Chef Justin plates some fresh from the oven Trail Cookies. Photo by Jodi Broughton

Mountain School Recommends: Books and Poetry

With the Spring closure of our Environmental Learning Center, our Mountain School Instructors are at home spending time in their local outdoor communities. During this time, they have compiled some of their favorite resources that they plan to revisit and have been itching to share with others! The resources include citizen science apps, books, poetry, podcast, and much more. We hope these resources help you find peace, knowledge, and a way to serve the scientific community!

Book and Reading Suggestions

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer 
Mari says: Braiding Sweetgrass is a gorgeously written and very important book for anyone searching to make meaning in the world by blending indigenous world views, western science, and just general love of nature.

Eating Bread and Honey by Pattiann Rogers and Danger on Peaks by Gary Snyder
Emily says: Both writing and poetry are profound ways for me to connect with nature. These authors manage to weave together the whimsical world of imagination with the solid reality of the natural world. They make you look more closely, make you curious, and make you wonder.

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
Emilee says: Peter Wohlleben is a German Forester so he focuses on trees in Europe mostly but his passion for the forest is made known through this book. This book gives you a lovely insight into how trees communicate, grow, and struggle together.

The Land of Little Rain by Mary Hunter Austin
Lindsay says: A Land of Little Rain is a book about the desert on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. It provides a collection of short essays with a beautiful perspective on the natural world and people.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Jillian says: This book inspired me to pursue work in the field of outdoor education and adventure, and is always a good reminder of why our work matters. It’s available as an ebook and audiobook as well. The book and author are also featured on a variety of podcasts.

The Laws Guide to Nature Journaling and Drawing and
Bridget says: This book and website helps individuals to develop skills in nature journaling and drawing. There are “how to” guides, lesson plans for teachers, and instructional videos! I started nature journaling by utilizing information from this website and still use it to continue honing my skills.

Pacific Northwest Foraging by Douglas Deur
Tanner says: This incredible book was exhaustively researched and written in collaboration with tribal elders from many Indigenous communities from Oregon to Northern British Columbia. Deur offers not only when to harvest and how to identify plants, but also shares ways to ensure future harvests and traditional wisdom that has been explicitly approved by tribal elders for use by non-Indigenous communities.

Poetry by Mary Oliver
Taylor says: Mary’s poetry reminds me to find wonder and beauty in the intricacies of nature.

Emergence Magazine and Online Community
Tanner says: Emergence is more than a magazine, it’s an online experience. Exploring the intersections of culture, spirituality, and ecology, Emergence is where I go when I want to read something inspiring. They are also currently offering a huge variety of free community courses and online discussions to keep people engaged with thinking about the more-than-human world during this time of isolation. I cannot overstate how powerful this resource is, I find myself visiting Emergence at least weekly.

Thank you for helping us offer these at-home lessons for transformative learning experiences in nature by making a gift at


Special thanks to these Mountain School Instructors for sharing their favorite resources: 

  • Bridget gets excited about hiking on trails both familiar and unfamiliar, seeking out edible plants, and watching birds.
  • Emilee adores trees—they have a whole way of life we are still trying to study and understand. Also bears! The dynamic history between Grizzly bears and humans is very interesting and bears are just amazing creatures in general.
  • Emily say that among things in nature her top passion is insects!
  • Jillian loves slugs (especially banana slugs), birds, lichen, and mushrooms. She also likes collecting interesting rocks, and picking berries for jams, pies, and other baked goods.
  • Lindsay declares her top three passions in nature are raptors, rocks, and fungus.
  • Mari chooses plants, fire ecology, and ethnobotany as her passions in nature.
  • Tanner is passionate about the universe of medicinals and edibles. He loves eating wild plants and exploring the healing connections to be found in the more-than-human world.
  • Taylor picks mossy rocks and all of the waters as her natural favorites!

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