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California's San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys and the nearby Sierra Nevada Foothills are host to abundant, varied, and often surprising plants and wildlife. This fully illustrated guide pairs over seven hundred meticulous line drawings with descriptions of the birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, invertebrates, plants, and fungi that make the Central Valley and Foothill Regions their home. Like a ranger-led nature walk, each species receives a lively overview; readers will learn about freshwater jellyfish, mushrooms that decompose railroad ties, handstanding spotted skunks, salt-shedding pickleweed – not to mention insects. Every write-up not only contains fun facts but also conveys a sense of the complex connections and interactions that sustain life in a unique place. Previously published as Magpies and Mayflies (Heyday, 2005), The Naturalist's Illustrated Guide to the Sierra Foothills and Central Valley features an attractive new cover, updated scientific and common names, and a full interior redesign.
Derek Madden is a professor of biology at Modesto Junior College. He is best known for his discovery of a new species of parasite, and for his work on African ants and giraffe. Madden spent nearly ten years roaming roadsides and habitats of Central California, often illustrating wildlife as cars rushed by, or under intense summer sun or in the rain and fog, to document the life of California’s “Outback” region.
Ecologist Ken Charters has documented the natural history of California for over two decades. He completed his graduate work in ecology at Northern Arizona University.
Erinn Madden graduated with a degree in biology from the University of California, Davis, and has spent nearly a decade studying local ecology and animal movements through tropical ecosystems. He is currently a biological technician in Davis, California.
"A stunning work of wonder and beauty that will delight every naturalist, this guide presents the subtle and grand spectacles of nature throughout the central valley and foothills. Scan through the precise and lively illustrations to find plants and animals you have seen but never known, then follow the text for fascinating insights, curious details, context, and backstory. Every page opens a new window into a world worth saving."
– John Muir Laws