop, sniff, and watch the butterflies slowly drift onto the blooms. It was not big enough to climb under, so we would sit near it and have a snack. I pulled out a big magnifying glass… A proboscis is even more awe-inspiring when you are watching someone see it for the first time!

  • My sister, friends, and I frequently rode our bikes to a local state park on a river in southern Louisiana. We had named most of the live oaks in the park and visited them like they were friends. We would climb into the trees and observe the wildlife around us: alligators, turtles, waterfowl, fish. We moved away and I haven’t been back to that park in over 15 years and I still think about those trees.

  • I grew up in Western New York. Our yard backed onto a field, the field onto a forest. If you cut straight back in, you would hit an old logging trail. My father taught us early on how to identify the different species of trees. We spent hours flipping over rocks looking for snakes and lizards, hunting for patches of wild leeks, collecting pieces of paper birch bark, and playing in the stream at the bottom of the ravine. I would collect different plants, tie them together, and tape that to a safety pin as a corsage. I once unknowingly collected a grasshopper egg pod in the fall, and left it in the pocket of my mother’s coat through the winter. A nasty surprise for her the following spring…

  • When I was young, growing up in Texas, I absolutely loved collecting locust shells, much to the chagrin of my mother. Plucking them from trees, bricks, just about anywhere, I would gather them in large Mason jars. My uncle did this as well as a kid, and I think we both liked the camaraderie of our odd little collections.

  • This book takes me back to the most magical memories of my childhood: Northern Michigan, late summer, following our narrow 2-track through a wide open field and into the woods. Once we entered the cool shade of the forest, we’d pause at the abandoned schoolbus with trees growing through, stop to pick tiny wild strawberries, feel the prickly reindeer moss, examine the miniature trees of mountain moss… Every foot of that trail is held in my memory with a magical awe of the natural world.

  • Growing up in Hawaii, one of my favorite memories was finding a praying mantis egg sac in our backyard. I hatched it in a jar with leaves, and one morning the entire jar was a neon green. Before releasing them outside, I looked at them closely.

  • What a delightful book! My son’s and I would have such fun with it. One of my favorite memories as a child is playing with baby crawdads. I would get them out of the creek near our yard and they would run all in my little red wagon and play on my fingers. After an hour or so, I would release them back into the little creek.

  • When I was 16, my Grandfather took me and my best friend on a trip to Yellowstone with our horses to ride and explore for a week. It was the trip of a lifetime, and a wonderful memory to have with my Grandfather. This book makes me think of him. He’s kind of a walking encyclopedia.

  • Driving into the mountains above the San Joaquin Valley where my grandparents had a farm, I was fascinated by the way we could see across canyons that the forests stopped and all became rocky. The notion of timberline still holds my imagination, a point at which one thing becomes another, a metaphor for change and transition.

  • Seeing Muir beach for the first time as a 9 year old midwestern girl. Made my dad take home a huge purple rock that we still have as a doorstop.

  • Walking home from school I would usually pass by a small pond in a field (walking slightly out of the way so I could look in the water). During the springtime I would see tiny black tadpoles swimming and decided to bring a jar with me for the next walk home. I filled the jar with tadpoles and enough water to keep them in. In my bedroom I set up a terrarium for them to grow in, and added more pond water as needed. I would watch as they grew tiny legs and then arms. After losing a few (yes I felt bad!) I decided to return them to the pond to continue their growth in peace. :)

  • Unfortunately, I was more of an indoor child because we didn’t know that I had allergies, which meant that most of the time I was outdoors I was kind of miserable. Now as adult I have fallen in love with evening walks, bike rides, picnics and playing in the yard with my son. As a Graphic Designer I have an obsessive passion for design that’s not only beautiful but serves a purpose by being informative and this book looks amazing.

  • My favorite memory of all things wild was when my mother put a praying mantis nest in my brothers’ closet, and it hatched! Babies everywhere which was such a marvel to us all….well maybe not so much for my mom:-)

  • I grew up in a suburb, so while I did have access to some green space, it was still mostly a concrete world. For as long as I can remember, I was always fascinated with the natural world. Whether it was fistfuls of dirt and rocks I would habitually fill my pockets with, or the rainbow of leaves I would line my shelves with in the fall, I was always searching or treasures to take a closer look at. One of my favorite things to do as a young kid was to lay on my stomach on our warm concrete driveway to watch trails of ants for hours on end, thinking up life stories for each of them.

  • When I was a child, the best discovery was to find a pink sweet cyclamen in the middle of the wood. In fact my father Gianpaolo invented a game for me and my twin sister: “chi vede un ciclamino riceve un bacino” (“every cyclamen you see you get a kiss”)… Nature always brings love!

  • There was a an old tree house that had fallen in he woods behind my house in western Washington. It had an array of mushrooms and interesting bugs. I made it my special place and would spend my summer days pretending it was in a fairy house with beautiful plants and creatures to fuel my imagination.

  • Growing up, the change of seasons wasn’t marked by the calendar but by waiting for nature’s clues. When the crocus and daffodils bloomed, spring was near. Summer arrived with the sweet smell of honeysuckle and fireflies. The blooming Japanese anemone welcomed fall. Snow fall in winter showed animal tracks, reminding me that we shared the garden.

  • What I found most fascinating in nature when I was little were all of the ants and ant hills in our yard, on our curbs, and in the driveway. I would follow where they were going, what they were dissecting and carrying. I loved watching them except for that one time when they invaded my pants!

  • When I was a child, my dad would take my sister and I up to a small mountain town to rock-hop the creek. Finding ourselves up the creek above the town, we would zig-zag our way down by hop, hop, hopping from one rock to the next – first tentatively, then with increasing confidence. The sounds of rustling aspen leaves and streaming water accompanied us, as did the occasional hoot and holler when a foot slipped off an intended rock and into the icy, snow-melt water. Unfazed, we ventured on – held by the companionship of the natural world.

  • Living at the edge of a wooded area I would explore for hours in the forest. There was small pond in this forest that had a spring bubbling up in the middle of it and then creating a stream off to one side. There were frogs, birds, and lots of other wild life to watch and enjoy. It was like entering into another world for me where I could escape the real world and take part in nature’s magical dance.

  • When I was a wee kid, my grandma used to take me for walks through the meadow. At a certain point, she started explaining about plants that people consider weeds and the actual uses for them and how the plant world was strongly connected to the insect world. From there on, she taught me how to keep bees, how to pollinate flowers, a whole new world opened up and I still remember perfectly how it all began. With a little plant called red sorrel.

  • my sister and I loved finding salamanders and other little animals (minnows) near the creek at my grandparents house, climbing trees and picking berries.

  • My sister and I had to make the best of living in an apartment complex with only a small patch of woods in between the neighborhood and a major road to play in. We spent countless hours in the summer splashing through that dirty creek, catching tadpoles and crawfish, pretending we were mermaids or other fairy like creatures, mud between our toes, drinking by accident who knows how much of that polluted water. It was magical.

  • I loved going for hikes with my brother in the woods and sometimes we would follow a little creek for miles and then bring home tadpoles much to our mother’s delight!!

  • I used to collect sand from different beaches I would visit as my family traveled around. I always thought it fascinating that sand could be so many different colours, and how it affected the outlook of the water above it. I still have a small collection from some of my travels, that I have layered in a terrarium as a reminder of those great trips.

  • My childhood vacations in countryside in my grandmother´s place was the perfect playground for a kid like me, I enjoyed the most exploring plants, flowers and seeds, something we, cousins and I used to used them as food playing kitchen and cooking.

  • When I was young my grandfather would take me out in the field to find caterpillars and butterflies. Each time he would explain the transformation, and it always fascinated me, and seemed brand new each time I heard it. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin
    ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot com

  • I lived in England until I was 7 and spent many days exploring the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley in Woking, Surrey with my Mom and sister. The entire garden is beautiful, but my favorite part of the was the magical rock garden. This cascade of boulders, pathways, streams and pools adorned a small hillside and contained so many lovely nooks and crannies to explore; lilypads, tadpoles, water plants and plenty of spots for fairy hideaways. These gardens inspired my love of plants from an early age and provided a venue for exploring the beauty and power of design before I even know what “design” meant.

    This book looks great. I am a huge fan of Julia Rothman’s work and I can’t wait to share it with my kids!

  • Learning about marshlands in grade 2 or 3, and then recognizing redwing blackbirds on drives with my dad.
    Loved Farm Anatomy, btw!

