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So often in life the little things are over looked or unappreciated, this is the case with some of the greatest field guides I have ever used. The National Audubon Society puts out a series of field guides that are second to none. Regionally based these guides have been a staple for my education for years, so much so when teaching outdoor classes I require them as the textbook!
Reasonably priced at $19.95 and usually can be found cheaper, these guides are perfect for all around use. Think of them as a multitool book. Especially since the newer guides are sewn and glued and covering in a waxed heavy duty cover. I have abused mine for years and have never lost a page or wished for anything different.
NAS broke up the U.S. into eight sections (Rocky Mountain, Southeastern, Southwestern, New England, Pacific Northwest, Florida, California, and Mid-Atlantic) allowing you to pick and choose your region. Take a look inside!
- California Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
- Florida Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
- Mid-Atlantic States Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
- New England Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
- Pacific Northwest Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
- Rocky Mountain States Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
- Southeastern States Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
- Southwestern States Preview: Animal | Plant | Site | Weather
I do suggest you simply buy them all and enjoy learning a ton of information about the entire continental U.S.. Each well written concise guide is divided into three parts; a Basic Overview, Flora and Fauna and a Parks and Preserves. These are then divided further into more manageable chunks. For instance the Overview covers topography, weather, habitats, geology as well as the night sky! Flora and Fauna covers the majority of plants and animals that inhabit the region which include great pictures (no drawings here!) and a description of just about all you would want to know about your subject. In the Parks and Preserves section each dedicated park or preserve is broken down on a map by location as well as some background into the individual area with accompanying contact information.
I have noticed with some, especially when transitioning from mountain to the desert there is a slight bit of overlap, however as we all know nature does not pay much creedence to man dictated state/regional lines. Other than that I have no issues what so ever, and I always regret when I forget these when hiking!!