Resource Building - Approved Candidate Book List

Yes, if you move you can pick up new books when you move (so maybe save the other five for then). We are pretty flexible with those kinds of things.


I live in South Florida in Palm Beach County, very suburban. My approved books are:

  1. Amphibians and Reptiles of Florida by Kenneth Krysko (1683400445)
  2. Florida’s Fossils by Robin Brown (1561645710)
  3. Florida’s Living Beaches by Blair Witherington (1561649813)
  4. Florida’s Seashells by Blair Wirthington (1561649821)
  5. Florida Weather and Climate: More Than Just Sunshine by Jennifer Collins (‎0813064287)
  6. Marine Fishes of Florida by David Buckley (142141872X)
  7. The Nature of Florida: An Introduction to Familiar Plants, Animals & Outstanding Natural Attractions by James Kavanagh (‎9781583553022)
  8. The Palmetto Book: Histories and Mysteries of the Cabbage Palm by Jono Miller (‎0813066808)
  9. River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (‎1561649902)
  10. Seashore Plants of South Florida and the Caribbean by David Nellis (1561640565)
  11. Smithsonian Handbooks: Birds of Florida by DK (‎ 0789483874)
  12. South Florida Trees: A Field Guide by Bill Buckley (‎0990676900)

I live in Franklin County, Ohio in the city. The city of Columbus is south of the continental divide in the state, has no lake effect, was not part of the Great Black Swamp, and is too far north to be the Appalachian foothills. The county is Eastern Corn Belt Plains (Loamy, High Lime Till Plains).

  • The Ohio Nature Almanac (Ostrander, Stephen)
  • Fossils of Ohio (Ohio Division of Geological Survey)
  • Mushrooms and Macrofungi of Ohio and the Midwestern States (Rhodes, Landon H)
  • In Ohio Woods & Fields (Thomas, Edward Sinclair) A collection of the writer’s nature columns which appeared in the Columbus Dispatch over the course of six decades.
  • Natural Wonders of Ohio (Groene, Gordon) Highlights more than 50 unspoiled state and national parks, forests, and reserves within Ohio. It includes all the information needed to find, explore, and enjoy these treasures.
  • Idle Weeds (Wallace, David Rains) Life of a Sandstone Ridge, this is a fictional narrative written by a longtime local naturalist which is an amalgamation of Columbus Metroparks locations, their nature, and their urban pressures.
  • Moods of the Ohio Moons (Gilfillan, Merrill C) Twelve essays, one for each month, relate incidents and events, weather, diagnostic events, vegetation an wildlife, agriculture, trends of land use, and the wild harvest that contribute to the mood of the time.
  • Worth noting that these might not count for the books but are very helpful and free: ODNR Field Guides, free for download but you can pick up physical prints for free at many park and rec locations around the state. Really nice quality guides, easy to carry around.

The rest of my choices were larger scale ID guides. Over time I hope to read books about the many Ancient Earthworks found in the state, as well.

***I completely forgot a huge deposit of information for the state which is the Ohio Biological Survey! A lot of these publications are extremely niche and very dry to read, but the information is VERY good. So if you can find a topic that interests you, it’s well worth it. They just published a reptiles guide for the state in 2021, for example.


I am in Northern Illinois and these are the books that have been approved for me:

  1. Birds of Illinois Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
  2. Trees of Illinois by Stan Tekiela
  3. The Natural Heritage of Illinois - Essays on its Lands, Waters, Flora and Fauna by John E. Schwegman
  4. Prairie Plants of Illinois: A Field Guide to the Wildflowers and Prairie Grasses of Illinois and the Midwest by Steve W. Chadde
  5. Common Backyard Weeds of the Upper Midwest by Teresa Marrone
  6. The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carrill
  7. Way of the Coyote by Gavin Van Horn
  8. Geology Underfoot in Illinois by Raymond Wiggers
  9. ABA Field Guide to Birds of Illinois by Michael L. P. Retter
  10. Trees of Illinois: Including Tall Shrubs by Linda Kershaw
  11. Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest: A Simple Guide to Common Mushrooms by Teresa Merrone and Kathy Yerich
  12. Native Plants of the Midwest by Alan Branhagen

I live in suburban St. Louis, MO, on the Missouri side of the river. Here is a list of books that includes the ones that were approved for my Candidacy several years ago, plus others that are also suitable that I’ve read since then.