  • Growing up we had a “cottage” on Lake Huron which was really my Grandpa’s old fishing shanty repurposed. We would spend most weekends there as soon as the weather allowed for it, and I loved building tree forts, following animal tracks, and generally mucking about in the woods. My favourite part, though, was always to pick a stream or large puddle where frogs had spawned and check on the progress of the tadpoles. It seemed unbelievable how fast they could go from little raindrop-shaped membranes to small, but complete, little frogs.

  • My dad is a landscape architect and camping and walks always involved his favorite game of “name that plant” Sometimes he would quiz me and sometimes I would quiz him if we stumbled on something particularly unique. I still play in my head when I go for walks.

  • My favourite nature-related exploration and still one of my favourite memories is when me and my brother were younger. We had friends over and we all got together and played in the natural stream that runs along the side of my parents house. We were swimming in the stream, catching frogs, and throwing algae at each other. After we finished my parents laughed at how messy we were then hosed us all down.
    Thank you!
    Tessa

  • My favorite nature memory from childhood was exploring the harbor in Annapolis and discovering that I could lay down and peer over the side of the dock to watch blue crabs and jellyfish in the water. And I’m now a marine ecologist!

  • I grew up in Vermont at the base of a great hiking mountain that overlooked my town. Every spring my friend and I would hike up and gather fiddlehead ferns for her dad to make into soup. It’s delicious! I still love the shape and design of fiddleheads, they’re really beautiful how they slowly unfurl themselves. Love Julia Rothman’s work and am a big fan. This book looks beautiful!!

  • As a kid I adored playing outside my backyard woods, pretending I was happily lost in an endless forest! I collected stones, leaves and twigs and kept a lookout for my favorite insect: those big fuzzy caterpillars! Now that I live in a big city, I make sure to carve out time on weekends to go on hikes, especially ones that traverse dense forests that remind me of my childhood :)

  • I was about nine, and we Floridians went on a family trip to Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, which seemed like the most exotic places on earth. I walked around with my little nature guide and was in seventh heaven with all the geysers, moose and marmots!

  • We used to spend every summer at my grandfather’s village in a beautiful mountain. One summer when I was 6 I decided to try and make a perfume. So my mom gave me an empty fragrance bottle where I poured some water in which I had crushed several flowers. It smelled really nice and I put on this “fragrance” like every 30 minutes, so it was all gone by the end of the day.

  • My dad was an urban back-to-the-lander and a disciple of Euell Gibbon’s Stalking The Wild Asparagus. Just down our suburban block was an empty lot where we used to forage for edibles. At his side, I learned how to identify plantain, wild sorrel, milkweed pods and early dandelion greens. His teachings extended into our own garden, growing our own vegetables, dealing with pests and encouraging wildlife.

  • There was a quarry near my house and I loved exploring it. I would find the coolest variety of stones. I loved bringing home the most special discoveries and looking up what kinds they were. My kids love to do this whenever we go hiking or to the beach. I often have more rocks in my backpack and beach bag than I would prefer to carry.

  • My friends and I used to go to a small creek in a wooded area behind our houses. We looked under rocks in the water to find small crayfish and salamanders. Often, we would put them in jars filled with water. We kept them long enough to study them, watching how they moved and sometimes drawing them. Then we would release them back into the creek.

  • I have so many childhood nature memories growing up in Alaska. My grandma often took us overnight backpacking. My favorite memory is running ahead on the trail, rounding a corner and coming face to shoulder with a mama moose, youngun nearby! I started to slowly back away as I’d been taught, but after a few steps instinct took over and I turned and ran! I think mama and baby were every bit as startled as I was.

  • During recess in elementary school, my friend and I would find roly polies and various bugs and temporarily house them in bottle caps. Discovering large mushrooms by the sidewalk was also the best.

  • My favorite childhood memories being in the wild involve exploring the dried out old creek next to my house. To most people it seem like a pit but to us it was our own natural clubhouse where we could tell stories and pretend like we were the Lost Boys.

  • My favorite nature memory is walking down a path next to the woods near my house. The path was lined with honeysuckle bushes and my best friend, Lisa and I would always suck the nectar out of the bottom of the flowers. Every time I see or smell honeysuckle now I am transported back to my youth and that special time when Lisa and I did everything together.

  • I grew up in PA in the Allegheny mountains surrounded by nature. Trees, rivers, waterfalls, geology in the rock cuts for the roads, fossils of the trees that fell in prehistoric time and were compressed to make the coal in the area. My best friend lived on a farm and enriched my life with imagination using nature. I spent lots of time at a camp 12 miles from my house. Roughing it with friends for a week at a time by a creek. Mountains, trees and birds feed my soul.

  • Catching fireflies with friends late into the summer nights in the large communal back space my parents shared with our neighbors. Finding sparrows nests and newly laid eggs while climbing high up into the trees that had notches in the limbs from how many times I would climb the same route. Taking the red berries that grew on the haphazardly planted yew bushes and pretending to have a cooking show for my friends with them!

    So much fun! Thanks!

  • My grandfather on my father’s side ran and lived on a tree nursery. Each summer we would visit my grandmother and grandfather. We would walk the property, and they would not only tell us the names of each tree (both common and latin) but they had a lovely tradition of planting trees when there was a birth or death in the family. Each tree became a story combining a relative and details of the tree.

  • My childhood home had a creek running through it that led to a small pond. We were outside ALL THE TIME. In the winter we skated the pond and warmed ourselves by bon fires. In the spring we caught tadpoles, picked buttercups, and hung Easter eggs from pussy willow branches. In the summer we ran barefoot and read books in a secret spot high in the weeping willow. We made forts in trees, waded in the creek, picked wild strawberries (and ate them!) In the fall, we collected colorful leaves and pressed them between sheets of wax paper, with that magnificent smell of autumn in the air. And waited for the pond to freeze again…

  • We used to spend time at our cottage along the Delaware River. I used to love looking for interesting rocks along the river bank and searching for different types of mushrooms while hiking in the woods.

  • I love seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes. She loves going around the yard and having me tell her all the names of the herbs and flowers. She loves to smell and taste the herbs. Sweetest two year old ever. I would love to share this book with her.

  • At my parents’ house we have a huge garden and five long raised beds that have different kinds of berries and rhubarb. My brothers and I used to play outside a lot and always went to collect berries, but once we found a baby garter snake in one of the raised beds, and my older brother caught it! It was the coolest thing ever to see this tiny creature up close and how bright and detailed his skin was! We let him go of course but I thought it was so neat how it pushed its body along the ground. That memory definitely stuck with me!

  • My favorite was visiting Taos, NM as a child. On one trip I tripped and fell head first into a small stream. I opened my eyes and could not believe the fish (startled away of course!), plant life and stones visible in that small stream. My Mom had to pull me out because I was so fascinated. I’ve never forgotten that experience and our time in Taos, a beautiful place.

  • The first steps I took were at my grandparents weekend cabin in the woods. Of course I dont`t remember these first moments, but even today, when I visit this place truly feels like home. Here is where could explore all day, finding new, hidden paths or secret hideaways was my favorite thing to do. Spotting a deer for the first time, running. These times in summer were some of the best!

  • When I was around 7 years old I got my first pet. Well I ‘found’ my first pet, a tiny little black bug. I called him Scooter, and he lived in the backyard, in a bird bath. He was my pet for a total of 3 days while he was (probably trapped) in a bird bath swimming around in circles. I would go visit him before and after school, and give him leaves, and talk to him. On day 4 Scooter was gone, and I was so so sad. It would be another 3 years until I ever had another pet but I still think about Scooter from time to time, he was my quite unique first pet.

  • Me and my sister were nature and animal obsessed and every winter we would spend hours playing make believe games in the crystal snow. We would pretend we were fairies that could control the seasons. Every time it snows I am reminded of the curiosity and joy I had in it and it makes me so happy♡ xx, theglimmerfox

  • My favorite nature related memory is going on walks on our tree-lined streets with my dad growing up. He would teach me and quiz me about each tree as we walked by. We still do it from time to time when I visit:)

  • Loved fonding crazy colored grasshoppers inside some huge plants in our backyard. I was a little frightened they would jump at me but I always had to look closer at their pretty black and green and orange patterns.

  • Every day, my bestie Karen would come over and say “Can you play?” and we’d head to the woods behind my house with sticks and clear out all of the dirt and leaf piles blocking the flow of the creek. We would do this for HOURS. To this day it bums me out that there are no woods nearby and my kid won’t have the same chance to do this kind of pointless but beautiful nature-type stuff.

