Animalium

If you have not yet seen this giant beauty resting on the new youth nonfiction shelf, please allow me to draw your attention to it. I know I will forever be indebted to the person who first showed Animalium to me. It is one of those rare books that is both captivating to look at and to read. Maybe I should make myself clear here, it is captivating if you enjoy learning about animals and reading facts about them. If you are expecting a great fictional story, then perhaps it would be best if you check this out for the sole purpose of enjoying the pictures. Furthermore, please don't dismiss this book because it is intended for youth, I choose to believe "youth" really just stands for "youthful" and there really is no age restriction when it comes to appreciating beautiful illustrations of wildlife.

The large colorful illustrations are wonderfully detailed and the shadowing and chosen colors give the pictures great depth. Being an amphibian girl myself, I was particularly drawn to the page including the the Darwin's Frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) which has "an oversize vocal sac in which it rears its young." Little tadpoles in a frog's throat never looked so pretty.

Be warned though, when I say "giant beauty" I mean bring a sturdy bag because this is no pocket book.

You may also want to check out Welcome to Mamoko or Maps, both published by Big Picture Press and with equally fascinating pictures and intriguing concepts. Or maybe this has piqued your interest about animals and now you want to learn more. Great! Here is a list of other Awesome Animal books that may help you with your research.

Michigan Author Jerry Dennis: A Daybreak Handbook

Monday January 26, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Author Jerry Dennis, best known as an award-winning nature writer, has branched out in two new directions: poetry and publishing. Jerry's first book of poems, A Daybreak Handbook, was published in 2014. Also in 2014, Jerry, his wife Gail, and illustrator Glenn Wolff established Big Maple Press, a small press dedicated to producing special editions exclusively available for sale through independent booksellers.

Dennis will discuss these new avenues in his career as well as his ongoing work with the Great Lakes. Dennis' book The Living Great Lakes was the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads selection in 2010. A selection of Dennis' books will be available for sale and signing at the event.

Trick or Treat Down the River!

Trick-or-treat Down the River is coming up Sunday, Oct. 19 from noon to 5 pm at Gallup Park, 3000 Fuller Road. The event is sponsored by .Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation. By canoe or kayak, boaters will see creatures along the river handing out treats. Cost is $18 per boat. Children must be at least 1 year old to be in a boat. Bring a bag for candy, and feel free to wear a costume.

October is Bat Appreciation Month

Do you like bananas, cocoa, or agave? You can thank bats for that! (Bats are major pollinators of those plants.) Do you hate pesky insects like flies, mosquitoes, and gnats? You can thank bats for eating those! (One bat can eat up to 5,000 insects a night!) Bats are an extremely important part of the ecosystem, and now is a great time to celebrate how wonderful they are. October is Bat Appreciation Month, and boy do we have a lot of bat books and DVDs for you to check out!

Brian Lies has a great series of picture books including Bats at the Library, Bats at the Ballgame, and Bats at the Beach. And don't forget the classic Stellaluna by Janell Cannon!

If you’re interested in learning more facts about bats, we have a large selection of nonfiction books for both kids and adults. We even have a downloadable book about the link between bat echolocation and radar technology!

Sadly, many bat populations are on the decline due to things like loss of habitat and the dreaded “white-nose syndrome.” You can find out about the plight of the little brown bat (native to Michigan!) in the new book The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bat: A Scientific Mystery. Get those holds placed now!

One way you can help out bats is by building a bat house for your backyard. And guess what? We have a book for that!

The last week of October is National Bat Week (Oct 26 –Nov 1). The Organization for Bat Conservation, a Michigan-based, nonprofit environmental educational organization, has launched a Save the Bats campaign to raise awareness of the problems facing bat populations around the world. Check them out and find more ways you can help save bats!

Nature Walk @ Barton Nature Area

Thursday May 7, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Barton Nature Area

This event is intended for adults, teens and youth (grade K and up).

