Resource Building - Approved Candidate Book List

Edit: I’m from southern CA/ the central coast.

  1. The State of Water: Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource (by Obi Kaufmann)
  2. The Nature of California: An Introduction to Familiar Plants, Animals & Outstanding Natural Attractions (by James Kavanaugh)
  3. Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature in and Around Los Angeles (by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)
  4. Assembling California (By John McPhee)
  5. Geology Underfoot in Southern California (by Arthur Sylvester & Robert Sharp)
  6. Introduction to the Plant Life of Southern California: Coast to Foothills (By Philip Rundel & Robert J. Gustafson)
  7. California Foraging: 120 Wild and Favorite Edibles from Evergreen Huckleberries to Wild Ginger (by Judith Larner Lowry)
  8. Introduction to Fire in California (by David Carle)
  9. The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees (by Douglas W. Tallamy)
  10. Islands Through Time: A Human and Ecological History of California’s Northern Channel Islands (by Todd Braje et al.)

I live in Utah which falls into multiple keyords such as intermountain West, Great Basin, and Southwest Deserts. These were the books that were approved for me.

  1. A Peterson Field Guide To Western Medicinal Plants And Herbs (Peterson Field Guides)

  2. Desert Ecology by John B Sowell

  3. Roadside Geology of UtahRoadside Geology of Utah by Felicie Williams

  4. Birds of Utah Field GuideBirds of Utah Field Guide by Stan Tekiela

  5. T. H. Watkins

The Redrock Chronicles: Saving Wild Utah (Center Books on Space, Place, and Time


  1. Gwendolyn L Waring

A Natural History of the Intermountain West: Its Ecological and Evolutionary Story

  1. Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Rockies by Linda Kershaw

  2. Great Basin: The Story Behind the Scenery by Michael L. Nicklas

  3. The Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin by Stephen Trimble


I agree, it’s nice to see all the different books people are reading. I’m going to add a few to my reading lists just because they sound interesting!


What I always tell people with the foraging books is that a lot of it is going to depend on the book. Some foraging books are about the plants themselves (identifying them, where they grow, how they work within that system). That is good. Some foraging books are more about harvesting and preparation. That doesn’t fit the requirement. So, depending on what I can see in samples of the book, I sort of approve them with the caveat that the person might need to look for something else if it essentially turns out to be a cookbook.


I live in the Cumberland Mountains eco-region of the South Central Appalachians in East Tennessee. Our most significant geological feature is probably the Cumberland Gap. I’ve had trouble finding books, but I have found a number of web sites with useful information, especially the Cumberland Gap National Park and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Watchable Wildlife sites. (I did not submit the web sites for approval, but I do intend to use them as a supplement.)

Approved Earth Path Book List

Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Tennessee Mountains
Vernon and Cathy Summerlin
Natural Histories: Stories of the Tennessee Valley
Stephen Lyn Bales
The Historic Cumberland Plateau: An Explorer’s Guide
Russ Manning
Appalachian Genesis: The Clinch River Valley from Prehistoric Times to the End of the Frontier Era
Richard Lee Fulgham
Through the Mountains: The French Broad River and Time
John Ross
The All-Season Pocket Guide to Identifying Common Tennessee Trees
Michael D. Williams
Identifying Oak Trees Native to Tennessee [] and Identifying Hickory and Walnut Trees Native to Tennessee []
University of Tennessee Extension (These are two shorter online resources.)
Birds of Tennessee - Stan Tekiela
The Last Billion Years: A Geologic History of Tennessee - Don W. Byerly


I live in Delaware County, PA in the western Philadelphia suburbs. I found all of these books helpful.

  1. Meyer, Briger, and Barnard, Philadelphia Trees, 2017. A field guide to native and exotic species in the Delaware Valley with a section for visiting exceptional trees in Philadelphia itself. It includes a guide to the locations notable trees in our area.

  2. Doug Tallamy. Bringing Nature Home, 2009. Tallamy wrote one of the seminal popular works explaining the critical links between native plants, insects, animals and environmental health. Most of the research and images for the book come from on his land in Delaware, about 15 miles from my home. The detailed discussions of tree and insect species provide necessary context for nature studies.

  3. Alderfer*. Pennsylvania Field Guide to Birds*, 2006. and Walton. Birding by Ear (CD), Eastern/ Central, 2002. Together the book and CD helped me learn to identify birds in our local area.