  • I grew up on a small farm in downeast Maine; not a commercial farm, rather the kind that made my mother happy, more fulfilled, and gave me the opportunity to “build character.”

    I was fortunate enough to be around a myriad of different animals: horses, miniature horses, miniature donkeys, pigs, rabbits, and so, so many different species and breeds of poultry spanning from heritage breeds of turkey to every exotic chicken my mom dreamed of, from guineafowl to runner ducks. The birds were and remain one of my favorite parts of growing up in that environment. As a matter of fact, each of my grandmothers as well as my mother were avid birdwatchers; the trait appears to be genetic. I was known to bring two particular birds indoors and on the couch, one duck and one gentle giant of a rooster. Needless to say, my father was not amused.

    As much as I adored the birds, memory that stood out to me when you posed this question was of finding all shades of different salamanders and frogs in our pond. It was a man-made pond, but extremely well-kept. I’d been exposed to many more animals than lots of kids my age had, but these guys were fascinating to me. I couldn’t believe that so many little animals made their way out of the woodwork into this brand-new body of water, but there we all were spending the majority of our time in the mud together. Good times.

  • My grandmother’s garden was a wondrous adventure place where me an my brother would play and dig things up. She used to get us farm pets (chickens, rabbits, etc.) and we’d just play with them while she gardened! It was lovely and I’d forgotten about it. Having to comment on this made me remember so, thank you!

  • as a cild and the only girl in my neighborhood, i ventured to see how things grew. Early spring i would wipe away the leaves from the plants sprouting up and measure them each day. In between i would lay on a hill to stare at the clouds and see what they would form into. Evenings was for stargazing, i was fascinated. (Everyone should check out stargazing in bar harbor maine). I’m 55 and the stars still fascinate me especially in bar harbor.

  • The neighborhood kids had a club that met in the woods near my house. We regularly swung from ropes in trees, stomped along the creek, or balanced on fallen trees over the ravines.

  • There is a creek that runs through my dad’s farm that provided endless hours of entertainment when I was a kid. Without a doubt the favorite game was “what lives under this rock?”

  • My best time has been teaching my children all about nature, with the use of “Backyard Scientist”. I love teaching, especially young children, all about the wonderful gifts that nature has for us to explore.. love showing all about the intricate details in every part of the outside world and all that live there. The different bird calls were some of the wonderful things that they could “try” to imitate. This is a beautiful offer and would love to use this book to explore even more.

  • I remember the dirt. I remember worms, their bodies cool from the earth below my feet wound themselves like yarn over and under my stubbly fingers. I was a child, so I did not fear their slime or blindness, these worms were my friends. In the sandbox I would dig and dig past the billions of ocean-ash until my fingernails would clump with clay and then I would feel them. The worms and their amoebas bodies tunneling from earth into my palm. It was in these moments when I knew we were connected: the earth, the worm, the animal inside of me.

  • I was a rock collector, though in retrospect some of those rocks were hunks of concrete. I could have used a book like this then!

  • I grew up with woods in my backyard so I was always taking walks with my dad and brothers out there. We used to keep a “nature box” with all of the stuff we found, and my favorite nature discovery was when we found an entire snakeskin that had been shed.

  • I grew up out in the country in Tennessee. We spent a lot of time helping my grandparents and parents take care of animals, work the garden and harvest, apple and berry picking…to the adults it was work but to all the kids it was one big adventure. I had to really work at finding time away from all the activity and chatter…two of my favorite things were getting down on my belly, lying on the ground and watching ants scurry along their roadways carrying their little white eggs from one entry to another…it was like they were moving to a bigger house or something…when I was about 8 or so I would take little tiny twigs and lay them end to end and build little fences along their roadways. I could watch them for a very long time..fascinating creatures. The other thing that really enchanted me was some willow trees that grew around a natural spring in the lower pastures. Rocks had been placed all around the spring many years before I came along and I just bet other kids in other times loved being under those willows too. The long flowing tender branches hung down to the ground and swayed in the breeze and make the tiniedt bit of sound…I loved being behind the screen, listening to the spring water run down the rocks and away on down the pasture. I would sometimes take a book and resd . It was perfect. Now I have two little grandson’s 3 and 5…they love the outdoors, and we have rivers and prairies to explore and a thousand and one million things to discover. I would dearly love to win and share with the boys! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • When I was younger I would go to my grandmother’s house every summer. She lived in the country back east. I would explore the surrounding areas and at night there was a wall of sound from the crickets and lightening bugs flying around lighting up off and on. I still wish we had lightening bugs where I live. They were favorite thing about our trips

  • Growing up in San Francisco, my favorite nature activity to do with my family was going to the Presidio Park and volunteering with habitat restoration. I loved being in the dirt and carefully planting native seeds back into the land. It’s so rewarding to visit the parks now and see the lush growth on on the rolling hills!

  • My grandmother used to take a 5 year old me to the magically beautiful Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C. to go “Pixie Hunting”. As we gently walked over mossy, fragrant forest floor in search of our tiny friends, she would describe the various plants, trees and animal life. Although we never quite found our pixies, I always left happy, knowing that the World contained SO much beauty.

  • My sister and I found a trail going uphill in the woods. We didn’t think much of it until we decided to follow it. It was a wonderful discovery ! Blueberry shrubs were lining the path on each side and at one point we came upon a hidden lake in the mountain. There was also a part of the forest where the trees had smooth bark – it was wonderous for us for we had never seen such trees before – and the ground was covered in moss. It looked like a fairytale kind of forest :) And then bam ! at the end of the trail, we found ourselves at the top of one of the small mountains that are surrounding my parents house. The view was amazing from up there !

    Thank you for the contest !

  • My favorite nature-related discovery as a child was probably making salt crystals or growing a lima bean plant from a seedling. I was incredibly lucky to have inspiring science teachers that made these retrospectively pretty mundane things feel simply magical. I’m a scientist today because of the wonderful, nurturing science-lovers in my life.

  • In 4-H we made terrariums and herbariums made of pressed plants found on walks in a state park called Rock Bridge (there is an actual rock bridge there). A connection to nature was forever minted in these classes eventually leading me to becoming a horticulturist.

  • As a child, I once saw an opossum with babies latched onto her back. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited. Despite their rat-like faces, I thought nothing could be cuter than a bunch of tiny possums.

  • We would go on nature walks with our mom in the fall and collect leaves we thought were beautiful. Then we would take them back home and place them between the pages of the really thick books on the bookshelf (for pressing). Not that long ago, I opened one of these books to the exact page and a gorgeous pressed leaf slipped out.

  • I loved spending time in the woods when I was young. And I still do. When I was about nine years old, an older boy in high school shared a secret with me about a trail in the woods. That I had never been on. He told me if I went further, I would find a creek. So, my friend Jamie and I set off. Near the end of the trail, we came across a downed tree. At the base was a small sandy, dune area. And a den of garten snakes. That had given live birth. There were hundreds of baby snaked. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. We stood and watch awhile. And wish I had a camera. We kept the secret, so the other children in the neighborhood would not bother them. And we enjoyed the creek later on. Finding frogs and crayfish. Good times.

  • When I was younger, I was constantly looking at the ground (for rocks, fossils, shells, eggs, etc.) I remember my parents pretty frequently telling me to look up when I was walking, but it was basically impossible. In college a geology professor told me I definitely had the makings of a geologist. ;) My other favorite memory is of a little baby robin that fell in our window well and couldn’t get out. My dad helped me to build a fence around the window well out of rebar and chicken wire so the neighbor’s scary half-bobcat cat didn’t get the bird (true story). After a few days of watching through the window as his mom flew down every so often to feed him, he learned to fly and I got to watch him go from tree to tree down the street.

  • My mom was a florist so I loved discovering all the different flowers and plants in our backyard when I was younger.

  • My earliest remembrance of a nature exploration, while a bit gruesome, was a clear indication of my interest in science and nature. I was around 4 or 5 years old, and I found a dead chipmunk in the yard. I dug a shallow hole and, using a stick, poked the chipmunk into it. Then, I covered the hole with a flat rock so I could easily check back on what happened to it. I remember a particularly maggoty time and the slightly furry skeleton. We moved away a few years later, but even now, a few decades after the fact, I could still point to the exact spot where I carried out my first science experiment. It’s no wonder I went on to study biology in college and became a science teacher!

