Good reads on a cold night
Highlighting Wisconsinís natural treasures.
Put down the tablet. Stash the smartphone. It's a good time of the year to go tech–free and get your hands on books that will take you outdoors without needing a coat.
"Up North: Reflections, Moments and Memories"
Photographer and producer Joe Brandmeier shares stunning scenes from Wisconsin's Northwoods in his book, "Up North: Reflections, Moments and Memories" (Tristan Publishing, Inc.).
The book teems with images of the north inspired by the author's time growing up in northern Wisconsin and more recent vacations to the family's cabin in the Nicolet National Forest. Allow yourself time to linger over the photos, which are paired with fitting quotes from great minds like John Muir and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Feel winter's solitude with double–page photo spreads of snow–covered forests. Spring's awakening is captured with up–close pollinators on flower petals and lakes so clear that the reflection of sky and trees on them plays tricks with your mind. Summer radiates through spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The Northwoods' true colors show themselves in Brandmeier's fall photos.
Loons, bears, an eagle, a squirrel and white–tailed deer all make appearances. This book belongs on the coffee table year–round as a reminder of the awe captured in the quote the author includes from Jeffrey Brandmeier, "I never feel more alive and at peace than I do when I am Up North. It's therapeutic. It's a feeling like Christmas. The feeling I wish I could feel throughout the entire year."
Learn more at joebrandmeier.com/book/up-north-book/ Joe Brandmeier up north book. Cost is $19.95.
"Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams: Plants, Fishes, Invertebrates, Amphibians, and Reptiles"
Stream ecologists Katie Songer, Ron Dolen and Mike Miller, have pooled their talents and pulled extensively from the expertise of dozens of other biologists and ecologists, to present a comprehensive lesson on Wisconsin stream life in "Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams: Plants, Fishes, Invertebrates, Amphibians, and Reptiles."
This guide is a one–stop–shop for identifying plants and animals encountered in Wisconsin streams. Crayfish, mussels, reptiles and amphibians join stream plants, fishes and invertebrates. More than 1,200 images illustrate the species along with distribution maps and more. Compiling the guide was a massive team effort.
"After Mike Miller asked Katie Songer and me in 2009 to develop a fish pamphlet to improve DNR stream survey data, Katie and I quickly designed and created a comprehensive pamphlet on all fishes found in Wisconsin streams," recalls Dolen. "But we realized that it could be so much more. A more comprehensive guide could help anyone who spends time in streams — the 'eyes' and 'ears' of streams, such as DNR stream survey crews, Water Action Volunteers who monitor their local streams, and anglers — to protect streams and improve the early detection of aquatic invasive species."
Songer, the lead editor, managed communication with contributors worldwide. Songer and Dolen co–authored drafts of the sections on invertebrates, fishes, plants and crayfish, provided major edits to all sections, selected and/or acquired most of the book's images and created all distribution maps. They also leaned heavily on the expertise of others like DNR fisheries researcher John Lyons, primary author of the fish section, and conservation biologist Lisie Kitchel, who wrote the mussels section. Other DNR scientists wrote the amphibians and reptiles sections. Miller contributed major edits to the invertebrate section and also wrote the book's general introduction and the introduction to the fish section.
Miller has been fascinated by streams since he was about 8 years old, spending much of his free time playing in and along a small stream flowing by his house in Plymouth. He is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys taking groups streamside to teach them about stream ecology.
Dolen gravitated towards water when he was just 7 years old and caught a catfish that seemed almost as big as he was. Songer grew up hiking the forests and streams around Portland, Ore., and worked there as an environmental educator before joining the Peace Corps. She and Dolen met as volunteers in Tanzania. This year they moved to Portland, where they look forward to exploring the streams of the Pacific Northwest.
"Streams are the souls of the landscape, reflecting how we treat the land and connecting all of us together," Dolen says. "Streams deserve a full book, and this should be a good read and tool for those interested in the subject."
Learn more at uwpress.wisc.edu/books/4887.htm The University of Wisconsin Press. Cost is $29.95. The book is priced to cover the production cost. Neither the Department of Natural Resources nor the DNR authors receive any revenues from its sale.
Natasha Kassulke is editor-in-chief of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.