Jun. 7th, 2010

terriko: (Default)
Some of you may not be aware, but long before I became a web security researcher, I was a naturalist. I used to go out hiking every other week, could identify a large number of common plants, animals, lichens, etc. I still am a naturalist: it's not something you give up. I was reminded of this most recently when I went to see Jane Goodall speak at the writer's festival, where she said that although she's gone on to get PhD and become a world renowned expert in animal behaviour... she still thinks of herself as a naturalist. So do I, even if I do something else professionally now.

One side effect of my current job as a security researcher is that I do a lot of travel. And the minute you drop me out of my native Canadian Shield and surroundings, I no longer know very much at all, so I find myself itching to know what that plant is, and that one, and that one... I invest in a lot of small folding guides when I'm going to have time to wander around.

But I've realised I've never bought one for Northern California. Because, of course, I know lots of people there who I can ask, right?

Unfortunately, my boyfriend, although formerly an adept boy scout, doesn't do any better than I do in northern California's habitats (he didn't grow up there either). We had some fun guessing, "Well, that seems to be a spruce... but which one?" and I got lots of help from friends when I went to identify the Monkey Ball via social media, but it's probably time to accept that I need a field guide before I drive myself batty.

But a brief look at the bookstore reminded me that most folk are interested in identifying birds and mammals, so the small tourist guides available didn't really have much in the way of trees and plants. I could just buy a tree book and a plant book, but I'm hoping for a smaller guide to general common stuff first.

Can anyone recommend a pocket book or even a tiny folding guide that's got plants? I'm looking for something that will fit in my camera bag (or if need be, John's car) and help me out with the common stuff.


terriko: (Default)

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