  • My childhood home was surrounded by open fields where jackrabbits had warrens, birds would nest in large shrubs & gophers would pop out of the ground! My favorite memory is when my brother & found a small rabbit weak & struggling. We made a bed in a shoebox & feed him with an eye dropper until he grew stronger. My brother became a scientist & I became an artist. Those shared experiences with nature awakened passions in both of us.

  • My love of nature as a child started young, and was greatly encouraged by my wonderful father. We live in an area with a lot of lakes and ponds, and I remember my dad stopping to help turtles cross the road. He’d sometimes call me out of the car on the empty country roads to take a look at the turtle in his hands, and then he’d gently put them in the grasses next to the pond. To this day turtles are still my favorite. I also remember hiking, examining leaves & flowers, gardening, etc. The best part is getting to share this love of nature with my own young son, and also watch him share that bond with my father. We live in a beautiful world.

  • I grew up in the city… Montreal, but that didn’t stop my friends & I from discovering natures hidden secrets. We would often play “jungle” in my grandparents tomato patch, turn-over paving stones to dig out earth worms & ants and when the colder months rolled in we would go on various leaf finding expeditions and have melting experiments with the snow.

  • My sister and I would pore through my parents’ encyclopedias at pictures of worms. All things worms. I’m not sure why because it creeped us out. Then we would go outside and try to find them in dirt only to get creeped out again.

  • I have a very clear memory of when the cicadas came out when I was about 5 or 6. We collected the delicate exoskeletons, and I “took care of” the injured cicadas who were missing legs by putting them in Lego beds and covering them with tiny tissue blankets. :)

  • My most vivid memory as a child was collecting mushrooms in the cow paddocks from our family property. My mother loved mushrooms and would savor even the smallest find. Cooked up with butter on warm toast! Our property was often ‘drought declared’, so for it to rain and provide just the right conditions for mushrooms…..it was a time to celebrate! I still feel myself squeal, just a little (on the inside) when I find mushrooms today.

  • I collected wildflowers. I identified them, pressed them, mounted them and made a book out of my collection. I still love wildflowers, but now I don’t pick them, I take pictures of them.

  • We spent our summer camping, I always loved exploring the woods around our camp site, and I’ll never forget hunting for 4 leaf clovers as one of the nature center activities. Those were wonderful trips, being outside, hiking, and getting covered in dirt without getting into trouble :D

  • I found the deepest beauty in nature just last year when my younger self spent a month cataloging an herbarium specimen collection at work. It was nice spending quality time with nature, even within the confines of my office.

  • Some of my favorite memories are finding a small empty bird nest, finding hermit crabs on the beach on vacation, and rescuing box turtles from railroad tracks at home. My mom still has the small bird’s nest on a shelf!

  • I used to pour over nature books as a kid – the Osborne Book of Workd Wildlife was my all-time fav- and when we moved into the mountains of British Columbia I was in heaven. One summer I discovered tiny, light-brown snakes with light pink bellies had arrived in our neighborhood. They were rainbow boas, very tame and adorable to my 9 year old self. For a few happy days, my pet rainbow boa “rainy” (good one) would cool around my pencil and chill out while I did math homework. I was sad to let him go, and I have never seen a rainbow boa since! It must have been a good year.

  • The nature exploration I loved and remember most was searching for and collecting cicada shells! And the amazing discovery of seeing them emerge from the shell and become a completely different looking creature!

  • At the very end of our street, after the road turned to gravel, there was a small creek. I loved going to play in the creek. I could take off my shoes and walk through the water, pick up stones, and find the occasional crawdad. I even found a turtle shell once. I actually lost the shell before the walk was over; I dropped it climbing over a log and never found it. Despite that painful memory, I still miss that creek.

  • When I was 7 years old, I visited The Natural Bridge in Va. This was in 1965. It was lush and green and beautiful. A little 7 year old girl got a taste for being outside and appreciating nature and it never left her.

  • Growing up in Southern Louisiana, I wanted to spend all day, every day, adventuring through our ravine. Swinging on rope swings, discovering lost bamboo forests and abandoned shacks, climbing trees and jumping off clay cliffs. We were in the bayou with snakes and turtles. I was madly interested in absolutely every little critter or piece of flora and fauna that I could get my paws on.

  • Growing up in Delaware County, NY there are an abundance of nature related experiences that come to mind: Having my Grandmother teach me about birds, collecting sparkly rocks while camping with her and my Papa (grandpa), watching cats give birth to kittens, pressing leaves and flowers between waxed paper with my Mom, exploring the woods and building “forts” out of fallen branches, walking through fields and finding puffballs to step on, going blackberry and raspberry picking with aunts and cousins, and learning the cruel reality of death and the importance of being kind to even the smallest of creatures. (Thank you for posing this question. It has brought up many fond memories. There are so many it is hard to pick just one!)

  • I loved the smell and taste of honeysuckle. Still do! I would pick up the caterpillars and let them crawl all over my shirt in the spring and I would collect tadpoles in my neighbors water fountain. The curiosity and the playfulness of that time is something I want to rediscover.

  • The fall that I turned 8, my parents took the family to Sequoia National Park. The trees were so, so much bigger than I thought anything could grow to be. Everything was so still and the forest, so alive. It was magical. I can still smell that green, earthy, growing scent.

  • Walking in the woods with my father who showed me the kinds of trees, plants, mushrooms. I still love doing walk with him because I always learn something from him.

  • Wow, all the stories! I’ll probably just end up buying the book, but here goes anyway, haha.

    I was outside a LOT with my sister growing up, climbing trees, collecting mulberries, checking on our “tadpoles” (they were mosquito larvae), and making forts in the azalea bushes. One memory that really stands out though is when I found out there were wild edible plants IN MY YARD. It was so mind-blowing to me, and this was before the foraging craze! I remember excitedly going outside to gather chickweed, yard onions, and tiny stunted carrots to make soup with. My parents had taught us how to safely use the stove pretty early on, so I took initiative to cook the soup by myself. It pretty much just had the plants, water, and maybe some salt and pepper, so it really was very bland. I proudly ate it anyway, which I’m sure my parents laughed about later.

  • There was a campground in VT where there were deposits of natural slate. My sisters and I would search for pieces to draw on in the woods. Fostered an interest in the nature of rocks!

  • When I was in grade school we went on this amazing field trip to an eagle sanctuary. I had always loved nature but that day changed everything for me. It was in autumn so the foliage was beautiful. We walked various different trails and saw the most amazing views from the scenic outlooks. The shadows of the clouds moving across the hills took my breath away. Then to top it all off we did some bird watching, identifying the differences between hawks and eagles, watching them dive for prey and listening to their calls. I’ll never forget that trip.

  • I had a sister with a lot of health issues, so we didn’t do much outdoors as kids, but my grandparents had a lake house (shack?) in Texas which is where my first exploration/experiences happened – scorpions, snakes in the water, all those fun things that little girls learn to scream at and run from.

  • My parents built me a “critter keeper” when I was young, and it was the greatest thing ever to catch lizards and bugs and get to look at them up close!

  • I grew up in the Danish countryside. I was an only child but the next door farmer had cows, shiny, large black and white creatures. I loved to “read” to the cows. I was about 3 years old and remember the tasks of getting my books out in the field. Then a stool. Then a drink for me and carrots for the cows. Then a few pillows for me and cows that might get tired. Those afternnons were amazing, the cows would stand around me, breath heavy and chew a bit. Me, not able to read a word, would share tales and secrets from deep inside my heart as i flipped pages and felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

  • I don’t remember much of my childhood. Today I learned that human cells have organelles which are the cells version of organs. Organelles are separated from the other liquid and bits of the cell by a watertight membrane that is made by two opposing sets of lipids (cholestorol is a lipid.) These membranes literally keep things out at a molecular level and are so thin that they can’t be seen with a standard microscope.

    I like to think that’s a lot of things in life that echo this model of specialization cooperation assigned functions and a little bit of protection for when we expect things to go wrong.

    In second grade, I wrote my first research paper on great white sharks because I thought they were the coolest animal. As an adult, I have learned that there is so much more to being cool than a big set of teeth. I think this book is a really interesting way the world of looking at the world. Whoever gets it will be happy I’m sure.

