Recommendations From The Board of Directors

We’re a month into spring now, how is everybody enjoying (or not enjoying) the warmer weather? While it may still vary fairly wildly, the warmer temperatures are a great incentive for most people to get out and go for a hike! If you’d prefer to just rest in a nice park or along a pretty trail though, we have you covered with the perfect activity for doing so, reading! For this month’s blog, we asked a few members of our Board and our executive director for their best environmentally- themed book recommendations and compiled them here.

Of course, if you have any recommendations yourself, do let us know as well! It’s hard to go particularly wrong with a book recommendation.

To start, Board member Elina Alayeva had two recommendations to share with us that were so detailed that we’d feel bad offering you anything but her direct quotes!

The Overstory, by Richard Powers.

“It’s an incredibly ambitious novel and a deeply moving exploration of the interconnectedness of all living things, particularly trees. It tells the story of nine characters whose lives are all profoundly affected by trees, whether they know it or not. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, and the book is both informative and emotionally resonant. Reading it outside in the spring will only deepen an appreciation for the natural world and the complex web of life that sustains us all.”

An American Sunrise, by Joy Harjo.

“A poetry collection by Joy Harjo. Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and the first Indigenous Poet Laureate of the United States, writes emotionally resonant poetry often touching on her heritage. This collection explores themes of history, memory, and resilience, as she reflects on her own family history and the history of Indigenous people in America. It’s a lovely celebration of the natural world and a reminder about the power of storytelling.”

Next up, was a recommendation from Board member Suzanne Ruggles.

“Profound interactions between people and nature … perfectly written.. my favorite page turner.”

Suzanne recommends Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver, an anthology of stories about people who share the same land, and how that land affects and changes them, and their relationships. The book connects themes of the human spirit and of nature, to create a story that stands tall even among its contemporaries.

Our third Board member to offer a recommendation this month is Nina Leonhardt. Nina recommends Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, by Carl Safina.

“This wonderful volume explores animal intelligence, communications and feelings from the perspective of the animal, rather than trying to define how animals are similar to us. Each species should be valued and appreciated for its traits and understood in those terms.”

Next, Board member John Turner offered an in-depth review of An Immense World, by Edward Yong.

“One of the best books I’ve ever read. It highlights the countless sensory adaptations possessed by animals such as echolocation in bats, bloodhounds’ sense of smell, elephants’ use of infrasound, and birds and insects seeing ultraviolet light. The book makes clear we live in a remarkable world filled with wonder……I would HIGHLY recommend the book. “

Mr. Turner also wrote an even lengthier review of the book to be featured in TBR Media’s “Nature Matters” section later this month.

Finally, no list of book recommendations from the Society would be complete without the first publication from our own executive director, “Saving Long Island: The David and Goliath Battle to Preserve the Pine Barrens”. Written by Richard Amper, this book describes the long road from the founding of the LIPBS to the passage of the Pine Barrens Protection Act. Called an “Essential reading for Long Islanders” by its author, this book is a must not just for conservationists, but for anybody looking to learn more about what it takes to protect even the smallest park.

We hope you’ll take some time this spring to get out and get reading while the weather is still nice, though keep an eye out for those April showers!


By Andrew Wong, Long Island Pine Barrens Society

Cover Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash