There are so many wonderful books we could recommend. Please enjoy those listed below, and let us know if there are others you think we missed!
Accounts of Local Stewardship
- City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness
Gavin Van Horn and Dave Aftandilian, Editors
- Hunting for Frogs on Elston: Jerry Sullivan
- In Service of the Wild: Restoring and Rehabilitating Damaged Land: Stephanie Mills| Tells the story of the North Branch Prairie Project and its efforts, including restoration of Somme Prairie Grove.
- Miracle Under the Oaks: The Revival of Nature in America: William K. Stevens | Tells the story of the birth of ecological restoration, with a focus on Somme Prairie Grove.
- Natural History of the Chicago Region: Joel Greenberg | Details the history of natural areas in the region and provides context for understanding our current landscape.
- Nature’s Restoration, People And Places on the Front Lines of Conservation: Peter Frederici | Compares the work at Somme Prairie Grove to projects in the United States and elsewhere.
- 36 Acres: Tobin Fraley
- Aldo Leopold – His Life and Work: Curt Meine
- A Prairie Grove – A Naturalist’s Story of Primeval America: Donald Culross Peattie | A narrative of the life and home of Illinois naturalist Robert Kennicott.
- A Sand County Almanac: Aldo Leopold
- Building the Canal to Save Chicago: Richard Lanyon
- Flora of the Chicago Region: Herman Silas Pepoon | One of our earliest published floras.
- Flowers – How They Changed the World: William Burger
- Henry Chandler Cowles: Pioneer Ecologist: Victor Cassidy | Cowles is regarded as the father of modern ecology.
- H.S. Pepoon: Pioneer Conservationist of Northwest Illinois: Cory Ritterbusch
- Of Prairies, Woods, and Waters: Joel Greenberg
- Pioneer Naturalists: The Discovery and Naming of North American Plants and Animals: Howard Ensign Evans
- Studying Wisconsin: The Life of Increase Lapham: Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes | One of the Midwest’s most eminent but lesser-known early naturalists.
- The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History: Libby Hill
- Plants of the Chicago Region, 4th Ed.: Floyd Swink and Gerould Wilhelm | Could also be listed as a technical reference; this is the go-to guide for plants in our region but requires some experience to use.
- Plants of Kane County: Dick Young | Accessible and informative.
- A Great Lakes Wetland Flora: Steve Chadde
- A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and Northcentral North America: Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny | Excellent drawings and descriptions. Organized by color.
- Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide: Lawrence Newcomb | A key guides you quickly to the right group of plants.
- Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers: Douglas Ladd | Excellent photographs of prairie species and many of the savanna species, as well as providing an excellent summary of prairie ecology.
- Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States: Steven Clemants and Carol Gracie
- A Guide to Wildflowers in Winter by Carol Levine
- Trees of Illinois: Linda Kershaw | Good photos and narrative, great for beginners.
- Forest Trees of Illinois: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
- Oaks of North America: Miller and Lamb
- The Urban Tree Book: Arthur Plotnik
- The Sibley Guide to Trees: David A. Sibley
- Midwest Ferns: Steve W. Chadde
- Orchids of Indiana: Michael Homoya
- Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region: Fred Case
- The Sunflower Family of the Upper Midwest: Susanne Masi and Thomas Antonio
- Field Guide to Wisconsin Sedges: Andrew Hipp
- Sedges: Carex (Illustrated Flora of Illinois Series): Robert Mohlenbrock | This entire series is great!
- Woodland Carex of the Upper Midwest & Bog and Fen Carex of the Upper Midwest: Linda Curtis
- First Book of Grasses: Agnes Chase | Ms. Chase was from Illinois, later Head Agrostologist at the Smithsonian. She has a fascinating life story.
- Grasses: Lauren Brown
- Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians: Karl B. McKnight
- Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois: Greg Mueller and Joe McFarland
- The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms: Gary H. Lincoff
- Mushrooms of Northeast North America: George Barron
- Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America: Stephen Marshall
- Butterflies of Illinois: Michael Jeffords, Susan Post, et al.