  • The beaches of the NC Outer Banks have become ingrained in my memory. We have known one another for 36 years. First they were a once a year dreamland of summer nights, sunburn, saltaire spraying through the window and dune jumping. Later on they tenderly cradled my early 20’s as I took shelter on their shores while waiting tables, sharing houses with a slew of friends and staying out way too late. Among all these memories I so fondly recall one morning, I must habe been about six, waking up at sunrise with my dad. Our mission was to find shells with holes in them for stringing on a necklace. My dad said the best time to find these gems was at sunrise. Turns out he was right. I created a gorgeous necklace weighted down with all our precious finds. To this day I still love looking for shells. Wish I still had that necklace.

  • the stages of life of the dragonfly which I observed first hand as I live on a lake. These creatures are just fascinating!

  • Grown up in Jakarta, there was not many opportunity to meet nature on a daily base. I always enjoyed it, when my father took us to the beach – watching the little crabs coming out of the sands. Later on we moved to a new area, where there was not so crowded and still a bit raw nature around. Snakes came in to the house, etc. But what made me excited was the insects with all the colors and the birds!

  • First of all I would like to say to you congratulations for the amazing illustration and this very interesting attribution to what every childhood should be like! I identify myself in this little introduction of this book’ s presentation as I am in a very emotional time of my life; after spending almost 15 years away from the place I grew up in, living in Thessaloniki (Greece) and Toulouse (France) for my studies, in Athens and Corfu for work, I have -also in my mid-30’s- decided to go back “home” with my husband (wow! I am married) and become that same old insect/wildflower explorer at my 0.5 acre parents’ house in the suburbs of a small town in North Greece.

    By the moment we came into this decision, I find myself day-dreaming this really intimate relation I have always had with nature, collecting mushrooms and watching birds, catching ladybirds and insects, being able to grow up close to animals, growing my own vegetables and fruits!

    But my favorite nature-related exploration was when I collected poppy buds along with my sister, betting what color of poppy petal we would reveal -white, pink or red- not being able to tell why it would always end up blooming red!

    I do not even now if we, internationals, are included to this giveaway, I just wanted to share this, as I felt touched by this work. Thanks

  • My dad picked up a used classroom microscope at a tag sale and on a few snowy days we’d leave it outside in the garage overnight to cool and on a snowy morning, we’d catch snowflakes on pieces of black cloth and look at them under the microscope. Amazingly beautiful. This morning it is snowing and I’m wishing I had a cold microscope.

    Less specific memories, but just heading out in the car into the hills, stopping someplace by the side of the road and taking walks in the woods.

  • We lived in the suburbs. House after house, street after street. I was lucky though to live at the outer edge of our small town. We lived on a dead end street that had a forest at the end of it. We’d spend hours building forts and running around in it as a kid. But my favourite was winter. During a particular freeze thaw Canadian winter (rare then) the entire forest flooded then froze. We spent many magical enchanted days skating and weaving through the trees.

  • Growing up, there was a field with a brook that my sister and played in almost daily, in all seasons. It was amazing to start to understand how the field and it’s inhabitants changed throughout the seasons. That was a great discovery!

  • I always had limited access to nature -I lived in the inner-city as a child. Luckily, my parents had a double lot, so our yard was huge. It was filled with overgrown wisteria, Mulberry, and ancient maple trees. For my siblings and I it was a dream world, nature’s paradise, the place to get away from the stress of the city. We had various kinds of birdfeeders and a large vegetable garden so the environment was very conducive to a variety of flora and fauna. My earliest memory is of watching the tiny ants eat away at the casing on the peonies during the early summer.

  • My family was on a camping trip near Jenny Lake in Wyoming. It sits in between Yellowstone and Jackson Hole and is surrounded by some of the most dreamy landscape on Earth. We were walking along the shores of the lake when, practically between my feet, slithered a snake which had half ingested a fish! I’ll never forget it!

  • I was always scared of walking alone in the woods. My grandmother lived right opposite the wood that scared me, but I overcame this by making a den where I would play whenever I could; it was in a small hidden hollow set on a tiny stream filled with small stones and which was overhung with water plants. No one could see me from the road or indeed the wood. I had pet frogs, newts, hoppers and no end of other little water creatures. It was a haven of wonderment and I dream about it to this day.

  • Playing in the brook on the edge of the yard. Water, rocks, and moss are so magical.

  • I was told as a child never to pick Lady Slippers. They were protected and it was illegal! So discovering one in the woods was somehow magical because I imagined they had a invisible force field around them.

  • A tree leaf identification project I did in fourth grade really started me on the path that led me to my profession today: landscape architecture.

  • When I was little I was obsessed with insects and bugs. I pored over The How And Why Wonder Book of Insects, studying every detail, and even began my own collection, carefully mounted on cotton balls, placed in boxes and displayed on my wall. I miss those days of passionate exploration!

  • When I was little we lived next to a great big, open field and I used to run around in it all the time. One time I found the prettiest, most amazing flower. It was bright purple and had really pretty, almost lacy leaves. I didn’t pick it because I wanted the whole field to eventually be filled with them. But I did beg my parents for books to tell me what things were so that Christmas I got a bunch of field guides. Now, I’m a paleontologist- I think in part because I love hunting and discovering beautiful things!

  • When I was a kid, finding fossils was my favorite passtime. Growing up in Missouri, where the state fossil is the crinoid stem, I remember finding bits of them broken up amongst the gravel on the playground. My friends and I would collect those, and I would put mine in a little candy container. As I got older, collecting rocks and fossils became one of my favorite outdoor activity. My friends now still think I’m crazy when I talk about fossils or fossil hunting.

  • I remember clearly a walk in the park with ms family, hearing a strange rustling sound, and looking around to see a huge hawk on the ground with a squirrel in his claws – the hawk didn’t make a move but just watched it’s surroundings for at least 10 min – it was fascinating! Of course, as a young adult, the discovery of mushroom varieties and forest edibles like fiddlehead ferns is most memorable …

  • I’m enjoying reading everyone’s comments on this; a lot of the stories have brought back memories from my early childhood that I hadn’t thought about for years.

    I used to do things like ‘collect’ ladybirds, woodlice, snails, and imagine that they could be pets; one particular incident involved a snail (named Sooty) who I attempted to capture by building a pen around him made from bricks. Of course he just crawled over them. There was a book series called ‘Sophie’s Snail’ which I was very fond of, and I think that had quite an influence on me.

    But actually my favourite ‘nature’ memory probably doesn’t even count – I used to enjoy tracking our family’s black cat to see where she went and what she did when she wasn’t in the house. I imagined it was something very secretive. My tracking wasn’t very successful as I wasn’t allowed to leave the garden myself; but I was fascinated by the idea that this cat had a double life, and might behave completely differently if she didn’t know I was watching.

  • Growing up on a small farm gave me plenty of chances to observe nature. My moment of discovery, however, came when lying in the grass on my belly with hands propping up my head. There were tiny, busy, and sometimes colorful creatures down there! Some worked alone, others seemed to team up. I allowed them to crawl on my skin and felt their wee life on mine. Ah, the joy of an 8 year old’s summer leisure time in the country!

  • In my last year of college at the University of Tennessee, after a grueling night waiting tables, about twenty of packed up some beers and drove up to the Smokey Mountains to experience a meteor shower. It was blissful. Dark, quiet, and fun. It felt magical. I was surrounded by my very best friends on a beautiful night. I’ve never seen a sky so dark, yet illumated since that night. It was stunning. I think of it often.

  • I loved building forts and creating paths through the woods behind our house! Those were magical days!

  • After Thanksgiving dinner, my grandmother would take whichever grandkids that wanted to go with her on a walk through the woods. On the way there, we had to climb up these really gnarly (stone) steps. They were so interesting to me that I completely believed they were part of a “dinosaur’s back”…as grandma said.

  • I would wander into the woods near our house and sit on a large pipe that stretched over a creek. I would take a book with me or just stare at the water and trees for as long as I could be away. It felt like a grand adventure to me each time, and it felt like I was more myself out there.

  • My best friend and I used to make cities in the front yard out of blocks and connect them all with toilet paper roads. Once I made a “town square” and then realized how much diversity there was in that little patch of grass. It wasn’t only one species of grass, but so many different plants and bugs! It was an urban oasis!

  • As a little girl, I remember watching ants. I loved to see them working so hard in and around their ant mounds. They were so fascinating to watch. Also, fireflies were fun to watch and catch and putting them in a jar for a lamp in our backyard tent. As an adult, I really love watching birds.

  • When I was eight my family lived in the country for about a year. Every day after school I, along with the neighbor kids, would explore. Old creek beds, huge oak trees, hills of berries and the occasional rattlesnake or sheep carcass that a coyote had gotten to. Probably the best time of my childhood!

