Christmas Gifts for Nature Lovers

Whether the nature lovers in your life are just starting their love affair or have been head-over-heels with nature for many years, there is a wide range of gifts for every taste and every budget. During the winter months when getting out-doors may not always be the joy it is at other times of the year, most nature lovers like nothing better than diving into a good book. From how-to books to field guides to personal reminiscences, there is a veritable cornucopia of nature books, many of them by local Okanagan authors.

Here are seven (six by Okanagan authors) that are certain to delight any nature lover:

Roadside Nature Tours through the Okanagan: local naturalist, birder extraordinaire and author Dick Cannings introduces the diverse natural history of the Okanagan valley – an excellent local guide book.

Up Chute Creek – An Okangan Idyll: UBC professor and writer Melody Hessing recounts her trials and tribulations while building a home and trying to make a life at the end of the road in Naramata. This non-fiction account is the story of the land, the times and changing environment, both physical and culturally, as the Okanagan goes from a backwater family vacation spot to up-scale wine region.

Cultivating the Wild –Gardening with Native plants of British Columbia’s Southern Interior: Penticton resident, biologist and gardener Eva Durance has written an excellent guide to using native plants in our gardens. Filled with in-depth information on growing conditions and landscape uses, this book is a must-have for local gardeners.

An Enchantment of Birds – Memories from a Birder’s Life: another wonderful book by Dick Cannings. Each chapter deals with a different bird (many of them Okanagan birds) and recounts some time in Dick’s life when he was involved with that particular species. This will appeal to both beginning and expert birders.

Hiking for Health & Pleasure in the Okanagan: For the hiker or would-be hiker, this little book, written by Kelowna naturalist Roland Gebauer, is a photo journal showcasing in vivid colour the visual delights and natural wonders encountered on Okanagan trails.

The Okanagan Valley Birding Trail: Compiled by the four Valley Naturalists’ Clubs, this full colour guide will take you to 60 of the best bird watching sites in the valley. A perfect stocking stuffer, this is the must have guide for both visitors and valley residents alike.

The Sibley Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America: while there are many very good field guides to birds available, Sibley’s is the standard by which all others are judged. Whether a beginning birder or an expert, everyone wants to have their own Sibley’s.


All of these books are available in local book stores (The Book Shop in Penticton has a good selection) while the Birding Trail guide is available at all South Okanagan Visitor Info Centres, Art Knapp’s Penticton and The Book Shop (often known as The Used Book Store). Hiking for Health & Pleasure is also available at the Penticton Info Centre.

The South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club next regular meeting is January 28th. In the meantime, if you have thought about taking part in the local Christmas Bird Count but don’t relish the idea of traipsing about in cold weather, how about participating in the feeder count? Sit indoors with a hot chocolate, observe the birds coming to your feeder on the appropriate day and then phone in your count results. It’s easy, fun and helps out with keeping track of our feathered friends across North America. For more info on the feeder count or the Naturalists’ Club contact Bob Handfield at: soncpres@telus.net

Nature Wise