Specific to St. Louis

Common Fields: An Environmental History of St. Louis, edited by Andrew Hurley (MO Historical Society Press, 1997); the essay on pp. 13-38 is the best one for Candidate study

Books on various aspects of the natural world

The Terrestrial Natural Communities of Missouri, by Paul W. Nelson, revised edition (MO Dept. of Natural Resources, 2005)

Discover Missouri Natural Areas: A Guide to 50 Great Places, by Michael Leahy (MO Dept. of Conservation, 2011)

Missouri Landscapes: A Tour Through Time, by Jon L. Hawker (MO Dept. of Natural Resources, 1992)

The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook, eds. Stephen Packard and Cornelia F. Mutel (Island Press, 1997)

Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, by Thomas R. Beveridge (MO Dept. of Natural Resources, 1980)

Missouri Geology: Three Billion Years of Volcanoes, Seas, Sediments, and Erosion, by A. G. Unklesbay and Jerry D. Vineyard (Univ. of Missouri Press, 1992)

Springs of Missouri, by Jerry D. Vineyard and Gerald L. Feder (MO Dept. of Natural Resources, 1982)

Voices of Missouri’s Rivers, by William Turner (MO Dept. of Conservation, 2014)

When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes, by Jay Feldman (Simon and Schuster, 2005)

Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit, by Andrew Moore (Chelsea Green, 2015)

Field guides

Shrubs and Woody Vines of Missouri, by Don Kurz (MO Dept. of Conservation, 1997)

Trees of Missouri, by Don Kurz (MO Dept. of Conservation, 2003)

Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers: A Field Guide, by Doug Ladd (Globe Pequot Press, 1995)

The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri, 2nd edition, by Tom R. Johnson (MO Dept. of Conservation, 2006)

Birds in Missouri, by Brad Jacobs (MO Dept. of Conservation, 2003)

Missouri Wildflowers, by Edgar Denison, 6th edition

A Guide to Missouri’s Crayfishes, by Chris Riggert (MO Dept. of Conservation, 2016)

A Guide to Missouri’s Freshwater Mussels, by Stephen E. McMurray et al (MO Dept. of Conservation, 2012)

The Wild Mammals of Missouri, by Charles W. Schwartz and Elizabeth R. Schwartz, 3rd revised edition edited by Debby K. Fantz and Victoria L. Jackson (Univ. of MO Press and MO Dept. of Conservation, 2016)


Awesome! Thanks. I’ve got quite the list growing and it’s great to see.

This thread feels a little like placing the pin the the map tradition :pushpin: :world_map:


That would be a neat little image for the webpage. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I start work on that lol. It’s a fun idea - thank you!

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It has been a few years, but these were mine. I live in northeast Kansas.

Oceans of Kansas by Everheart, Michael
The Last Wild Places of Kansas by Frazier, George
The Nature of Kansas Lands by Beverly Worster
Konza Prairie: A Tallgrass Natural History by Reichmann, OJ
The Forest Habitat of the University of Kansas Natural History Reservation by Henry Fitch
The University of Kansas Natural History Reservation by Henry Fitch
Natural Kansas by Joseph T. Collins
A Kansas Year by Michael Blair
Prairie Fire: A Great Plains History by Julie Courtwright
Grassland Dynamics: Long-term Ecological Research in Tallgrass Prairie by Knapp, Alan


This was my reading list for the Chesapeake Bay region generally, and the Delmarva Peninsula coastal plains more specifically.