  • While hiking Mt. Washington as a teenager I was completely in love with the first waterfall we came upon. As we hiked higher and saw mini ‘waterfalls’ tinkering down rocks we were walking past I had thought I was in the most magical place possible. I couldn’t wait to see what else was around the bend. This past year I saw the most beautiful falls, stood under one and swam in the pool of another. They will always be magical and their rushing waters are music to my ears. I feel most at peace hiking to find a new one, chasing them through the forest taking stops to look for mushrooms and wild flowers and breathing in the smell of pine.

  • I grew up near Lake Erie and I can remember how my family would spend hours walking along the shoreline. I was fascinated by all of the rocks and fossils underfoot. My Dad would always take the time to point them out and explain what they were. There were times where I had to hold my pants up because I had collected so many rocks in my pockets that they were too heavy to stay up on their own. Even now I am still so fascinated with rocks & minerals.

  • As a child I liked to collect small flowers and dinky toy cars (!) The only way to keep the flowers forever, was to press them in books. To this day there is no place I’m happier than being outdoors surrounded by nature.

  • When my father was attending seminary in upstate New York, we lived in a family dormitory built on top of a hill with a paved path that led to the academic buildings below. The path was surrounded by scads of trees and rock and everything else that made for a spooky “elephant graveyard,” which is what my friends and I would call it. Many an afternoon was spent meandering through the little forest, picking up curiosities, stomping freely on leaves and earth, and calling out to the spirits of the elephants and anything else whose woodland presence haunted the benevolent wood.

  • As a child, my family lived in a small town 20 minutes from Boston. Our tiny yard was fenced in for my mother’s show dogs, so my brothers and I had to play in the street. But up the street there was a little house where two elderly sisters lived. I don’t remember how I met them, but I remember visiting their house often as a young child. I do, however, remember their garden. It was glorious! I didn’t know it then, but what I was seeing was an old fashioned English garden. I spent many afternoons exploring the plants that grew there. These visits remain some of my favorite memories of childhood.

  • On a backpacking trip a few years ago, we were camped near a beautiful small lake and I remember falling asleep one night in particular listening to the sounds of the nature silence around me and realizing for the first time how incredibly loud the music of silence can be outside.

  • just laying on my stomach and looking through the bright blades of grass… made me feel larger that life and connected to everything at the same time.

  • I have fond memories of trying to catch fireflies in the evenings when we visited my grandparents during the summer. It never occurred to us our folks were probably sending us out to get some peace & quiet for awhile.

  • Growing up with brothers meant we were often in the yard looking for bugs and frogs. My favorite memory is the anticipation of turning over a big (probably small) rock and looking at all the critters scurry away.

  • Playing all day in the creek behind our house. Finding hermit crabs, tadpoles, and making up backstories for the all the different ant colonies.

  • Hiking through the rainforest at night in Costa Rica was definitely my favorite outdoor experience. We had a wonderful guide who taught us so much about everything that we saw that evening.

  • I can’t think of one single memory – there are too many!
    As I read through the previous comments, I see that so many are similar to mine. I’m fortunate to have grown up in a time and place where I could run free in some wonderful places as a child. I will turn 50 this year and I’m happy to say that I still enjoy playing outside (on foot or from the back of my horse) and if I don’t win a copy of the book, I will certainly buy a one!

  • digging of course, finding roly polys and marbles,
    kissing the trunks of apple trees, calling them princes

  • One of my favorite trips with my family included a hike through the Redwood Forest. I remember tripping on the roots, as thick as normal tree trunks, with my head tilted up to take in the enormity of the old trees. I would try to count the rings on the trees, retry when I lost track, and my thoughts would take over.

  • One of my favorite outdoor memories is being out in the yard with my sister trying to make crowns to wear out of dandelions.

  • I look forward to sharing this book with my fiver!

    One of my favorite outdoor memories is fishing off the backyard wall with my younger brother using tin cans and string.

  • Growing up we had a beetles (the ones that look like large lady bugs) beside our porch. My sister and I would spend hours watching them, giving them names, cataloging them through illustration and burring the ones that were no longer alive.

  • I love the hand drawn nature of the illustrations. It feels like a notebook that has been left lying around. Growing up around Sydney harbour I would spend hours amongst the rocks and paddling in the pools finding winkles and jelly fish. Living in the UK when my son was born we would walk along tracks in the hills and through the commons with the various birds and plant life. My son’s first picture books had my scribblings of the names of the different trees and flowers.

  • My mom grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, and every summer my family and I would go back to visit. Some of my favorite memories are of picking wild flowers in the fields and searching the forest with my mom and grandma for wild blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and what they called “cream berries” (little orange berries with white centers). The only downside to the adventures were the wood ticks, horse flies, and mosquitoes.

  • Oh, I just loved being outside as a child! I think my very favorite thing to do was climb trees. I would take my book or journal with me and sit for a long time just listening to the sounds around me or writing stories and poetry.

  • My three siblings and I spent most of our childhood days outdoors, so we have quite a few precious memories. If I had to pick one, I would say playing in the neighborhood creek is near the top. Many fine clay pieces were produced from it, and we would always take care to clear parts of the stream that were clogged with leaves and brush. Our biggest achievement was to clear a whole (small) waterfall section, which we proudly named Nigh-agara Falls (our last name :).

  • A whole lot of my childhood exploring was done through children’s science books as my mother was a little tight on us. (We lost my older brother when he was just a baby.) But I do remember the adventures we had with other kids in our neighborhood. One of them was gathering leaves, shredding them, and then mixing them with water in a used Coke bottle. The water would turn green and we’d “serve” it in little plastic teacups. We called it “chlorophyll juice” since we had learned from books that that’s what makes leaves green. :)

  • Rocks, Rocks and more Rocks. I have saved them forever. They are to look at, to paint, to add to my garden and recently to wrap and felt little jackets for them.

  • I remember long walks exploring different types of rock and earth, and noticing how the landscape and geology were different when we walked near my grandparents’ house in Pennsylvania than they were at home in Virginia or on holiday in the Golden Isles in Georgia. I still love learning about trees and how to recognise different species! What a lovely book — thank you Julia for the beautiful and informative illustrations.

  • Going to the ‘frog lake’ where you had to climb a step ladder over the fence which always seemed so huge when so small. Then having to quietly tip toe round and listen for the croaking of the froggies.

  • Exploring the woods with my crew of girlfriends foraging for scraps to build a tree house to hide out in—and keep the neighborhood boys away.

  • I went to Alaska when I was 22. My favorite experience was swimming in the Bering Sea! It was July, air temp was 42 degrees, and the water was 38 degrees.

    And I did it in a bikini, but that’s nothing compared to my father and brother doing it shirtless.

    Barrow is amazing anyway — the tundra makes it look like you’re landing on the moon, and the sea is full of secrets: polar bears, walrus skeletons, parts of planes.

  • I remember camping in upstate new york at a campground called Little Pond. Indeed there was a little pond, and we would go swimming from time to time. There were always little salamanders scurrying around. I had never seen anything like them in person before and I became infatuated. I enjoyed scooping them up with my hand and letting them run all over my arms!! They were so cute!

  • When my siblings and I visited my grandparents at there house in PA, we would spend afternoons rolling down the hill in their backyard in big refrigerator boxes. Then after a day of rolling, we would spend the evening catching fireflies in jars and running around the yard with our”night lights” trying to find night creatures…. Life was spectacular!

  • Walking in the grasses by our house finding pink ladyslippers. My mom told me they were endangered and I always thought it was a beautiful discovery to find one. They are shaped so strangely and were such a subtle pop of colour in the grasses. Too precious to pick! Runners up were tiger lilies and brown eyed susans. I still look for them when I visit the prairies.

  • I love to go exploring in the woods where a small creek was hidden behind a wooden fence. We kids would crawl around the boards and hike down there and spend hours looking at tadpoles.

  • A fallen tree in my backyard. I spent hours playing on and around that. Growing up in the mountains was such a privilege.

  • One of my earliest memories is my father handing me a beautiful white flower on the side of a road during a family road trip through North Carolina, and explaining that it was called Queen Anne’s Lace. To this day, these flowers are one of the happiest sights of summer for me.