  4. Harding. Meadow, Marsh and Mountain, 1986. Harding collected a series of walking tours of natural areas from the Delaware Water Gap to the Atlantic Ocean. Each essay-tour specifies the time of year and the trail to visit and records specific locations for plants and animals that were observed there in the late 1980s.

  5. Feinstein. Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, 2011. While not strictly focuses on Southeast Pennsylvania, Feinstein’s guide gives detailed accounts of birds, mammals and insects most likely to be found in urban and suburban lands. She offers important insights into the wildness that exists, often invisibly, side by side with our daily lives.

  6. Nardi. Life in the Soil, 2007. Like Feinstein, Nardi writes about the soil web over a broad geographic area. Unfortunately well written popular texts on the soil web are few and far between and highly localized books do not exist. Nardi’s work provides a helpful structure for beginning to directly observe the earth in my own land.

  7. Pretor-Pinny. Cloud Collector’s Handbook, 2011. Pretor-Pinny’s highly readable Cloud Spotter’s Handbook places clouds in a human as well as a scientific context. The sequel Cloud Collector’s Handbook, is a field guide to clouds focusing more closely on identifying and understanding the significance of clouds and identifiers of weather patterns.

  8. Geology of the Piedmont of Southeast Pennsylvania: Guidebook for the 39th Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists, 1974. This book is held by Bryn Mawr College Library and is the field trip guide for the conference. It was challenging to read as a layman, but it focused precisely on the geology of Delaware County and was worth the struggle.


Thank you very much for your list of Approved Candidate Books. They will be most helpful! :star_struck:

@lilwolf thank you for starting this topic, and for starting to put together a list of Candidate books to consider. It is a bit daunting to figure out books to get started as a Candidate initiate.

I’ve lived all over the world I’ve lived in eight states including San Francisco Bay area, Eugene oregon, Las vegas, Washington DC, Virginia and Ohio. So my relationship to the land is ever changing, because where I live is ever changing.

The list of books everyone is sharing on this thread is really helping me figure out which books to put forth when I begin my candidate studies. I’m just finishing up my Bardic grade with OBOD and plan to do a deep dive into AODA Bardic level next.


My region is the Sacramento Valley, California

Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California
David Alt and Donald W. Hindmam

River City and Valley Life: An Environmental History of the Sacramento Region
Christopher J. Castaneda

An Introduction to Northern California Birds
Herbert Clarke

Birds of Northern California
David Fix and Andy Bezener

The Sacramento: A Transcendent River
Bob Madgic and Walt Simmons

Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals Among California’s Oaks.
Kate Marianchild

Seasonal Guide to the Natural Year: A Month by Month Guide to Natural Events (Northern California)
Bill McMillon

Foraging California: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods in California
Christopher Nyerges

The Drought-Defying California Garden: 230 Native Plants for a Lush, Low-Water Lanscape
Greg Rubin and Lucy Warren


Hi, everyone,

I live in south-central Oregon where the Great Basin and the East Cascades rub up against each other, and are only 15 miles from CA and about 30 (as the crow flies) from NV. Here’s what I’ve gotten approved so far:

  1. In Search of Ancient Oregon: a Geological and Natural History by Ellen Morris Bishop.
  2. Sagebrush Ocean: a Natural History of the Great Basin by Stephen Trimble.
    (I particularly appreciate how Trimble brings in literary quotes and lets his own love of the high desert shine in this one. And the beautiful photos. This is one of a whole series of Great Basin natural history titles University of Nevada Reno did in the 80s and 90s.)
  3. A Natural History of the Intermountain West by Gwendolyn Waring.
  4. Wildlife-Habitat Relationships in Washington and Oregon by David H. Johnson.
  5. The “Natural History” sections of Oregon’s Dry Side by Alan D. St. John and Remote Wonders: An Explorer’s Guide to Southeast Oregon by Melvin R. Adams. (184 total pages)

I only submitted 5 in my Candidate application because I wanted to see where my interests took me after working through some of these overview-type titles.

If anybody out there has some great East Cascades focused titles or titles with a good East Cascades section inside it, I am all ears. Or is it all eyes?


