Interested in environmental issues, sustainability, nature or science? Join members of the Earthplace naturalist team in discussing LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren. This event is scheduled to be at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane.

Reservations are suggested for this in-person event. Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. LAB GIRL is her revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist. In these pages, Hope takes us back to her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father’s college laboratory. She tells us how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.” She introduces us to Bill, her brilliant, eccentric lab manager. And she extends the mantle of scientist to each one of her readers, inviting us to join her in observing and protecting our environment. Warm, luminous, compulsively readable, LAB GIRL vividly demonstrates the mountains that we can move when love and work come together.

Read the New York Times review of LAB GIRL.

Community Partner: Earthplace

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

Get the Right Book for You

Interested in environmental issues or nature or science? Join members of the Earthplace naturalist team in discussing Richard  Powers' 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning THE OVERSTORY. This event is scheduled to be at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane.

Reservations are suggested for this in-person program. Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

OVERSTORY is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

Read Barbara Kingsolver's review.

Community Partner: Earthplace

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

Get the Right Book for You

Interested in environmental issues, sustainability, nature or science? Join members of the Earthplace naturalist team in discussing Merlin Sheldrake's ENTANGLED LIFE: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. This event is scheduled to be at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane.

Reservations are suggested for this in-person program.

When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.
In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the “Wood Wide Web,”  to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.
Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms—and our relationships with them—are changing our understanding of how life works.

Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Community Partner: Earthplace

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

Get the Right Book for You

Join members of the Earthplace naturalist team in discussing Delia Owens' WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING. If the weather is nice, we will meet at Earthplace!

Delia Owens is the coauthor of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa. She holds a BS in Zoology from the University of Georgia and a PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of California at Davis. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many others. 

This is a virtual event, please register to participate. If the weather is accommodating, you will receive an email with details to meet at Earthplace. 

Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Read a review from The New York Times or The Guardian 

Community Partner: Earthplace

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

Get the Right Book for You

Join members of the Earthplace naturalist team in discussing Sy Montgomery's THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS. If the weather is nice, we will meet at Earthplace!

Another New York Times bestseller from the author of THE GOOD GOOD PIG, this “fascinating…touching…informative…entertaining” (Daily Beast) book explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.

In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, THE SOUL OF AN OCTOPUS reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.

This is a virtual event, please register to participate. If the weather is accommodating, you will receive an email with details to meet at Earthplace. 

Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Read a review from NPR or The Guardian 

Community Partner: Earthplace

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

When was the last time you really thought about toilets? Award-winning science journalist, Chelsea Wald dives into the future of this bathroom centerpiece with Peter Boyd of Sustainable Westport. In PIPE DREAMS: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet, Wald profiles the growing number of scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and activist world wide who are focusing on making toilets accessible and healthier for humans and the planet.

This potential revolution in sanitation has many benefits, including reducing inequalities, mitigating climate change and water scarcity, improving agriculture, and optimizing health. Author Chelsea Wald takes us on a wild world tour from a compost toilet project in Haiti, to a plant in the Netherlands that harvests used toilet paper from sewage, and shows us a bot that hangs out in manholes to estimate opioid use in a city, among many other fascinating developments. Much more than a glorified trash can, the toilet, Wald maintains, holds the power to help solve many of the world’s problems, if only we can harness it.

If you missed this event, you can watch the recording here.

Purchase bookplate signed copies of PIPE DREAMS here.

Community Partners: Earthplace, Sustainable Westport & UN Association of Southwestern CT

Chelsea Wald has repeatedly plunged into the topic of toilets since 2013, when editors first approached her to write about the latent potential in our stagnating infrastructure. Since then she has traveled to Italy, South Africa, Indonesia, and Haiti, as well as throughout the Netherlands and the United States, in search of the past and future of toilet systems. With a degree in astronomy from Columbia University and a master’s in journalism from Indiana University, Chelsea has fifteen years of experience of writing about science and the environment. She has won several awards and reporting grants, including from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the European Geosciences Union, and the European Journalism Centre. She cofounded and continues to help coordinate the DC Science Writers Association Newsbrief Awards for short science writing. She lives with her family in the Netherlands, in a region renowned for its water-related innovations. PIPE DREAMS is her first book.

