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Forest Walking: Discovering the Trees and Woodlands of North America

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When you walk in the woods, do you use all five senses to explore your surroundings? For most of us, the answer is no—but when we do, a walk in the woods can go from pleasant to immersive and restorative. Forest Walking teaches you how to get the most out of your next adventure by becoming a forest detective, decoding nature’s signs and awakening to the ancient past and th When you walk in the woods, do you use all five senses to explore your surroundings? For most of us, the answer is no—but when we do, a walk in the woods can go from pleasant to immersive and restorative. Forest Walking teaches you how to get the most out of your next adventure by becoming a forest detective, decoding nature’s signs and awakening to the ancient past and thrilling present of the ecosystem around you. What can you learn by following the spread of a root, by tasting the tip of a branch, by searching out that bitter almond smell? What creatures can be found in a stream if you turn over a rock—and what is the best way to cross a forest stream, anyway? How can you understand a forest’s history by the feel of the path underfoot, the scars on the trees along the trail, or the play of sunlight through the branches? How can we safely explore the forest at night? What activities can we use to engage children with the forest? Throughout Forest Walking, the authors share experiences and observations from visiting forests across North America: from the rainforests and redwoods of the west coast to the towering white pines of the east, and down to the cypress swamps of the south and up to the boreal forests of the north.


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When you walk in the woods, do you use all five senses to explore your surroundings? For most of us, the answer is no—but when we do, a walk in the woods can go from pleasant to immersive and restorative. Forest Walking teaches you how to get the most out of your next adventure by becoming a forest detective, decoding nature’s signs and awakening to the ancient past and th When you walk in the woods, do you use all five senses to explore your surroundings? For most of us, the answer is no—but when we do, a walk in the woods can go from pleasant to immersive and restorative. Forest Walking teaches you how to get the most out of your next adventure by becoming a forest detective, decoding nature’s signs and awakening to the ancient past and thrilling present of the ecosystem around you. What can you learn by following the spread of a root, by tasting the tip of a branch, by searching out that bitter almond smell? What creatures can be found in a stream if you turn over a rock—and what is the best way to cross a forest stream, anyway? How can you understand a forest’s history by the feel of the path underfoot, the scars on the trees along the trail, or the play of sunlight through the branches? How can we safely explore the forest at night? What activities can we use to engage children with the forest? Throughout Forest Walking, the authors share experiences and observations from visiting forests across North America: from the rainforests and redwoods of the west coast to the towering white pines of the east, and down to the cypress swamps of the south and up to the boreal forests of the north.

30 review for Forest Walking: Discovering the Trees and Woodlands of North America

  1. 4 out of 5

    ❀ Susan G

    As we enjoy more hikes outside, I am struck by the peacefulness and tranquility of the forest ecosystems which are home to so many creatures, insects, plants and trees. This is an interesting book full of facts and knowledge to make me reflect. Quotes like: "Trees know that each individual tree has a role to play in the overall health of the forest, so they will reach out and support each other to ensure the the forest, as a whole, stays strong" are so applicable to teams and families also! He spe As we enjoy more hikes outside, I am struck by the peacefulness and tranquility of the forest ecosystems which are home to so many creatures, insects, plants and trees. This is an interesting book full of facts and knowledge to make me reflect. Quotes like: "Trees know that each individual tree has a role to play in the overall health of the forest, so they will reach out and support each other to ensure the the forest, as a whole, stays strong" are so applicable to teams and families also! He speaks to how trees' shapes show "their characters or whose trunks carries scars as a testament to all they had endured over their long lives" that "trees live life in the slow lane" and that "trees are resilient and determined to find a way to continue growing, as straight and tall as they can toward the light". These are powerful messages that we can find within the forest! The book shares many facts about trees, inhabitants of the forests and tips for hiking and enjoying the forest and wildlife. It makes me antsy to get back to our Bruce Trail hikes!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    KC

    After a life altering family event back in 2016, I turned towards nature for comfort. I also read THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES, which was educational and truly inspirational. Since the pandemic, I found myself wandering more often, finding beauty all around us. After reading FOREST WALKING, I headed back into the woods, with a new found sense. Each of my experiences with loss, grief, and separation, Wohllenben’s books each time have enlightened me, helped me to open up to the world beyond my four wa After a life altering family event back in 2016, I turned towards nature for comfort. I also read THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES, which was educational and truly inspirational. Since the pandemic, I found myself wandering more often, finding beauty all around us. After reading FOREST WALKING, I headed back into the woods, with a new found sense. Each of my experiences with loss, grief, and separation, Wohllenben’s books each time have enlightened me, helped me to open up to the world beyond my four wall, and for that I am forever grateful. For fans of THE NATURE FIX by Florence Williams

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bernie Gourley

    Wohlleben’s “The Hidden Life of Trees” was one of those rare books that profoundly changed the way I looked at the world, and so I was eager to read his forthcoming work. This book is at once narrower in focus (i.e. intended to appeal to the North American market, specifically,) but also much much broader (i.e. reflecting upon not just the trees but the other species that reside among them as well as how humans can best get around within the forest.) It might seem strange for Wohlleben (a German Wohlleben’s “The Hidden Life of Trees” was one of those rare books that profoundly changed the way I looked at the world, and so I was eager to read his forthcoming work. This book is at once narrower in focus (i.e. intended to appeal to the North American market, specifically,) but also much much broader (i.e. reflecting upon not just the trees but the other species that reside among them as well as how humans can best get around within the forest.) It might seem strange for Wohlleben (a German forester) to do a book on the North American forests, and I suspect that’s one reason that his one-time translator / editor (Jane Billinghurst) became his co-author. [I don’t know where Billinghurst is from, but she does add many North America-specific vignettes to the book.] Like “The Hidden Life of Trees” this book is packed with intriguing insights into woodland environments. The twenty-one chapters aren’t explicitly divvied up, but there’s a clear logic to the grouping of chapters. An opening chapter focuses on the importance of having a multi-sensory experience in the woods, and then chapters two through five are concentrated on trees and their various parts. Chapters six through eight explore species that work on, with, and against trees, with particular focus on fungi and other species that break down and recycle forest material. Chapters nine and ten turn the attention to how to help kids get the most out of their forest experience. The next couple chapters consider how to get the most of seeing the forest at unconventional times, i.e. night and during varied seasons. Then there are a few chapters investigating how to observe other lifeforms of the forest, particularly animals and insects. Several chapters follow that explore how humans can survive and thrive in wooded ecosystems, including everything from wilderness survival / primitive living skills to dressing to save oneself from ticks and chiggers. I learned a lot from this book. As I mentioned, it’s full of intriguing little tidbits about the forest. The opening sentence of the book’s Introduction did mention it being intended as a book one would take into the forest with one, and I would say it’s not that book at all. It’s the kind of book one reads before going out (and probably returns to after coming back) but it’s just not organized in such away to make it worth lugging around (i.e. it’s not like a field guide – set up to allow one to rapidly find what one is interested in on the fly.) That said, you’ll learn a lot from reading it, and I’d highly recommend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    An engaging overview of the delights and challenges of exploring the natural world. The authors hit a rare perfect tone of encouraging awe and respect for nature while being matter-of-fact about what everyone from families to industry can expect from forest lands. This is the kind of book that most benefits woodlands: one that promotes conservation through the simple act of showing us what amazing finds await us in wild spaces.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Sopko

    I found more interesting nuggets in this book for forest bathing and strolling. If you love trees, woods, and forests, you'll enjoy this little book. I found more interesting nuggets in this book for forest bathing and strolling. If you love trees, woods, and forests, you'll enjoy this little book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam Salmirs

    Oof

  7. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Thank you to @greystonebooks for this copy.  All opinions are my own. I've been slowly chipping away at this book for a few weeks now.  But that is not for lack of interest! There is so much good and interesting information in this book that I needed time to absorb it all. As an avid hiker and outdoors lover, this book spoke to me! And as a Kripalu-trained Mindful Outdoor Guide, I finished it with some great new ideas for forest activities, especially with children.   The first few chapters for Thank you to @greystonebooks for this copy.  All opinions are my own. I've been slowly chipping away at this book for a few weeks now.  But that is not for lack of interest! There is so much good and interesting information in this book that I needed time to absorb it all. As an avid hiker and outdoors lover, this book spoke to me! And as a Kripalu-trained Mindful Outdoor Guide, I finished it with some great new ideas for forest activities, especially with children.   The first few chapters for me were a little tedious but I especially loved the chapters about taking children into the forest and about foraging and survival. The authors' expertise is evident through their writing. The only thing that I found a little strange was that the book was clearly written in Peter's voice and often mentioned Jane (the co-author) in the third person. This in no way took away from the overall message of the book, it just struck me as odd. As mentioned in the "In Closing" section, this book is a teaser or an appetizer, and is meant to inspire interest in the forest and perhaps action in both enjoying and protecting it. I think it definitely serves this purpose. Read this if you: -Love exploring and learning about nature -Want to learn more about engaging with nature  (and even engaging others with nature)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    I have read all of Peter’s books but in my opinion, I liked this one the best. As always, like his other books, it was full of information that blows me away. The other reason I loved this book was the fact that he gave things to keep an eye out for when walking through the forest (Mother trees etc), things not to do that I always thought were okay like not walking single file if you have to go off the trail. Walking through puddles and not around so as to not widen the trail more. I loved that t I have read all of Peter’s books but in my opinion, I liked this one the best. As always, like his other books, it was full of information that blows me away. The other reason I loved this book was the fact that he gave things to keep an eye out for when walking through the forest (Mother trees etc), things not to do that I always thought were okay like not walking single file if you have to go off the trail. Walking through puddles and not around so as to not widen the trail more. I loved that throughout the book he was reminding us to slow down, take in the sounds and sights of the forest and respectively investigate more. He showed the resiliency of trees, how they help each other, how even after one dies, another takes its place and over time becomes a stronger tree. There are so many life lessons for us to learn from trees that go way beyond them just providing shade for us.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    A short (200 pages) book about exploring American forests, in the characteristic chatty, easy to read style of this author. He describes the book as “an appetizer”, to encourage people to get out into the forests and enjoy them. It is full of fun nuggets of information such as which parts of a tree are edible and how to survive and thrive in among the trees (even if only temporarily). It already has me looking more carefully at my surroundings when I walk my dogs. I would also strongly recommend A short (200 pages) book about exploring American forests, in the characteristic chatty, easy to read style of this author. He describes the book as “an appetizer”, to encourage people to get out into the forests and enjoy them. It is full of fun nuggets of information such as which parts of a tree are edible and how to survive and thrive in among the trees (even if only temporarily). It already has me looking more carefully at my surroundings when I walk my dogs. I would also strongly recommend reading this author’s “The Hidden Life of Trees”, which dramatically changed my view of woodlands. I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you, Goodreads and Greystone Books!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Rogers

    If you enjoy nature Wohleben always provides a fascinating read. This was no exception, and more accurate for my locale than his previous works. Full of interesting tidbits (that I'll be including in lessons for elementary school kids next week). Highly recommend. One thing I found a little awkward was the inclusion of "Jane" as a character almost. The Jane in question is Jane Billinghurst, his friend, an amateur naturalist, and (to non-German speakers) his translator. She's been vital to my enjo If you enjoy nature Wohleben always provides a fascinating read. This was no exception, and more accurate for my locale than his previous works. Full of interesting tidbits (that I'll be including in lessons for elementary school kids next week). Highly recommend. One thing I found a little awkward was the inclusion of "Jane" as a character almost. The Jane in question is Jane Billinghurst, his friend, an amateur naturalist, and (to non-German speakers) his translator. She's been vital to my enjoyment of his books. However, she was inserted as "Jane experienced _____" repeatedly and it felt clunky and disjointed. Perhaps if she had written her own page in each chapter about her experiences in North American forests it wouldn't have felt like she was a token person added to the pages.

  11. 5 out of 5

    vicki honeyman

    An enchanting lesson on what to discover in a forest and how to uncover those discoveries. Tree expert-supreme Peter Wohlleben, has teamed up with his longtime editor, Jane Billinghurst, to write their first book together in which they reveal how to be a “forest detective.” They explain why everything laying on the forest floor and hanging from and attached to trees is connected to each other. Using all your senses, you’ll learn how to identify and unearth teeming life from the largest tree to t An enchanting lesson on what to discover in a forest and how to uncover those discoveries. Tree expert-supreme Peter Wohlleben, has teamed up with his longtime editor, Jane Billinghurst, to write their first book together in which they reveal how to be a “forest detective.” They explain why everything laying on the forest floor and hanging from and attached to trees is connected to each other. Using all your senses, you’ll learn how to identify and unearth teeming life from the largest tree to the smallest organism that lives within a forest’s ecosystem by seeing, smelling, feeling, and even tasting. A delightful book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    I read this as an advance copy in e-book form. A great overview of forests, lots of good tips and facts for hikers, interesting stories tossed into the mix. It's the type of book that you could skip around in and not feel lost reading out of order or put down for a week and have trouble getting back into. My hope for the hardcopy is that they add more photographs. Once I see it in print my review may change to a 5. I read this as an advance copy in e-book form. A great overview of forests, lots of good tips and facts for hikers, interesting stories tossed into the mix. It's the type of book that you could skip around in and not feel lost reading out of order or put down for a week and have trouble getting back into. My hope for the hardcopy is that they add more photographs. Once I see it in print my review may change to a 5.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimberlee (reading.wanderwoman)

    "Summer heat begins to settle over the forest canopy, and hikers aren't the only ones who look exhausted." This line made me giggle. I love how Peter's books always make it feel like you're having a fun conversation with your favorite teacher. I mean, who else is going to teach you what a Snot Otter is? 😂 A book for the senses and filled with all kinds of forest walking adventures, some of which I am keen to try and investigate. A must read for all my nature lovers. "Summer heat begins to settle over the forest canopy, and hikers aren't the only ones who look exhausted." This line made me giggle. I love how Peter's books always make it feel like you're having a fun conversation with your favorite teacher. I mean, who else is going to teach you what a Snot Otter is? 😂 A book for the senses and filled with all kinds of forest walking adventures, some of which I am keen to try and investigate. A must read for all my nature lovers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Adams

    Really enjoyed this. Chapter-by-chapter, the Wohlleben leads us on a walk through the woods and offers a wide range of insights - facts about the trees, tips for dealing with unexpected weather, activities for kids, and more. Excited to read/listen to The Hidden Life of Trees by this author. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    3.5 This is a book that you can easy dip in and out of. It has lots of interesting facts and info on what to look for and listen for when walking through a forest. Also what you can smell, taste and touch. A bit of everything you need for a trip to the forest.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda Elsa

    I started out loving this book and ended up liking parts of it. I did not agree with part of the information about children in the forest and I did not expect it to be a survival guide of sorts including giving me information about the kinds of hiking clothes the author thinks is best.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Meg Dunk

    Made me want to take a walk in the forest! The author says this is not a reference book, but I'm sure I'll refer to it often. Made me want to take a walk in the forest! The author says this is not a reference book, but I'm sure I'll refer to it often.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lo

    The author makes you realize there is so much more going on in a forest than meets the eye. Very educational like all of his other books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amie

    This book is delightful. Although I’m not a big forest hiker, it made me want to be.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    This was not quite the caliber of Hidden Life of Trees, but I still loved it. I obtained the eBook and will keep it probably read it again - at least parts of it. I definitely recommend it!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nora

  22. 5 out of 5

    Derrel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Knoop

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marna

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pat Parkhurst

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jelena

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joseph L.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Ladd

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rodrigo

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shel Stephen

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