I’m excited to turn the tables on Mary Kay Carson, who usually does these interviews and invite her to speak about her newest (really cool) book,
Wildlife Ranger Action Guide
Be a Hero for Local Wildlife!
Birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals live all around you – and you can help protect them! Use the field guide pages to learn about which species you’re likely to see in your area. Then turn your backyard into a sanctuary by creating an animal-friendly habitat where wild residents can find food, water, shelter, and places to nest and raise their young.
Here is a spread of the inside of this awesome book:
A lot of the books you’ve written are about space or weather, how did you come up with the idea to write Wildlife Ranger?
Providing habitat for local wildlife is a real passion of mine. My husband and I live in the city, but chose to buy the 100+ year-old home we did fifteen years ago because of the acres of urban green space that surround it. We’ve been able to watch all kinds of critters take up residence as invasive plants has been removed, native plants encouraged and cultivated, dead trees left standing, and lawn abandoned! And I want kids to feel similarly empowered. To know that they can help wildlife right in their own backyards by providing one or more of the Big Four—water, food, shelter, and nests. Kids love animals, and presentations about how scientists are helping endangered animals are some of my most requested during school visits. And while kids are drawn to the well-publicized plight of pandas, tigers, and penguins, there isn’t a whole lot a young person in Iowa can do to help those faraway animals apart from raising awareness or donating money from a bake sale. But helping the wild animals that live all around us? That’s something anyone of any age can do.
Our home is filled with field guides, so I can’t say the research was difficult. I am embarrassed by how much I learned along the way, however. After all, these are animals I’ve seen most of my life. But somehow I never realized that green darners migrate nor knew that cottontails can have six litters a year. SIX! I’m ready for native wildlife trivia night!
Choose a format that works for you. Some kids are more likely to use something they’ve invested time into or personalized, like a Wild Notes Notebook. (Download template pages here.) But there are also apps for recording observations for the smart-phone savvy, too. In these times of global climatic changes, tracking when flowers bloom and birds migrate has never been more critical.
My photographer husband, Tom Uhlman, did the photos of all the step-by-step kid projects. (A good number of the animal photos in the Field Guide sections are his, too.) Kudos to him for all the kid-wrangling of neighborhood and friends’ children! It was a fun challenge to think so visually. Not only how do I write up projects and information in ways that interest readers, but how (and what!) to show so they can successfully make a Paw Printer or Coffee Tub Nest Box by looking at the photos and text. Those photo shoot days were long and messy! Also, that’s our beloved cat, Shamu, on page 38.