Nature & Environment
Explore how sustainability creates a connection between our communities and the natural world that sustains us.

Homemade Bird Suet

Make your own suet cakes to keep your birds fat and happy throughout the winter.

Planting Living Fencerows

Fencerows and hedgerows not only demark property boundaries and help keep livestock contained, but they also provide important habitat to many species.

Thousands of articles. Infinite inspiration. Browse all Nature & Environment articles.

Essential Reading

Keystone Species: How Predators Create Abundance and Stability 
Wolves, bears, otters, starfish — these ecosystem engineers affect nature in overt yet surprisingly subtle ways.

This Land Is Your Land: Why National Parks Matter
Our national parks are public treasures that provide more than a window to our past or a means to preserve the natural bounty within them. They’re some of the most beautiful places on Earth, where you can rekindle your sense of awe and adventure.

Why We Need Wilderness 
During a nearly 60-year career, Pulitzer-Prize winner Wallace Stegner, known as the Dean of Western Writers, wrote eloquently about the value of wild places.

Raptors, the Sky Masters 
Eagles, hawks and falcons: From their awesome aeronautics to their precise predatory instincts, these birds are the pinnacle of flight.

Brain Birds: Amazing Crows and Ravens 
No matter where you live, they’re your neighbors. You might want to watch them — carefully.

Barn Owl Magic 
Beautiful and mysterious, barn owls also are prolific predators of rodents.

Fireflies: The Twinkle in Nature's Eye  
Fireflies bring magic to warm summer evenings.

Featured Video

Tips for Getting Started in Beekeeping

Shopping

APPLES OF NORTH AMERICA

Beyond the polished and predictable grocery store display of Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples, a veritable treasure trove of beautiful and uniquely flavored North American varieties awaits the curious. Up for discovery is a fruit with striking watermelon-colored flesh; a prized cider maker with a rough, russet texture and deep historical roots; an apple that tastes "tart as an unripe persimmon"; and the lost-and-found plight of countless more. Names like Smokehouse and Wolf River even evoke other times and places. These fascinating, unfamiliar apples are poised to become new favorites and banish our apple tunnel vision forever.

There is no better person to bring you into this world than Tom Burford: apple enthusiast, propagator, and savior. His stories of this rich apple culture span generations (the Burford family has produced fruit in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia since 1715) and follow the apple's waves of popularity in America. The book is brimming with beautiful portraits of heirloom and modern apples of merit, each accompanied by distinguishing characteristics and common uses. As the view broadens to the orchard, you will find information on planting, pruning, grafting and more. The exploration of the apple culminates with an overview of the fruit's transformative capabilities when pressed, fermented, cooked or dried.

This wonderful reference will encourage you to seek out new flavors and give the apple the respect it deserves. It may even inspire you to carve out the space for an orchard of your own.

$29.95

PIG TALES

Pig Tales provides an eye-opening investigation of the commercial pork industry and presents an inspiring alternative to the way pigs are raised and consumed in America.

Barry Estabrook, author of the best-selling Tomatoland and a writer of “great skill and compassion” (Eric Schlosser), now explores the dark side of the American pork industry. Drawing on his personal experiences raising pigs as well as his sharp investigative instincts, Estabrook covers the range of the human-porcine experience. He embarks on nocturnal feral pig hunts in Texas. He visits farmers who raise animals in vast confinement barns for Smithfield and Tyson, two of the country’s biggest pork producers. And he describes the threat of infectious disease and the possible contamination of our food supply. Through these stories shines Estabrook’s abiding love for these remarkable creatures. Pigs are social, self-aware and playful … not to mention smart enough to master the typical house dog commands of “sit, stay, come” twice as fast as your average pooch. With the cognitive abilities of at least 3-year-olds, they can even learn to operate a modified computer. Unfortunately for the pigs, they’re also delicious to eat.

Estabrook shows how these creatures are all too often subjected to lives of suffering in confinement and squalor, sustained on a drug-laced diet just long enough to reach slaughter weight, then killed on mechanized disassembly lines. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Pig Tales presents a lively portrait of those farmers who are taking an alternative approach, such as one Danish producer that has a far more eco-friendly and humane system of pork production, and new, small family farms with free-range heritage pigs raised on antibiotic-free diets. It’s possible to raise pigs responsibly and respectfully in a way that is good for producers, consumers, and some of the top chefs in America.

Provocative, witty and deeply informed, Pig Tales is bound to spark conversation at dinner tables across America.

$26.95

CONSULTING THE GENIUS OF THE PLACE

Locavore leaders such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver all speak of the need for sweeping changes in how we get our food. A longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who for decades has taken it upon himself to speak for the land, to speak for the soil itself. Here, he offers a manifesto toward a conceptual revolution: Jackson asks us to look to natural ecosystems—or, if one prefers, nature in general—as the measure against which we judge all of our agricultural practices.

Jackson believes the time is right to do away with annual monoculture grains, which are vulnerable to national security threats and are partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs. Soil erosion and the poisons polluting our water and air—all associated with agriculture from its beginnings—foretell a population with its natural fertility greatly destroyed.

In this eloquent and timely volume, Jackson argues we must look to nature itself to lead us out of the mess we’ve made. The natural ecosystems will tell us, if we listen, what should happen to the future of food.

$22.95

HOMEMADE FOR SALE

From farm-to-fork and "Buy Local" to slow food and handmade artisan breads, real food (made with real ingredients by real people) is in increasing demand. Cottage food laws in the United States have been passed in many states, although they vary in regulation from state to state.* Finally, "homemade" and "fresh from the oven" on the package can mean exactly what it says.

Homemade for Sale is the first authoritative guide to conceiving and launching your own home-based food startup. Packed with profiles of successful cottage food entrepreneurs, this comprehensive and accessible resource covers everything you need to get cooking for your customers, creating items that by their very nature are specialized and unique. Topics covered include:

  • Product development and testing
  • Marketing and developing your niche
  • Structuring your business and planning for the future
  • Managing liability, risk, and government regulations
You can join a growing movement of entrepreneurs starting small food businesses from their home. No capital needed, just good recipes, enthusiasm and commitment … plus enough know-how to turn fresh ingredients into sought-after treats for your local community. Everything required is probably already in your home kitchen. Best of all, you can start tomorrow!

*We recommend checking your state’s laws before starting a home-based food business. Also, we are not aware of any laws that authorize home-based food businesses in Canada.

$22.95

HEMP BOUND

The stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: Its fibers are among the planet's strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped. Its one downside? For nearly a century, it's been illegal to grow industrial cannabis in the United States … even though Betsy Ross wove the nation's first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on it, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. But as the prohibition on hemp's psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity's longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry.

In Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, best-selling author Doug Fine embarks on a humorous yet rigorous journey to meet the men and women who are testing, researching and pioneering hemp's applications for the 21st century. From Denver, where Fine hitches a ride in a hemp-powered limo; to Asheville, N.C., where carbon-negative hempcrete-insulated houses are sparking a mini housing boom; to Manitoba, where he raps his knuckles on the hood of a hemp tractor; and finally to the fields of east Colorado, where practical farmers are looking toward hemp to restore their agricultural economy … Fine learns how eminently possible it is for this misunderstood plant to help us end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged after a century of growing monocultures, and bring even more taxable revenue into the economy than its smokable relative.

Fine's journey will not only leave you wondering why we ever stopped cultivating this miracle crop, it will fire you up to sow a field of it for yourself, for the nation's economy, and for the planet.

$14.95