- Caterpillars of Eastern North America: David L. Wagner
- Common Spiders of North America: Richard A. Bradley
- Field Guide to Crayfishes of the Midwest: Christopher A. Taylor, Guenter A. Schuster, and Daniel B. Wylie
- Field Guide to Freshwater Mussels of the Midwest: Kevin S. Cummings and Christine A. Mayer
- Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids and Crickets of the United States: John L. Capinera, Ralph D. Scott, and Thomas J. Walker
- Fieldbook of Illinois Land Snails: Frank Collins Baker
- A Birder’s Guide to the Chicago Region: Lynne Carpenter and Joel Greenberg
- Birding Illinois: From the Regional Birding Series: Sheryl De Vore
- Birds of Illinois: Sheryl De Vore, Steve Bailey, Gregory Kennedy
- Birds of North America: Kenn Kaufmann
- Illinois Birds: A Century of Change: Jeff Walk, et al.
- Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Illinois: Christopher Phillips, Ronald A. Brandon, and Edward O. Moll
- Mammals of Illinois: Donald F. Hoffmeister
- Geology of Illinois: R. Kolata and C. K. Nimz, eds., Prairie Research Institute, 2005
- Geology Underfoot in Illinois: Raymond Wiggers
- Atlas of the Wisconsin Prairie and Savanna Flora: Wisconsin DNR
- Biodiversity Recovery Plan: Chicago Wilderness
- Canaries in the Catbird Seat – The Past, Present, and Future of Biological Resources in a Changing Environment: John Taft
- Forest and Thicket: John Eastman
- Life on a Little Known Planet: A Biologist’s View of Insects and Their World: Howard Ensign Evans
- Reading the Landscape: May Thielgaard Watts
- Restoring Oak Ecosystems: Stephen Packard, Restoration & Management Notes, Volume 11, Number 1, Summer, 1993.| Summarizes more than a decade of woodland restoration and responds to critics who recommend a “hands off” approach.
- Tallgrass Restoration Handbook: Stephen Packard, ed.
- Vegetation of Wisconsin – An Ordination of Plant Communities: John T. Curtis
- Where the Sky Began – Land of the Tallgrass Prairie: John Madson
- Wisconsin’s Natural Communities: Randy Hoffman
Ecologically Sound Human Habitats
- Bringing Nature Home, How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants: Douglas Tallamy
- Native Plants in the Home Landscape: Keith Nowakowski
- Nature and Nurture: The Art and Science of Living the Good Life: Brad Woodson
- Nature’s Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm: Steven I. Apfelbaum
- The Midwestern Native Garden: Charlotte Adelman, Bernie Schwartz
- Rantings of a Mad Botanist: Bill McKnight
- The Sunflower Forest: Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature: William Jordan
Art Inspired by Ecology
- The Art of Migration; Architecture by Birds and Insects – A Natural Art: Peggy McNamara
- Illinois Insects and Spiders: Peggy McNamara
- My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago: A Celebration of Chicagoland’s Startling Natural Wonders: Mike MacDonald | A loving and breathtaking photographic and literary tribute to Chicago’s glorious natural landscape and rich biodiversity.
- Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri (in three volumes): George Yatskievych
- Vascular Flora of Illinois: Robert Mohlenbrock, Southern Illinois University Press, 2013
- Tallgrass Restoration Handbook: For Prairies, Savannas and Woodlands: Stephen Packard and Cornelia Mutel, eds., Island Press, 1997.
- Rediscovering the Tallgrass Savannas of Illinois in Proceedings of the Tenth North American Prairie Conference, Denton, Texas, 1986.
- Restoring the Herb Layer in a Degraded Bur Oak ‘Closed’ Savanna: Stephen Packard and John Balaban in Proceedings of the North American Conference of Savannas and Barrens: James S. Fralish, Roger C. Anderson, John E. Ebinger, Robert Szafoni, eds. Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, 1994.
- Habitat Establishment, Enhancement and Management for Forest and Grassland Birds in Illinois. Herkert, James R., Robert E Szafoni, Vernon M. Kleen, and John E. Schwegman. Division of Natural Heritage, Illinois Department of Conservation, Natural Heritage Technical Publication #1, Springfield, Illinois. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 1993. | A good reference for understanding habitat size requirements.