Thanks for posting these. I’m working on putting together my plan for my book list and some of these may fit with my bioregion! :smile:

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I’m in MA too! We should compare notes :smiley: I checked like 20 books out of the library and now I need to figure out which 9 I actually want to read :sweat_smile:


Would love to! Library is a good idea! Were you able to find local ones? Alot of what I was seeing was broader like Northeast etc

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Yeah, a few! I’m in the CT River Valley so I’m committed to reading Dinosaurs, Dunes, and Drifting Continents by Richard D. Little even though, from the little I’ve skimmed it so far, his writing style is…quirky. Here’s some MA specific ones I’ve picked up (but haven’t looked through much yet):

The Natural History of Western MA by Freeman and Nasuti (there’s an Eastern MA one too)

Rockachusetts by Butler and Dunn (a guide to specific sites in MA with cool geological features)

TWO “Birds of Massachusetts” Field Guides one by Stan Tekiela, the other by Wayne Petersen

Other than that I’ve found field guides that are New England specific to Wildflowers and trees. Oh, and everything by Tom Wessels is New England-specific.

Do you know about the Native Plant Trust? They’re based out of MA and I’m definitely going to add at least one of their books to my list


Hi I’m in Southwest Florida near the Everglades and these are the books I had approved.

Roadside Geology of Florida - Jonathan R Bryan, Thomas M Scott, Guy H Means

Florida’s Frogs, Toads and Other Amphibians: A Guide to Their Identification and Habitats - Richard D Bartlett, Patricia Bartlett

Florida’s Snakes: A Guide to Their Identification and Habitats - Richard D Bartlett, Patricia Bartlett

Florida’s Turtles, Lizards and Crocodilians: A Guide to Their Identification and Habitats - Richard D Bartlett, Patricia Bartlett

Ecosystems of Florida - Ronald L Myers, John J Ewel

Florida’s Wetlands (Florida Natural Ecosystems and Native Species) - Ellie Whitney, D Bruce Means, Anne Rudloe

Florida’s Waters (Florida Natural Ecosystems and Native Species) - Ellie Whitney, D Bruce Means, Anne Rudloe

Florida’s Uplands (Florida Natural Ecosystems and Native Species) - Ellie Whitney, D Bruce Means, Anne Rudloe

Paradise Lost? The Environmental History of Florida (Florida History and Culture) - Jack Emerson Davis, Raymond Arsenault


I live in Calgary Alberta, which is at the meeting point of several ecological divisions – the foothills of the rocky mountains are to my west, fescue grassland to my southeast, aspen parkland to the north, and grassland prairie to the northeast. My home lies within a foothills wetland, but I can literally walk to open grassland, and it’s a 45 minute drive to the Rocky Mountains. I tried to choose books that reflect the whole area. I listed more than 9 because some looked like they might be hard to get, and there’s a couple of shorter documents in there.

  1. Prairie: A Natural History – Illustrated, Feb. 14 2011by Candace Savage (Author)
  2. Reading The Rocks: A Biography of Ancient Alberta – Illustrated, July 12 2004 by Monique Keiran (Author), Royal Tyrrell Museum (Contributor)
  3. Canada’s Boreal Forest by J. David Henry, Michael Viney
  4. Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspen Parkland: including Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba – Aug. 31 1995 by Derek Johnson (Author), Linda Kershaw (Author), Andy MacKinnon (Author)
  5. The World of Northern Evergreens – Illustrated, Oct. 3 2011 by E. C. Pielou (Author)
  6. Mammals of Alberta – Oct. 31 1999 by Don Pattie (Author), Chris Fisher (Author)
  7. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Alberta: A Field Guide and Primer of Boreal Herpetology – Illustrated, Sept. 30 2000 by A. P. Russell (Author), Aaron M. Bauer (Author), Irene McKinnon (Illustrator), Wayne Lynch (Photographer)
  8. Weather of Alberta – July 28 2008 by Bill Hume (Author)
  9. 1986 THE EASTERN SLOPES WILDLANDS: OUR LIVING HERITAGE A Proposal from the Alberta Wilderness Association
  11. The Grassland Natural Region of Alberta One of a series of reports prepared for the Special Places 2000 Provincial Coordinating Committee part 1 and introductory pages.PDF (

If I can find it: 12. Alberta - A Natural History Hardcover – Jan. 1 1977 by W. G. (Editor-in-Chief) Hardy (Author)


I went on line and looked for my local watershed council or other groups connected with my watershed/area… It took some digging, but I found a wealth of info… Check with the coord when you find something that looks in depth and comprehensive in your area…


Your list has a lot of interesting books! I may check some of them out, once I finish my own reading list. The Nature of Oaks, The State of Water, California Forging all sound especially interesting. I hope there will be a chance to discuss your take on them sometime, either here or on another thread.

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Sure! Are you on the Discord?

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Thanks, but no. I am Discord-a-phobic! :rofl: