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Connecting with Nature: Engage with your senses

Resources that celebrate our connection to the natural world

What's in this guide

This Research Guide merges a celebration of Earth Month with Clark University's Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program (DICP). The theme of this Guide is finding connection with nature. Visitors are invited to explore forming relationships with nature and connecting with this amazing world. There is a physical book display at Goddard Library on the 2nd floor as well as the virtual materials in this guide to act as an entryway to the community of nature. Explore our environment and appreciate it from different perspectives: sight, sound, food, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, recordings, art, adventure, wisdom teachings etc. Nearly every continent is represented. Mounting evidence shows that enjoying and engaging with nature enhances health and wellbeing. (Katherine N. Irvine, Richard A. Fuller, Kevin J. Gaston, and Lucy E. Keniger. 2013. “What Are the Benefits of Interacting with Nature?” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 10 (3): 913–35.)

Books with Lovely Illustrations of Nature

Amazing Rare Things

Describes the methods by which selected European artists, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Mark Catesby, portrayed the natural world during the Age of Discovery.

Nature Obscura

With wonder and a sense of humor, Kelly Brenner aims to help us rediscover our connection to the natural world that is just outside our front door--we just need to know where to look.

Ocean Flowers

Focused on natural-history imagery in the mid-nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on the botanical drawings and photograms by the artist Anna Atkins (1799-1871) and her Victorian contemporaries. Replete with two hundred color illustrations, the book accompanies an exhibition of the same name organized by The Drawing Center in New York in association with the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut. More than just an exhibition catalogue, it includes essays by the coeditors, as well as by the artist Craigie Horsfield and scholars Edward Eigen, Elaine Scarry, and Kathryn A. Tuma.

Earth from Above

World-renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent five years flying across five continents and 60 countries to capture the look of the Earth's surface, and humankind's mark on it. From a thousand pink flamingoes lining the banks of Lake Nakura in Kenya to the spire of the Chrysler building in New York City, take an aerial view of the planet on the eve of the 21st century. This collection of aerial photographs provides a record of Earth's surface, depicting human settlements, forests, grasslands, tundra, deserts, mountains, islands, coastlines, rivers and lakes, people, animals, and other details.

Exploring the Invisible

This sumptuous and stunningly illustrated book reveals that the world beyond the naked eye-made visible by advances in science-has been a major inspiration for artists ever since, influencing the subjects they choose as well as their techniques and modes of representation. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, a strange and exciting new world came into focus-a world of microorganisms in myriad shapes and colors, prehistoric fossils, bizarre undersea creatures, spectrums of light and sound, molecules of water, and atomic particles.

Andy Goldsworthy

Illustrates outdoor sculptures created with a range of natural materials, including snow, ice, leaves, rock, clay, stones, feathers, and twigs.

Nature's Numbers

Mathematics is, Ian Stewart admits, totally unreal - an entirely mental construct. Furthermore, the complicated equations and lengthy proofs we usually identify as math are no more the essence of math than a musical score is a Beethoven symphony. Yet math is the best tool we have for understanding the world around us. By looking at the universe through mathematical eyes, we have discovered a great secret: nature's patterns are clues to the deep regularities that govern the way the world works.

Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower

"Highlighting an enduring interest in natural history from the 16th century to the present, this gorgeous book explores depictions of the natural world, from centuries-old manuscripts to contemporary artists' books. Featuring dazzling illustrations, the book itself is designed to evoke a fieldwork notebook.


"In Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home journalist Lynda V. Mapes explores the natural history of the orca and the unique challenges for survival of the Southern Resident group that frequents Puget Sound. These whales are among the most urban in the world, a focus of researchers, tourists, and politicians alike. Once referred to as "blackfish" and still known as "killer whales," orcas were for generations regarded as vermin to be avoided or exterminated, then later were captured live for aquariums all over the world. With greater exposure, scientists realized how intelligent the mammal is and are learning about their matriarchal family groups, vocalizations, behavior, and different subspecies. Today only 76 Southern Resident whales are left, and they are threatened by habitat degradation, overfishing, relentless growth, and climate change. Can we reverse the trend? This special project, co-published with the Pulitzer Prize{en}winning Seattle Times newspaper, features stunning imagery by Times photographer Steve Ringman, as well as from partner organizations including The Whale Museum, NOAA, and Center for Whale Research

The Brilliant Abyss

"The oceans have always shaped human lives,"" writes marine biologist Helen Scales in her vibrant new book The Brilliant Abyss, but the surface and the very edges have so far mattered the most. ""However, one way or another, the future ocean is the deep ocean."" A golden era of deep-sea discovery is underway. Revolutionary studies in the deep are rewriting the very notion of life on Earth and the rules of what is possible. In the process, the abyss is being revealed as perhaps the most amazing part of our planet, with a topography even more varied and extreme than its Earthbound counterpart. Teeming with unsuspected life, an extraordinary interconnected ecosystem deep below the waves has a huge effect on our daily lives, influencing climate and weather systems, with the potential for much more--good or bad depending on how it is exploited. Currently the fantastic creatures that live in the deep--many of them incandescent in a world without light--and its formations capture and trap vast quantities of carbon that would otherwise poison our atmosphere; and novel bacteria as yet undiscovered hold the promise of potent new medicines. Yet the deep also holds huge mineral riches lusted after by many nations and corporations; mining them could ultimately devastate the planet, compounded by the deepening impacts of ubiquitous pollutants and rampant overfishing.

Eloquently and passionately, Helen Scales brings to life the majesty and mystery of an alien realm that nonetheless sustains us, while urgently making clear the price we could pay if it is further disrupted. The Brilliant Abyss is at once a revelation and a clarion call to preserve this vast unseen world."

World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO which judges them under strict criteria with a view to the aim that they reflect the world's cultural and natural diversity and are of outstanding universal value. Sites that no longer meet these criteria are delisted. There are currently 1,073 World Heritage Sites.

Classic North American Nature Writing