Join staff members of AADL and the City of Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation for an informative nature walk in the beautiful 102-acre Barton Nature Area.

Learn about native plants and animals, and about the diverse natural features of the area.

Dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather. Meet in the parking lot off Huron Drive, just north of the Bird Road intersection.

Join us for a nature walk at Mary Beth Doyle Park Thursday evening!

Some of you Summer Gamers might be familiar with Mary Beth Doyle Park after earning the Park Explorer badge that took you there! This final installment in our summer nature walk series is an opportunity to revisit this lovely wetland area, or see it for the first time if you've never visited before. The nature walk will take place this Thursday, September 4, from 7:00 to 8:30pm. The approximately 80-acre park has a long, unpaved trail that runs along Mallets Creek, which we will be exploring. The creek and surrounding ponds and wetland make for great wildlife viewing. A representative from Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation will lead the hike and provide interesting information as we explore the area.

We will meet in the parking area off of Packard Road. You can also park at the Mallets Creek branch of the AADL and walk half a mile east along Packard to the entrance of the park. Bring water and dress comfortably. Arrive a few minutes early to make sure that you don't miss the group before we set out on the walk!

Bat Festival: Stellaluna author is coming!

Mark your calendars for Sept. 27, when the 13th annual Great Lakes Bat Festival will happen 10 am - 5 pm at Washtenaw Community College. This festival is presented by the Organization for Bat Conservation and Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Among authors and speakers will be Janell Cannon, who wrote and illustrated the classic picture book Stellaluna. The festival offers families a chance to learn about the fascinating world of bats. Check it out!

The End of Night

"To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark.
Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
" Wendell Berry

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard reminds us of the primal experience we are mostly living without these days: a dark night. Complete darkness enhances the health and vitality of humans through hormonal balance, improved sleep, reduced incidence of cancer and, most importantly to Bogard, by the wondrous, magical connection it enables to stars and the night sky. When was the last time you saw the Milky Way, shooting stars, or a constellation besides Orion? Think of the relationship our ancestors had with stars and darkness and you can sense what we are missing. Bogard’s book is enthralling and passionate.

Did you know that here in Michigan we have a rare and beautiful park where a completely dark night sky is protected, a sanctuary for darkness, where your eyes can actually switch to night vision? You can visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park on the shores of Lake Michigan 365 days a year for free. The sixth park of its kind to be established in this country and the ninth in the world, you can find programs, trails and….stars.

Here’s a little test. When looking from space, where do you think is the brightest, most illuminated spot on the planet? Check here for the answer.

Hike @ Argo Nature Area tonight!

Join us and a representative from Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation on an informative nature walk tonight at 7:00pm at Argo Nature Area. This lovely 22-acre park runs along the Huron River offering beautiful views of the water through the oak, hickory and willow trees. The event will be a mixture of hiking the unpaved trail that runs along the river and learning about ecological restoration and native plants and animals from the NAP representative. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and bring water!

We will meet in the parking lot by the Argo Canoe Livery, just off of Longshore Drive.

Tonight!: Hike @ Barton Nature Area

The first of our nature walks this season will be this tonight, May 8 at 7:00pm at Barton Nature area! The nature walks that AADL hosts throughout the summer are made possible by our partnership with Natural Area Preservation and are lead by a representative from NAP.

Barton Nature Area is a 102-acre park in northwest Ann Arbor. The part that we will be hiking in is known as the oxbow, and connects to Argo Nature Area. There is a lovely smaller part of Barton Nature Area as well, the Foster area, which is only accessible by boat via crossing Barton Pond. On our hike we will see lots of beautiful spring vegetation as well as a variety of landscapes. The oxbow area, where we will hike, includes wet meadow and shrubland, prairie and old field, mesic forest and emergent marsh.

We will meet at the parking lot off Huron Drive just north of the intersection with Bird Road. Make sure to dress for walking and bring water if needed! Arrive a few minutes early to make sure you don't miss the beginning of the hike. It's a beautiful warm day out, so come join us!

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