  1. Between Ocean and Bay: A Natural History of Delmarva by Jane Scott

  2. Shifting Baselines in the Chesapeake Bay by Victor Kennedy

  3. Natural History of Delmarva: Dragonflies and Damselflies by Hal White

  4. Life in the Chesapeake Bay by Alice and Robert Lippson

  5. Maryland’s Geology by Martin Schmidt

  6. The Great Marsh by David Harp

  7. Chesapeake Bay Nature of the Estuary: A Field Guide by Christopher White

  8. Naturalist on the Nanticoke by Robert Hedeen

  9. Birds of Maryland and Delaware by Stan Tekiela


I live in Northeast Ohio near Cleveland. I started as a candidate in a suburban setting in the Erie/Ontario Lake Plain (83a) and have since moved a short distance to woodlands in the Erie Gorges (61d)

  • Thunder in the heartland: a chronicle of outstanding weather events in Ohio
    Schmidlin, Thomas W., Schmidlin, Jeanne Appelhans
  • Roadside Geology of Ohio
    Camp, Mark J
  • Birds of Ohio
    McCormac, Jim, Kennedy, Gregory
  • Animals of Ohio’s pond and vernal pools
    Fitzsimmons, David
  • Trees of Ohio: Field Guide
    Tekeiela, Stan
  • Eastern Deciduous Forest, Second Edition: Ecology and Wildlife Conservation
    Yahner, Richard H
  • The Book of Field and Roadside: Open-Country Weeds, Trees, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America
    Eastman, John
  • The Book of Forest & Thicket: Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America
    Eastman, John
  • The Book of Swamp & Bog: Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers of Eastern Freshwater Wetlands
    Eastman, John

Most of the books are Ohio-specific, but the ones by Yahner and Eastman cover the much wider Eastern Temperate Forest ecoregion. I’m expecting to have to tweak my reading list since a few of the books were selected based off availability at my previous library. Pretty sure A. B. Williams’ Study of a Beech-Maple Climax Community will make an appearance since that took place just down the road, but I haven’t submitted that or any other changes for approval yet.


Those are still useful if they were approved for your studies. It would allow another member in the same bioregion to see what other options were approved. If you wouldn’t mind, would you share those as well?


Thank you and I hope you dont mind me borrowing a few titles. I didnt know there was another close to me. Im in the Blackland Prairies/Crosstimbers region right at the heartland juncture of Texas. Everything I try to google in my region on ecology brings up the Branch Davidians and David Koresh. I have struggled with finding the books I need for my candidate degrees. A warm greeting I extend to you sister of Earth.

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Regarding the Tidal zones and Marine Environment of the Puget Sound / Salish Sea / Western Washington:

Sorry for the late entry, I have been resisting adding these because they are old and the ecosystem is collapsing, so reading them made me cry a bunch, but the books have been approved:

Marine Wildlife of Puget Sound, the San Juan’s, and the Strait of Georgia by Steve Yates.
This book is organized by species.

Seashore life of Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia and the San Juan Archipelago by Kozloff.
This book is organized by type of environment not by species.

SeaLife of the Northern Pacific Coast, also by Kozloff plus, has color plates.
That’s always a win. This text is also organized by zone.


I am in the foothills of the Cascades in SW Washington (4a Western Cascades Lowlands and Valleys). this list was approved:

1.	Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest Moscowitz
2.	A Field Guide to the Cascades & Olympics Stephen R. Whitney
3.	Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest Trudell and Ammirati
4.	Northwest Trees Stephen Arno & Ramona Hammerly
5.	California and Pacific Northwest Forests (Peterson Field Guide) John Kricher & Gordon Morrison
6.	Insects of the Pacific Northwest Haggard and Haggard
7.	The Restless Northwest: A Geological Story Williams
8.	Pacific Northwest Weather Miller
9.	A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia Hardin

I’m from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed between the Bay and the Appalachian Mountains in Maryland. SO this is the resources I got approved:
Adkins, L.M. Nature of the Appalachian Trail: Your Guide to Wildlife, Plants, and Geology. AdventureKEEN, 2021. Nature of the Appalachian Trail: Your Guide to Wildlife, Plants, and Geology - Leonard M. Adkins - Google Books.

