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You are warmly invited to RPA's Nature Book Club, with Rama Hamarneh, PhD. The book club provides a space to discuss books related to nature, together as a community!

One evening a month, we will meet on Zoom to discuss a book we have read, and the work's relationship to nature. We will explore multiple aspects of nature in literature - represented through multiple genres and authors from around the globe.


 

Next Meeting:

Tuesday, September 26 at 7pm on Zoom


 

The Zoom link for each meeting will be sent out to the book club email list a few days before the meeting. ​The book club is free to attend, and all are welcome.

 

Join the book club email list

 

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For September 2023, we will read What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World's Most Enigmatic Birds by Jennifer Ackerman.

 

For millennia, owls have captivated and intrigued us. Our fascination with these mysterious birds was first documented more than thirty thousand years ago in the Chauvet Cave paintings in southern France. With their forward gaze and quiet flight, owls are often a symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and foresight. But what does an owl really know? And what do we really know about owls? Though our fascination goes back centuries, scientists have only recently begun to understand in deep detail the complex nature of these extraordinary birds. Some two hundred sixty species of owls exist today, and they reside on every continent except Antarctica, but they are far more difficult to find and study than other birds because they are cryptic, camouflaged, and mostly active in the dark of night.

Jennifer Ackerman illuminates the rich biology and natural history of these birds and reveals remarkable new scientific discoveries about their brains and behavior. She joins scientists in the field and explores how researchers are using modern technology and tools to learn how owls communicate, hunt, court, mate, raise their young, and move about from season to season. We now know that the hoots, squawks, and chitters of owls follow sophisticated and complex rules, allowing them to express not just their needs and desires but their individuality and identity. Owls duet. They migrate. They hoard their prey. Some live in underground burrows; some roost in large groups; some dine on black widows and scorpions.

Ackerman brings this research alive with her own personal field observations about owls and dives deep into why these birds beguile us. What an Owl Knows is an awe-inspiring exploration of owls across the globe and through human history, and a spellbinding account of their astonishing hunting skills, communication, and sensory prowess. By providing extraordinary new insights into the science of owls, What an Owl Knows pulls back the curtain on the nature of the world’s most enigmatic group of birds.

This book is available through the Upper Hudson Library System, at Market Block Books, and through other book sellers.

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Previous Nature Book Club selections:
 

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach
The Food Explorer by Daniel Stone

Forest Walking by Peter Wohlleben and Jane Billinghurst

All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot

The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild by Thomas Seeley
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

The Brilliant Abyss by Helen Scales

Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
H is for Hawk
by Helen Macdonald

The Book of Eels by Patrik Svensson
The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity and the Natural World Alison H. Deming and Lauret Savoy, eds.
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owl
by Jonathan C. Slaght
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori
 

 

​"For me, nature has always provided inspiration for both writing and reading."
- Nature Book Club Leader Rama Hamarneh, PhD.

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Rama is a published writer with a PhD in Comparative Literature. She works as a staff adviser at RPI, is on the community committee for Poesten Kill Bends Preserve in Troy, and a member of the RPA Board of Directors.

Questions about the Nature Book Club? Contact Dan at dan@rensselaerplateau.org.

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