Field Guide Gifts

When Daddy asked her to pack her Elmo backpack for their camping trip, Sara chose a pile of Mac’s Field guides, including the Mac’s Field Guide to Pacific Northwest Trees) , first insisting that I tie yarn around each one so she could wear them around her neck while exploring.

Sara and her field guides
Notice Sara’s field guide “necklace”

When she returned from a hike that included a mountain goat sighting (from afar) and mystery scat on the trail, she immediately pulled out our copy of Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest: Tracking and Identifying Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates (Timber Press Field Guides).

After noticing an almost lacy, colorful growth of fungus on a dead branch in the Mercer Slough, we knew we’d need to check our copy All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms when we got home.

Small Hand on moss beside mushrooms
This interesting mushroom is called Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor) in case you were wondering.

Whenever we notice a Varied Thrush hopping about in our huckleberry bushes or a little flock of Oregon Juncos pecking in our flower beds, Sara runs for the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Western Region.

When something attacked my pretty little coral bark maple in the night, leaving only one branch standing (the others were broken off, scattered around the base), and nibbling off much of the bark, we all studied Mammals of Washington and Oregon. (Despite our best efforts, this unfortunate tree incident remains a mystery.)

My point is, even preschoolers LOVE field guides. Similar to a matching game or a scavenger hunt, it’s no wonder they love applying their skills of observation to real life. Pair one of these guides with binoculars, a field vest, or a fun wildlife game and you’ve got an adventure in a box.

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