  • I grew up on 2 acres in a rural area, so there was plenty of nature to explore. There was a year around creek, a grassy field, a small orchard, a grove of evergreen trees. We had tree houses and small flower gardens and went fishing and raised chickens. It was a great childhood and I loved examining all the seeds and small creatures, falling asleep to the sounds of the bullfrogs croaking and the owls hooting. We’re raising our kids the same way and it’s satisfying to know that they are so in tune with the sights and sounds of nature. :)

  • When I was seven, I’ve received a simple microscope for Christmas and I’ve discovered that everything around me has its new, mysterious side in micro scale. I’ve started to examine everything: paper, my own hair, pieces of skin, pollen grains from my mother’s flowers and even insects if I found a dead ones. Now I’m a graphic designer and illustrator but I still feel that I could work in a lab to learn more about the other dimension of our world.

  • My family always went camping on vacation when I was a child, and I will never forget my parents showing me Bloodroot for the first time, with its wide, baseball glove-shaped leaves, and the shocking red of its sap. Also May Apples, their beautiful flowers hidden by the leaves above. But the best thing they showed me was the Touch-Me-Not. It is still a shock when I gently squeeze one of the flowers only to have it pop open, stamens out, in my hand

  • My great-grandparents would visit us in the summers when I was young. We would pile the generations into our boat and travel into the wilderness of the Tongass National Forest to stay at a forest-service cabin. We would hike through the forest picking berries and watching for squirrels. Great-grandma loved to fish for trout- so my brother and I made it our mission to fashion a trout rehabilitation pond in a stony area partially in the creek and release her catch. We had to keep a watchful eye out for bears. Sometimes we would take a swim in the river and watch the minnows swim by our toes. In the evening, a few fish would serve as fresh dinner for everyone.

  • My entire childhood is one big memory of the outdoors, nature. One of my favorite things I did with my brother and the neighborhood kids was to explore this creek tucked between a few homes and our local junior high. We would catch crawdads and put them in tin coffee cans with water. We’d be ankle deep in the creek all day long. We’d make our way to the only cherry tree. It was huge and we would climb it, eat cherries and look out at the view. Sadly, that area where we spent so many days has been developed and the tree is gone and the creek runs between houses crowded together in our overgrown small town. I think of those days often.

  • I grew up on the south shore of Lake Ontario. We spent lots of time foraging for driftwood and beach glass. I still keep a whale shaped piece of driftwood my brother and I found when were 4 and 6 years old, respectively. It ties me to him (he’s now deceased) and to the best parts of our childhoods.

  • I grew up in a residential area on a hill. Where the road sort of hairpin turned at the school bustop to head downhill there was a small single track lane that wandered off to the left back along the hill. It was dark, mysterious, and overgrown. As a pack of kids we would go exploring down there. Always in groups – it was too scary otherwise. Springs sprouting from the hillside, creating lush, mossy crevasses filled with miners lettuce and slow moving salamanders and pollywogs would keep us busy for hours, returning home at dusk, muddy and wet from the knees down.

  • School had its own Natural History Museum – it would organize monthly day-field-trips and week-long holiday classes. I remember learning about sea animals, swamp animals and plants in loco as well as learning to make and care for my own bonsai. Still today what I learnt there helps me trough life!

  • I always loved creating something with what I found. I would dress in clover necklaces, made pottery with clay I found in the flower-bed where nothing grew and decorated it with elderberry paint.

  • I always spent a lot of time playing in my backyard, which was a large yard for a downtown area. My favorite game was to play chef and make soups with all the stuff I found around the yard.

  • Adventures with my Uncle Joe were the best. Growing up with six siblings in our cozy home outside of DC, it wasn’t just fun to get out of the house. It was a necessity. And Uncle Joe was always game to show us something new – from crabbing on the Chesapeake (I’ll never forget catching a soft-shell crab right off the pier!) to hunting carp (yes, with bow and arrows!) to “hiking” around the neighborhood. One of my favorite memories was when we hiked up behind the local high school looking for crystals. I was a little skeptical that we would find them as we scrubbed through the dirt, but lo and behold two beautiful quartz crystals emerged. Only in recent years did I realize that it is highly likely that he actually brought those crystals with him so that we’d definitely find something. But it doesn’t matter. It was magic. Still is.

  • I loved pressing flowers and pine needles. My favorite was cracking open Bleeding Heart flowers to find all the mysterious pieces (lady in the bath, two rabbits, etc.).

  • My favorite nature exploration was at my girl scout day camp each year – it was where I learned about creek walking, and the amazing ecosystem that even a small creek can contain!

  • I was a kid who loved frogs and bugs and worms and all the things some other kids ran away from. But I still remember the day my father called me to the back yard to show me a Praying Mantis he had spotted. To me that insect was *AMAZING.* And, you still have to admit it, they really are.

  • I can remember clearly going on a class trip to a place called Shark River (in NJ) and learning about the fossils and shark teeth that were in the creek. We were then allowed to hop in to the shallow part and pan for these items. I actually found a little tiny shell fossil that I still treasure to this day!

  • As a young child I always had an obsession with rocks. Sometimes when I would play outside in our backyard I would lick rocks. Yes, you heard me, I would lick them. I know it is super super weird, especially as an adult of 25 years, but I’m telling you each rock tasted different. I think I just enjoyed exploring the earth in abnormal ways as a youngster and in some odd way made me feel more connected to nature.

  • When I was very little, I was playing in the back yard when something caught my eye. Seconds later I had a wriggling green garter snake in my hands. Thrilled, I took it to show my dad, “look, daddy! It’s a snake!!”. My father has had a lifelong fear of snakes, but somehow managed to keep his fear under control and calmly suggest we go put it back where I found it. I hope I didn’t squish you, little friend.

  • One of my favorite birthday presents from my parents was a flower press. I still use it 20 years later!

  • Also, my favorite nature-related discovery was the kale that grew in my neighbor’s yard. I’d sneak over there when I was 4 or 5 and pretend like I was a farmer gathering crops. Such sweet memories!

  • i always colect any “interesting” thing i faind in my explorations. i still do! Now i have my own collection of presed plants “herbario”

  • My cousins and I used to sneak down to the creek behind my granny’s house to search for crawfish. We never caught many, but loved digging and turning over rocks to find frogs, toads, bugs, etc.

  • This book looks like the perfect mix of adorableness and information! When I was in elementary school, one assignment was research an insect and present it to the class. A friend and I decided to team up and create a skit – costumes and all – about an ant and a butterfly who meet each other and discuss all their differences and similarities. Not only did we learn a lot (did you know that butterflies taste with their feet?) but we made the presentation so fun that we got carted around the school to present to classes of all grades.

  • In preschool we used to eat the nectar from the honeysuckle that grew on the fence on the playground. Every time I smell honeysuckle I vividly remember that – over 30 yrs later

  • When I was six, I designed accommodation for flies. Intricate, yet somewhat primitive side sections of houses suspended between trees.

  • When I was a kid I spent one month every summer at my grandparents’ house in countryside. I collected every possible flower from my grandma’s garden and meadows around and squished them between pages of books that my grandma gave me especially for this purpose. I loved to see how the flowers dried out and changed their color, and how petals became translucent. A bit magical.

  • During the late Summer/early Fall in Texas, I would have the opportunity to visit my grandparents. Together we would go out into their backyard and “mess” with the plants. They would grow green beans, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, herbs, flowers and melons around the perimeter of their yard. They gave me my own garden space where I could plant seeds and tend to my plants. In my garden, I had zinnias, mint, chives and beans. I was very proud of my garden :) Now I think back to how often I would visit my garden and even though I was there once a month, my garden continued to thrive and new plants magically appeared much to my surprise. I thought I had a gardening gift! But my grandparents knew better ;) To this day, I credit my grandmother with my love for plants and nature. Each day, I try to expose all my friends and their children to what I know and love.

  • I used to have a serious fascination with rocks. It started with the generic landscape stones at mother’s day out — but eventually I was gifted a full fledged rock collection. I remember feeling so accomplished!

  • My absolute favorite nature-related memories growing up were my experiences in my 4th grade class. My teacher, Mrs. Pitt, was obsessed with animals and insects. I remember walking into her classroom every morning and getting a giant whiff of the intense smell of animal cages. It was probably really gross, but as a kid, I kind of loved it. She kept a variety of creatures such as snakes, hamsters, tadpoles + frogs, birds, tarantulas, silkworms, etc. We all loved feeding and taking care of the animals. Not to sound morbid, but my favorite part was always feeding mice to the snakes. I think it made a huge impact on I how perceived the “scary” parts of nature; it made it all seem so natural. I also remember her teaching us about the biodiversity in the Amazon and we spent weeks coloring pictures of all the different animals. And who doesn’t love coloring? Ahh, I just love thinking back to those simpler times!

