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Books with Pollinators: Mel Fegler

Book review of my favorite fiction and non fiction works that provide insight into the insect and plant world. Photos by Pollinator Paparazzi


Obsession with Butterflies, Sharman Apt Russell


Russell’s adventurer's story of walking through an assundry of butterfly habitats, enthusiast lands, research centers, and breeding programs in a diverse international journey will captivate your senses and personal interests of the Lepidopteran world. This is no text book, but you feel as if you have taken an official course on the Lepidopterans (mosths, skippers, & butterflies) once the read is complete. Follow Russell and discover so many more that led the journey. The bibliography notes are a beautiful review that can engage the average reader down more specified discoveries. PX3 has recommended this book for years to those who are just beginning their study of insects. The politics of insects and plants run deep in the natural world. This book is not just intriguing but intensely filled with facts and an understanding that every naturalist will want to read.





Humane Gardener, Nancy Lawson


Nancy Lawson has an extraordinary vision of incorporating nature into your yard without sacrificing the aesthetic, peaceful space we all need in our lives. With patience and careful observation you too can create a magical safe zone for you and the natural world around you. This book is case story driven and organized for you to enjoy each part in your own time. Explore the chapters and create your own comfortable path to creating a wonderland in your own backyard.



Lady of the Butterflies, Fiona Mountain


The brilliance of Madame Curie, the drama of Gone with the Wind, and the romance of Pride and Prejudice is all found in this tragic 1600’s biography of the mistress of Tickenham Court manor, Eleanor Glanville. Glanville, the daughter of a Puritan nobleman, ran the meadows and fens of Tickenham as a child collecting butterflies without knowing their names, many not even having names in the science yet. Her life and collection became more complex and complete as she progressed into adulthood. Widowed by her first husband her love story would just begin when Richard Glanville reentered her life. This mad love becomes her downfall that nearly costs her everything. Eleanor’s obsession with butterflies cost her what was left of her home and life in England. Forced to flee the country, with the condemning words of lunacy from her oldest son, the fate of Eleanor is still a mystery. What is not a mystery is what she left behind as one of the most beautiful butterfly collections still in exhibits across England. Discover what life might have been for the female biologist of the late 1600’s and why change is worth fighting for.




Micro, Michael Crichton


This one is for pure fun but entangled with great facts about the politics of the plant and insect world. Maybe not my recommendation for those who are trying to get past fears of insects and nature but if you want an adventure that will make you smarter, this is the story for you. Crichton’s last work, left unfinished to be completed by Richard Preston, took years of research to provide a story that described the laws of nature factually. It is just a fun read that you won’t be able to put down. Preston honors Crichton’s memory with a perfect ending that I think Crichton fans agree is nothing but exceptional. Have fun with this one!





A Sting in the Tail: My Adventure with Bumble Bees, Dave Goulson


My personal favorite non-fiction book, A Sting in the Tail, is a perfect introduction to the bee world. Learning about bumble bees will be a path of understanding that I truly believe is the gateway to dispelling fears of the bee community, social and solitary alike. Dave Goulson is the founder of The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and has so much knowledge about these delightful, chewbacca-like insects it is difficult to put the book down. From stinky feet to knowing when you are amongst royalty in the spring this read will leave you feeling empowered to explore and host more pollinators. My obsession with bumblebees was a mild curiosity before I read this book and now I am impossible to be around with the mention of them. Bumblebees are the most extraordinary, humbling, efficient and fierce pollinator; all the while being a gentle giant reluctant to spend expensive venom. You will not regret diving into this great read, laughing at what a young nature loving child gets into, exploring the value of bumblebees in the pollinator world, and learning how to get involved in their protection.




Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd


The south is famous for hospitality, kindness but notorious for racism. A young girl caught in an abusive home and desperate to find answers about her mother runs away to discover more than her history. Friendship can be found in any race and any species. Discover the peace of rearing bees, and what could be missed in life with a closed heart. This story is a lesson of the honey bee, the peace that needs to be found within, what side of the line you stand, and what you are willing to do for friendship, family and the truth. If you need a good family movie to open the door to amazing conversations about our country, where we have been and the future we can have add the movie to your Friday family night playlist.

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver


There are authors that are followed for their magical stories embedded in scientific accounts. Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior is exactly what you expect out of her phenomenal writing. Kingsolver described the flight of the monarch butterfly deep in the Smoky Mountains through the eyes of a young mother lost in her own path. Dellarobia Turnbow is seeking purpose and peace when she discovers the world of the monarch butterfly. Joining a renowned biologist, confronting her family and her church Dellarobia finds her way in this wonderful depiction of the life of those migrating thousands of miles and those of us who only dream to.


A Buzz in the Meadow, Dave Goulson


Following a life long dream to own a farm and determine the result of what happens when pollinators are the first priority. High ecosystem valued terrestrial ecosystem success thrives only in the presence of pollinators. See what you can learn from the world renowned biologist and more on all of our beloved pollinators from beetles, to butterflies to, of course, the bumblebee and it’s solitary cousins. This book is full of comical moments in the life of a field biologist and more moments on great ways to conserve in your own space.




The Bees in Your Backyard, Joseph S. Wilson & Olivia Messinger Carril


A guide to North American bees Wilson and Carril designed the perfect family guide to use a backyard as a learning space. Full of great descriptions and beautiful pictures this guide is an exceptional resource to introduce in layers that will last your family forever. This book includes not just how to identify bee groups but how to host them in the most sustainable way possible with what you have.



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