Nature Journal is an innovative presentation of the best columns and photographs from L. J. Davenport's popular column in Alabama Heritage magazine. Readers of the magazine have come to relish his artful and often witty descriptions of common species encountered in the Alabama outdoors. But Nature Journal is designed to be much more than a mere collection of entertaining essays; it is also an educational tool – a means of instructing and encouraging readers in the art of keeping a nature journal for themselves.
Each of the 25 chapters is a self-contained lesson in close observation of species morphology, behavior, and habitat; research in the literature; nondestructive capture of the subject by photography or drawing; and written description of the total observed natural phenomenon. At the end of each account, stimulating questions and gentle directives guide the reader into making his or her own observations and recordings.
Nature Journal is intended for broad nature-study use in Alabama and throughout the southeast by the general reader and nature enthusiast alike, as well as visitors to museums and outdoor centers, and students of nature and nature writing at the high school and college levels. Beautifully designed to look like a personal journal, it is a perfect gift and treasured keepsake for all lovers of the natural world.
L. J. Davenport is Professor of Biology and Director of the Vulcan Materials Center for Environmental Stewardship and Education at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama. In 2007, he was selected as the Carnegie Foundation Alabama Professor of the Year.
John C. Hall is Curator of the Black Belt Museum, University of West Alabama, Livingston, Alabama, and former Director of Interpretation at The University of Alabama Museum of Natural History. He is coauthor of Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers with Beth Maynor Young.
"Larry Davenport's stories are testament to the personal musings and anecdotes of a field biologist having fun exploring the natural world [...] The book is a good fit for use with Discovering Alabama's acclaimed model K-12 science and social sciences instructional program, Discovering Our Heritage."
– Doug Phillips, Environmental Educator
"The range of topics from fungi, insects, fish, and spiders to birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and mollusks, should attract a wide readership among nature enthusiasts. Davenport's style of writing is such that the essays are simply a pleasure to read, never mind that you actually learn something about nature in the process."
– Paul G. Davison, University of North Alabama
"Larry Davenport is an excellent writer who possesses a talent for tackling extraordinarily complex scientific concepts and molding them in a way that all can enjoy without using the burdensome language that commonly accompanies such topics. This book is a great example of Davenport's gift. The versatility of each journal entry transitions from his deeply personal experiences to more light-hearted to downright hilarious (laugh-out-loud) moments."
– Brian Keener, University of West Alabama