  • My favorite nature-related exploration or discovery when I was younger was having the Rocky Mountains as my backyard – born in Oklahoma, I spent my earlier years romping through my granny’s pasture with my cousin, getting scraped up by the branches among the creek, and approaching bugs + wildlife in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have. While those memories will stick with me forever, my favorite memories are hiking through the Rocky Mountains, shortly after moving to central Colorado on the Front Range with my mom and stepdad, our family truly started when we began visiting RMNP every autumn, renting a cabin in Estes Park during autumn, among skiing on the off-season with good friends. Now, back in Oklahoma, I thought I would never enjoy the outdoors as near as much as Colorado taught me to…but wherever there is the outdoors and nature, there will always be learning, love + true happiness!

  • Fossils! I collected little 5mm stones with tiny holes in the middle, they looked like gray pearls and I spent every holiday for years searching the rocky beach near our holiday home. I also found a closed mussleshell and other beautiful shapeds while looking for the perfect stone pearls for a bracelet. I’m still facinated by them, something alive turned into stone – it’s like they are frozen in time.

  • I loved pressing flowers when I was a kid. I still do it now, only I have a better idea of the names of them than I used to!

  • My favorite nature exploration was a hiking trail behind a pottery shop in the Poconos with my Aunt’s dogs tagging along and pointing out every squirrel. I still try to get up there on vacation ever few years and always make sure to hit that little hiking trail. It feels so far away from everything.

  • My fave was looking for gardener snakes in the backyard! I loved that there were harmless little snakes in the yard that I could play with and let curl up in my hair. Most people are scared of snakes, but I’ve always loved them.

  • The first thing that comes to mind is the thistle I found on one of the very first walks around our city block that my mom let me take alone as a little kid. It was beautiful, complex in pattern, and even a little dangerous and outer-space-alien-looking, and definitely made me want to take more on-my-own excursions.

  • My childhood was spent mainly exploring in the woods and fields surrounding our house before it was developed into a neighborhood. My two dogs and I, sometimes my little sister, would go explore in the creek looking for tadpoles and tromp through the water. My dad fashioned us a rope swing over the creek and we would strip down to our underwear (in lieu of bathingsuits) and play in the water all day long.

  • When I was young my parents had a fantastic garden that took up 1/3 of our quarter acre yard. My siblings and I loved running through the rows of tall plants, and when Dad came home from work it was time to dig up potatoes! It was so magical – we hadn’t payed attention at planting time, so to go to the back terrace and drive a pitchfork into the dirt, and have it come up brimming with yellow nuggets was like finding buried treasure.

  • I have always searched and collected four leaf clovers, I once even found a five leaf one. “Looking for luck” has always been one of my favourite things to do, and I’m happy to have the opportunity to pass on the process to my nieces and nephews now.

  • My grandmother had the most beautiful of flower gardens. Her entire yard was always in bloom, and I loved walking through and taking the time to look at each and every different variety she tended to.

  • Birds! Everything about birds. I loved watching them in person and also looking through books to identify different birds I’d noticed. I would love to win this beautiful book!

  • Oh how cool is this?
    I Really would Love to have on of those!
    I am a Scout and so my childhood had been full of nature explorations. But the greatest thing i Do remember had nothing to do with scouting:
    In school (I thing grade 7) we had to collect plants for a herbarium.. I loved doing this, especially if i had to look for plants 2 or 3 times, because they look different in spring, summer and autumn. I stil have this herbarium and everytime I wonder “what’s that plant?” I have a look in my herbarium.

    Have a great time!

    Best wishes
    Franzy

  • As a child (and still as a 41 year-old!), I would take nature walks on the family farm. My favorite thing was collecting Texas wildflowers and bringing them home to arrange in a vase or pressing them in a homemade flower press that a friend made for me. On one particular walk, I found a femur bone from a cow. To me, it was so huge, that I believed it was a dinosaur bone. Of course, no one could convince me it was a cow bone!

  • We have a summer cottage on Georgian Bay and it is on an island covered in forest and ponds. I used to make terrariums or natural aquariums. It was great to learn how to make a balanced eco-system that didn’t have one thing take over.. Surrounding myself as a child (and adult) in the nature up there makes it so you see it everywhere. You really start to appreciate the small things and notice how bright the moss is at sunrise, how minnows glint in the sun.. It’s great and I have been very privileged to have the experience.

  • Exploring the swamp behind our house and catching tadpoles and bringing them home and watching them grow into frogs….magical!! :)

  • I grew up in a tiny little town in the middle of no-where, and by the tender age of 6 was given permission to romp through the forest of our western massachusetts town. My romp was to a small beaver pond and swamp behind our house. I studied the beaver hut and damns, followed the meandering rivulets into and out of the pond, and caught the little green salamanders swimming by. No one ever visited the pond, hidden away in the woods…..just me. It was quiet, and magical, and perfect in every way. As I got older, I wandered farther afield and discovered a second, larger swamp area that was filled with the huge nests of Great Blue Herons……and the big old dead trees supported not only these nests, but also multiple pairs of herons, dancing and singing. It was a sight that changed me forever. I’d never seen anything like it before, and nothing like it since. But it inspired a wonder and awe that has never left me. I’m now introducing my grandchildren to the wonders of nature with the hope that they’ll come to see the magic around them too.

  • I created true adventures; I loved gearing up with a backpack full of snacks (trail mix, of course), packing an extra pair of socks, a tarp, a pair of binoculars, a walkie talkie, sunscreen and bug spray– all of the essentials. I would hike through the backyard and into the abandoned and overgrown golf course behind our suburban neighborhood. Despite being able to see my house through the trees if I really tried hard enough, I would pretend I was hours from home. Climbing trees and sometimes even taking a dip in this disgusting swamp that I believed was a “natural spring”. I’d pretend to hunt and gather; thankfully only the gathering really ever occurred. I named the trees and had numerous natural landmarks along the path I’d always take. These moments are fond to remember as I see them as the epitome of my imagination and my willingness to believe in these whimsical universes.

  • I used to go to our back yard in Seattle and play archaeologist. I would dig around our old camelia tree for fragments of old pots, which I really thought were ancient at the time (they most certainly were not). Digging there for hours I would eventually end up looking for seeds, potato bugs and pretty rocks. Good times…

  • I raised monarch caterpillars every summer in pickle jars. They tended to mature into butterflies at the same time, and it was magical seeing them emerge from their chrysallises…

  • My favourite nature memories are from this amazing park my sister and i went to as a child especially off this one part which had undergrowth and palm trees, it felt totally magical and made me feel like an explorer.

  • One of the most pivotal moments in my life was when I found my first fossil in central Oregon at the age of eight. It is my most cherished piece in my rock and fossil collection. It also inspired me to pursue a degree in geosciences.

  • This book looks so nice! My favorite memories of nature when I was younger are all the times I went camping with my Girl Scout troop. We would all go for a long weekend to upstate NY, sleep in cabins, go hiking, swim in the lake, learn nature survival skills, play outside, light campfires and tell stories. I loved those trips and it definitely left a lasting impression on my perspective of the environment and appreciation for nature.

  • My dad used to take me on walks in the woods behind our home. Hours of wandering and exploring.

  • We lived on 6 acres of woods and my favorite memories were exploring the woods with my brother (the only time we got along growing up) and making up magical worlds among the leaves. We had a little stream we would clear of leaves and even an excavation site where we would dig up remnants of an old farm house that burned down long before. I miss those days.

  • My childhood home was at the end of an undeveloped subdivision, with acres of old farmland begging to be explored. At the very edge of the land was a wooded area complete with a creek. I spent hours there every day catching tadpoles and crayfish, picking wild raspberries, making daisy chain crowns out of clover. My brother even found a few arrowheads there. It’s one of my all-time favorite things about my childhood, and definitely shaped who I am today. (also, what a great prompt! It has me reminiscing big time!)

  • My childhood backyard was like a jungle with a creek and three different swings – I would spend hours out there building fairy houses in old stumps, piles of rocks, and fallen tree branches. I learned the names of all the different trees and plants that grew out there. Miss it so much!

  • When I was little I lived in the city until I was five. After that I moved to the country. It was amazing! All I wanted to to was dig for worms and go fishing for fish. And even today when ever I catch a frog I kiss it for good luck. Now I’m a member of the FFA and I am studying the environment and how to take care of it. I hope I’m not to late to enter this contest.