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Apr 16, 2014







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Barking up the right trees
Two new books about New Hampshire’s nature

By Lisa Parsons lparsons@hippopress.com



Having read our cover story this week about the thrills and excitement of New Hampshire’s state parks, you might be hungry to learn more about the area’s outdoors. Here are two new books that would make good resources as you prepare for a trip, or good reading during some down time on your hike.

The Wildlife of New England: A Viewer’s Guide, by John S. Burk, University of New Hampshire Press, 2011, 279 pages.

This book purports to answer “Where are you most likely to spot a moose, black bear, or otter in the wild? On what hilltop can you see thousands of migrating hawks in a single day? Where might you see a basking shark, seal, or sea star?” Its first part is organized by state. In the New Hampshire section, there are 13 wildlife areas addressed, including Great Bay, Odiorne Point State Park, The Connecticut Lakes, and Pack Monadnock and North Pack Monadnock mountains. It’s all text, except a couple small gratuitous pictures. For each area, facts and figures (and directions) are given and then some discussion of “Viewing” — what wildlife you’re likely to see there, when and how — and “Getting Around.” It’s nothing extensive, but a sampler of places you might put on an itinerary. The last 10 percent or so of the book comprises profiles of “iconic and characteristic” New England animal species, organized by what types of land they inhabit (woodland, mountains, etc.). Not an exhaustive list, in other words, but a list of highlights. A nice little paperback reference book. The copyright page says the book was made in the U.S.A. and notes that “University Press of New England is a member of the Green Press Initiative. The paper used in this book meets their minimum requirement for recycled paper.” (University of New Hampshire Press is part of UPNE.)

Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast, by Michael Wojtech, University Press of New England, 2011, 264 pages.

You’ve seen tree guides and leaf guides, but I bet you’ve never seen a bark guide. And aside from peely white birch bark, I bet you never thought too much about identifying trees by their bark. But Michael Wojtech, of western Massachusetts, did, and here he shows you how.

You need to read the book as prescribed, because there’s an order to the system. First you figure out which one of six categories your bark belongs to, and then you use assorted variables to narrow it down to a specific kind of tree — variables like smoothness, cracks, scales, curls, shapes and sizes of ridges and blocks — and it’s complicated by the fact that bark changes as a tree ages. The book is full of diagrams and photos showing scale and detail.

If you regularly encounter trees you’re curious about, here’s one more angle of approach to know them by. And even if you already know your trees pretty well, this could help you get to know them better.
Although Bark is from the same publisher as The Wildlife of New England, this one is “Manufactured in China” and says nothing about eco-friendly paper. It’s glossier.
 






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