Adkins, L.M., J. Cook, and M. Sheppard. Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail. Menasha Ridge Press, 2017. Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail - Leonard M. Adkins - Google Books.

Browne, R.A. The Appalachian Trail: History, Humanity, and Ecology. Library Partners Press, 2015. The Appalachian Trail: History, Humanity, and Ecology - Robert A. Browne - Google Books.

Choukas-Bradley, M., and T.T. Brown. An Illustrated Guide to Eastern Woodland Wildflowers and Trees: 350 Plants Observed at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland. Center Books. University of Virginia Press, 2004. An Illustrated Guide to Eastern Woodland Wildflowers and Trees: 350 Plants ... - Melanie Choukas-Bradley - Google Books.

Davison, S.G., and S.G. Davison. Chesapeake Waters: Four Centuries of Controversy, Concern, and Legislation. Tidewater Publishers, 1997. Chesapeake Waters: Four Centuries of Controversy, Concern, and Legislation - Steven G. Davison, Steven Gebauer Davison - Google Books.

Fergus, C., and A. Hansen. Wildlife of Virginia and Maryland and Washington, D.C. Stackpole Books, 2003. Wildlife of Virginia and Maryland and Washington, D.C. - Charles Fergus - Google Books.

MacKay, B. A Year Across Maryland: A Week-by-Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the Chesapeake Region. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013. A Year Across Maryland: A Week-by-Week Guide to Discovering Nature in the ... - Bryan MacKay - Google Books.

Vojtech, P. Chesapeake Wildlife: Stories of Survival and Loss. Tidewater Publishers, 2001. Chesapeake Wildlife: Stories of Survival and Loss - Google Books.

Weidensaul, S. Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians. Fulcrum Publishing, 2016. Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians - Scott Weidensaul - Google Books.


Oh yay, someone else here in Maryland! I need to save this post.

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I highly recommend the one about dragonflies!


I live in Colorado Springs, CO right in the foothills up against Pikes Peak. My ecoregion is the Southwestern Tablelands - Foothill Grasslands!

  1. Ice, Fire, and Nutcrackers: A Rocky Mountain Ecology by George Constantz
  2. Colorado Weather Almanac by Mike Nelson
  3. The Nature of Colorado: An Introduction to Familiar Plants, Animals and Outstanding Natural Attractions by James Kavanagh and Raymond Leung
  4. The Geology, Ecology, and Human History of the San Luis Valley by Jared M. Beeton, Charles N. Saenz, and Benjamin J. Waddell
  5. Geology of Colorado Illustrated by Dell R. Foutz, Ph.D
  6. Birds of Colorado Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
  7. Plants of the Rocky Mountains by Linda Kershaw, Jim Pojar, and Andy MacKinnon
  8. Messages in Stone: Colorado’s Colorful Geology by Vincent Matthews
  9. Fish of Colorado Field Guide by Dan Johnson
  10. Medicinal Plants of the Western Mountain States by Charles W. Kane
  11. 437 Edible Wild Plants of the Rocky Mountain West: Berries, Roots, Nuts, Greens, Flowers, and Seeds by Caleb Warnock
  12. Ancient Denvers: Scenes from the Past 300 Million Years of the Colorado Front Range by Kirk R. Johnson

It’s really useful to see the lists, even for regions that are totally different than mine. I’m especially excited to see that folks have gotten books on edible plants approved. I wasn’t use if using the reading list to tip-toe towards building some foraging skills was too human-centric for to use in the curriculum.