Re-wild your imagination at CDPL


As the world in all its verdant wonder awakens to another year of beauty and bounty (to say nothing, spring storms being what they are, of majesty and awe), we tip our hats to the planet during April. Earth Month’s celebrations reach their pinnacle on April 22, Earth Day. Still, the library offers resources aplenty to stoke the fires of your inner entomologist, meteorologist, ornithologist, botanist, or any other fancies our wild world can tickle.

Wonder and awe are good places to begin this journey. To that end, consider checking out the BBC’s spellbinding Planet Earth documentary series (DVD 508 Pla). Allow David Attenborough to move your mind while the cinematography treats you to arresting images of splendid biomes. Charged with awe, consider another series from the BBC: A Perfect Planet (DVD 550 Per). Also narrated by Attenborough, this series looks at the power — and fragility — of our awesome world and prompts viewers to think about actions that might help us heal our hurting planet.

I’m going to make some suggestions, but I’m also going to draw your attention to some sections of our non-fiction collection. There are few things as delightful for a curious person as just perusing titles until our eyes alight upon just the thing. From 550 to 600 in the stacks, you’ll find books on geology, biology, and zoology (wild animals). Want to know more about how evolution works? Consider Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene” (576.5 Daw). Love whales? “The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea” (599.5 Hoa). Butterflies? Look for the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Butterflies” (595.78 Nat). Snakes for the budding herpetologist out there? Check. You get the picture.

From my grandpa, I gained a love for feeding and watching birds, and oh do we have bird books. Consider the beautiful book “The Backyard Birdwatcher’s Bible” (598.0723 Per) which tells you everything you need to know to get started: feeding, watching, understanding migration patterns, and more in a sumptuous, full-color feast. Take one of our field guides, such as Kaufman (598.097 Kau), when you’re ready to head out. More interested in birds as creatures and their capabilities and personalities? Check out and enjoy “The Thing with Feathers” (598.072 Str).

Maybe plants are more your speed. We have books to help you identify trees (101 Trees of Indiana 582.16 Jac), flowers (Wildflowers and Ferns of Indiana Forests 635.9 Hom), and even what you can eat out there (The New Edible Wild Plants of the Eastern North America 581.63 Fer) as you trek through the wilderness.

Not to be overlooked here in the hearty and fertile Midwest is the fact that we can love nature into better health by how we tend our yards and gardens and engage in agriculture. Thumb through the titles available in the stacks between 630 and 640, and you’ll find hundreds of titles on landscape design, ecological yards, gardening, farming, and animal husbandry. Just one book that fits nicely with our theme is “Growing Consciousness: The Gardener’s Guide to Seeding the Soul” (635 Car).

As a last consideration, the planet is suffering, and we can live in ways that either increase or mitigate the strain. “Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction” (591.68 Nij) and “The Sixth Extinction” (576.84 Kol) look at various species struggling to hang on and those that have already disappeared. As a response, there are many books that help us live more sustainable lives. “Give a Sh*T: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet” (640.286 Pip) offers a no-nonsense, funny, and very practical guide to making better consumer choices. To turn the screws a little more, “Radical Simplicity: Small footprints on a Finite Earth” (304.2 Mer) has been helpful and challenging for my own journey. Just look for the green dots that denote titles in our Sustainable Living Collection.

Friends, enjoy the natural world. We have a real treasure with Sugar Creek (and trail), Shades, and Turkey Run in our backyard (check out a pass from us and visit them for free) to say nothing of a lovely tree canopy (I take a walk in Elston Grove almost every day) and parks in Crawfordsville and the surrounding towns. Let that enjoyment guide further moves to love and cherish and protect the natural world in this month of April and in the months and years to come, and let the library be your knowledge companion for that journey.


Paul Utterback is a library assistant in the reference and local history department at Crawfordsville District Public Library.