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Michael R. Jeffords and Susan L. Post have circled the globe – and explored their neighbourhood – collecting images of the natural world. Curious Encounters with the Natural World opens their personal cabinet of curiosities to tell the stories of the pair's most unusual encounters.
From the "necking" battles of mate-hungry giraffes to the breathtaking beauty of millions of monarch butterflies at rest, Jeffords and Post share 200 stunning photographs and their own insightful essays to guide readers on a spectacular journey. Their training as entomologists offers unique perspectives on surprise stag beetle swarms and spider hunting habits. Their photographic eye, honed by decades of observation, finds expression in once-in-a-lifetime images. The result is an eyewitness collection of startling and unusual phenomena that illuminates the diverse life inhabiting our planet.
Michael R. Jeffords is the retired education/outreach director for the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) and was staff photographer for The Illinois Steward magazine.
Susan L. Post is a retired INHS field biologist and staff writer for The Illinois Steward magazine, and author of Hiking Illinois. They are coauthors of Exploring Nature in Illinois and Illinois Wilds.
"Sitting down with this collection of tales is setting off on a series of adventures in which the reader is enticed to share vicariously one exceptional experience after another. The experiences are presented in succinct, entertaining essays and striking images – some poignant, some humorous, some bordering on the incredible, and all informative. Susan Post and Michael Jeffords speak from decades of professional experience and a lifelong passion for natural history that has endowed them with an exceptional receptiveness for nature's curious events, those events rarely witnessed and those that often pass unnoticed and unappreciated."
– James B. Nardi, author of Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners
"Michael Jeffords's and Susan Post's book is unique in its rich compilation of entertaining narratives and beautiful photographs of natural history phenomena across the world. Their beautiful descriptions of the adaptations and behaviors of creatures large and small incorporate important issues such as invasion of exotic species, extinction, environmental change, and habitat destruction and will inspire others to look more closely at the natural world."
– Bonnie Styles, Director Emeritus, Illinois State Museum System