The California Naturalist Handbook provides a fun, science-based introduction to California's natural history with an emphasis on observation, discovery, communication, stewardship and conservation. It is a hands-on guide to learning about the natural environment of California. Subjects covered include California natural history and geology, native plants and animals, California's freshwater resources and ecosystems, forest and rangeland resources, conservation biology, and the effects of global warming on California's natural communities. The handbook also discusses how to create and use a field notebook, natural resource interpretation, citizen science, and collaborative conservation and serves as the primary text for the California Naturalist Program.
Chapter 1: Introduction to California Natural History and the World of Naturalists
The Biodiversity Crisis
A Brief History of Natural History and Naturalists
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Why Be A Naturalist?
Field Notebook: An Essential Record for Every Naturalist
General journaling practices
The Language of Naturalists
Linneaus’s classification system
Getting Out and About
Chapter 2: Geology, Climate, and Soils
Earth’s Formation and Plate Tectonics
Rocks in California
Diversity of California Microclimates
Soil Structure and Nutrients
Mining in California
Chapter 3: Water
Scaling Water: From Molecules to Our Environment
The Water Cycle
The Path of a River
California’s Freshwater Fish
California Water Management and Law
Challenges for the Future: Population Growth and Climate Change
Chapter 4: Plants
Lifestyles of Rich and Famous Plants
Parts of a Plant
Plant Communities of California
Plants and People
Native American Plant Uses
California’s Plant Communities and Climate Change
Chapter 5: Forest, Woodland, Range Resources and Management
History of California Forests and Their Management
California Forests and Wildfire
Fragmentation of Forests
Rangelands and Livestock Grazing Management
Chapter 6: Animals
Lizards and Snakes
Human Activity and Domestic and Introduced Animals
Chapter 7: Energy and Global Environmental Challenges
Forms and Sources of Energy
Forms of Energy
Sources of Energy
The Energetic Basis of Life
Energy Use by People
Global Environmental Challenges
Dead Zones, Fertilizers and Manure Management
Agriculture and Carbon Sequestration
Chapter 8: Interpretation, Communication, and Citizen Science Interpretation: Why, what and how
The Interpretive Talk
A Naturalist Walk
Communication in the Community
Greg de Nevers is a botanist and naturalist with years of experience observing nature and sharing it with others through writing and teaching. Currently, he is a high school science teacher.
Deborah Stanger Edelman co-founded the California Naturalist Program and has over 20 years experience developing resource conservation and education programs for organizations including the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and the University of California Cooperative Extension. She has an M.S. in Ecology from the University of California at Davis.
Adina Merenlender is a Cooperative Extension Specialist at University of California, Berkeley and is an internationally recognized conservation biologist working on environmental problem-solving at the landscape-scale. She has published over 75 scientific research articles focused on relationships between land use and biodiversity and is the Director of the UC California Naturalist program. More information at http://ucanr.org/sites/merenlender
"Everyone interested in creating a sustainable society should have a copy of The California Naturalist Handbook."
– Paul R. Ehrlich, co-author of The Dominant Animal
"As the stewards of our planet, now more than ever, we need to be aware of our own effects upon the natural world. I applaud this book for leading Californians in a resurgence of natural history for the 21st century."
– Todd Keeler-Wolf, co-author of A Manual of California Vegetation
"The California Naturalist Handbook helps build essential naturalist skills. Whether you are a student preparing yourself for a professional career in natural science or a self-taught nature enthusiast, this book will help you look deeper, see more, understand what you find, and ask more profound questions as you explore California."
– John Muir Laws, author of The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada
"As an instructor, I think this handbook is a wonderful reference tool to use in class or in the field. My students and I really appreciated the tips at the end of each chapter that give you opportunities to explore nature. To be honest, I used these sections to help plan field trips! This book reminds students of what makes California a brilliant place to explore and experience nature."
– Ann Wasser, Pacific Grove Natural History Museum
"The California Naturalist Handbook is the new, go-to reference for any question about the nature of the state, its energy resources, land management and environmental concerns. Not only should a copy ride in the backpack of every naturalist, science teacher and student, but the crucial information within must be consumed and passed along!"
– Rich Stallcup, author of California Traveler Birds of California
"This is a dangerous book. If you start reading it, you may find yourself having the uncontrollable desire to study the insects in your backyard, examine the rocks in a local roadcut, or look for frogs along a mountain stream. This book tells you how to do such things, in a clear, no-nonsense fashion. It will enable you to explain what you see to your friends and family, even if they are at first reluctant to hear you."
– Peter Moyle, author of Fishes: An Enthusiast's Guide
"This handbook celebrates the state's natural heritage and will guide the budding naturalist to develop valuable skills – seeing what is really there, documenting those observations, and understanding nature's interconnectedness. As the reader becomes tethered more intimately to the natural world, his or her increased ecological literacy will broaden nature's constituency, providing a critical link to our future well-being."
– Jules Evens, author of Introduction to California Birdlife
"This handbook provides any prospective natural history interpreter with an excellent summary of the unique natural diversity of the state. It's designed to foster life-long learning, sharing of information, and taking action to protect the environment. I highly recommend this handbook to any organization developing a natural resources interpretive program or to anyone desiring a good summary of California's natural history."
– Stephen Barnhart, Academic Director, Pepperwood Preserve