Peter Boyd is a Lecturer at the Yale School of the Environment, Lecturer in the Practice of Management at the Yale School of Management and Resident Fellow at the Center for Business and the Environment. He is passionate about system change to a ‘Net-Zero’ world: from writing and speaking, to directly helping organizations that are accelerating the transition. He is a founding director of REDD.plus - a digital platform to bring UN-registered REDD+ forest carbon credits to a new world of purchasers who want to achieve Paris-Agreement-compliant carbon neutrality. In non-profit and government, he was Launch Director and COO of Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room; served as Chair of The Energy Efficiency Deployment Office for the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change; and led The B Team’s ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ initiative focussed on business encouragement for an ambitious Paris Agreement at COP21. Peter  now lives in Westport, Connecticut where he serves as Chair of Sustainable Westport and warden of his local church.

Sustainability

Living a Clean Life

Creative Reuse

Join members of the Earthplace naturalist team in discussing Jennifer Ackerman's THE GENIUS OF BIRDS. During this pandemic, more of us are putting up bird feeders and watching the feathered shows, so why not learn more about their mental prowess?

Ackerman travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research, and not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are shifting our view of what it means to be intelligent. At once personal yet scientific, richly informative and beautifully written, THE GENIUS OF BIRDS celebrates the triumphs of these surprising and fiercely intelligent creatures.

JENNIFER ACKERMAN has been writing about science, nature, and human biology for almost three decades. Her most recent books include The Bird Way; Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body; Ah-Choo: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold; Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity; and Notes from the Shore. A contributor to Scientific American, National Geographic, The New York Times, and many other publications.

This is a virtual event, please register to participate. 

Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Read a review from Yale Scientific or The Guardian 

Community Partner: Earthplace

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

Join members of the Earthplace naturalist team in discussing Douglas Tallamy's BRINGING NATURE HOME.

“A fascinating study of the trees, shrubs, and vines that feed the insects, birds, and other animals in the suburban garden.” —The New York Times

As development and habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. In BRINGING NATURE HOME, Douglas W. Tallamy reveals the unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals.

But there is an important and simple step we can all take to help reverse this alarming trend: everyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity by simply choosing native plants. By acting on Douglas Tallamy's practical and achievable recommendations, we can all make a difference.

This is a virtual event, please register to participate. Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Community Partner: Earthplace

Read a review from Stacking Functions Garden or the New York Times.

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

Discuss The Sound Of a Wild Snail Eating with members of the Earthplace naturalist team and the book's author, Elisabeth Tova Bailey!

Elisabeth Tova Bailey tells the inspiring and intimate story of her year-long encounter with a Neohelix albolabris—a common forest snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches as the snail takes up residence on her nightstand. Intrigued by its molluscan anatomy, cryptic defenses, clear decision making ability, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a remarkable journey of survival and resilience, showing us how a small part of the natural world illuminates our own human existence. The author's website includes the sound of a snail eating a carrot!

“How interesting can a snail be? Captivating, as it turns out. [Bailey] is a marvelous writer, and the marriage of science and poetic mysticism that characterizes this small volume is magical.” —Star Tribune

This is a virtual event, please register to participate. Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Community Partner: Earthplace

Sustainability

Discover the Natural World

If you missed this event, you can watch it here.

Wanjiku "Wawa" Gatheru, a 21-year-old environmental justice advocate and founder of Black Girl Environmentalist will discuss the important intersection of social and environmental justice.

Wawa is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut and the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall scholarships.  She will be joining us from Oxford, England.

Read her Glamour article, "Want to Be an Environmentalist? Start With Antiracism"

 This presentation is part of the Sustainable Westport Environmental Learning Series, in partnership with Earthplace.
Community Partner: TEAM Westport

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Stop Racial Injustice 

Reading and Learning about Anti-Racism 

Own Voices

Discuss Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer with members of the Earthplace naturalist team.

"Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return."

This is a virtual event, please register to participate. Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Community Partner: Earthplace

 

 

Sustainability

Living a Clean Life

Discover the Natural World

Discuss H is for Hawk with members of the Earthplace naturalist team.

Heart-wrenching and humorous, H is for Hawk is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, with a parallel examination of a legendary writer’s eccentric falconry. Obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history combine to achieve a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir from an outstanding literary innovator.

This is a virtual event, please register to participate. Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Community Partner: Earthplace

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainability

Living a Clean Life

Discover the Natural World

 

 

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