Charley Eiseman (UMass Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Major, 2000) and Noah Charney (Current Organismic and Evolutionary Biology PhD Student) won the National Outdoor Book Award for best nature guidebook of 2010. This is the outdoor world’s largest and most prestigious book award program. Their 592-page work, Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species, includes nearly 1,000 color photos and identifies thousands of marvelously mysterious signs created by beetles, spiders, flies, ants, slugs, and many other spineless animals. Topics covered include eggs, cocoons, nests, webs, galls and other plant damage, holes in the ground, and even the patterns left by tiny feet scurrying in the dust.
The awards committee found Eiseman and Charney’s guide to be an “outstanding work and a first-of-its-kind.” This praise echoes the sentiment of reviewers and newspapers pouring in from across the country who have hailed the book as one that “belongs in every natural history library” (Gerry Rising, The Buffalo News). Beyond a purely scientific work, the authors have photographed insect-created objects “that could rival the artistry of the greatest sculptures” (Anne Paine, The Tennesseean). The book reveals insect ingenuity such as how viceroy caterpillars construct cleverly suspended leaf houses in order to ride out the winter.
This fall, Eiseman and Charney are delivering presentations and workshops around New England and around the country in which they share natural history discoveries and humorous anecdotes from their journey to create this work. They also currently have a gallery installation of 33 images entitled Spineless Splendor at the Taber Art Gallery in Holyoke, MA.
A few sample pages can be found here: http://www.northernnaturalists.com/insect_tracks_sample_pages.pdf .
More information about the National Outdoor Book Awards can be found at http://www.noba-web.org/